For those of us who aren't getting hit with some of the warmest winter weather on record, the lacklustre/grey/Hoth-like snowy wasteland of North America winter is getting a little dull by this point. If you're already nauseated by the thought of dealing with any more gross consumerism, carols and fruitcake (unless it's cannabis-infused of course), here are five vacation spots where you can spark a joint and forget about the madness.
1. Negril, Jamaica
Probably one of the most popular destinations of all time for ganja enthusiasts: sun-grown cannabis retails for under $100 an ounce. The thing is, weed, while basically impossible to avoid as a tourist, is still technically illegal: the Jamaican government is considering decriminalizing marijuana, but this hasn't happened yet. Still, you're likely to be spoiled for choice, from choice buds to space cake. Just keep your wits about you.
2. Jaco, Costa Rica
In happy contrast to most Central American countries, possession of drugs for personal use isn't a criminal offence in Costa Rica. In the sunny resort city of Jaco, known for incredible beaches and tourist-friendliness, authorities have made an effort to abandon the traditional zero-tolerance approach toward drug-related issues. Once you score some of the local goods, spend an afternoon among the plants and orchids at the
Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls, play a round of golf, or take an aerial tram tour of the rain forest. Pro surfers will want to check out La Roca Loca and Playa Hermosa.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
Fun fact: Portugal became the first country in the world in 2001 to legalize the use of all drugs. So obviously, authorities have little interest in finding/prosecuting marijuana smokers as long as they're not causing trouble. Cannabis/tourist hotspots reportedly include the downtown, near the Baixa, especially Praחa Martim Moniz, where you're likely to be asked "queres fumar?" ("do you want to smoke?") without even trying to score.
4. Salto, Uruguay
Great news: not only is Salto a cheap, low-key tourist mecca, but marijuana is widely used across all demographics. The second-largest city in Uruguay also has hot springs, shopping, restos, and cinemas to keep you occupied. There are no penalties for possession for personal use, and in August 2014, Uruguay legalized growing up to six plants, growing clubs, a state-controlled cannabis dispensary regime, and the creation of a cannabis regulatory institute. The only catch: while it's legal to possess, you can't buy it anywhere, it has to be given to you by a local.
5. Nimbin, Australia
Hippie-friendly Nimbin has a rep for emphasizing permaculture and environmental self-sufficiency - but its massive cannabis counter-culture is an equally major tourist draw. The consumption of cannabis is prohibited, but police can issue what are called "cannabis cautions" to people who possess small amounts and who do not have criminal records. The annual Mardi Grass Festival has been a must-see pot destination for years. Writer Austin Pick described his initial impressions of the village this way: "It is as if a smoky avenue of Amsterdam has been placed in the middle of the mountains behind frontier-style building facades...Nimbin is a strange place indeed." Sounds good to us.