True Story: How I Bought Cannabis in Europe

True Story: How I Bought Cannabis in Europe

I was in the ladies room when I found the cannabis vapor pen at the bottom of my bag. This was not an ideal time for such a revelation; I was in Stockholm’s international terminal, which meant I’d unwittingly snuck it through customs twice so far.

To be fair, this particular brand’s vapor pen looks more like an e-cig than a cannabis product. (The all-caps “MENTHOL” label affixed to the tube probably didn’t hurt either.) There wasn’t much to be done upon discovery except check to see how much was left. I held it up to the light: almost empty. No problem – I’d just finish it off before my next flight in a few hours. I retreated into the nearest bathroom stall and proceeded to get quite high, bundling my scarf, coat, and sweater to create a makeshift sploof to diffuse the vapor. Needless to say, this wasn’t quite how I’d envisioned my first foray into international marijuana consumption.

When I stumbled across half-price tickets to Europe on an airline that still checks the first bag free, I couldn’t supply my payment information fast enough. Having listened to a lot of people wax poetic about the benefits of international travel, I know it’s one thing to talk about and quite another to actually take the plunge. Two weeks abroad would give me plenty of time to jump between museums and enjoy the local flavor, from what I could tell.

how to buy weed in europeJulene Hoff’s view right before she found the cannabis vapor pen in her bag in Stockholm Arlanda Airport. (Photo provided by Julene Hoff.)

Before traveling, I did the requisite Googling to assure myself that I wasn’t entering any weed-free zones. The wisdom of strangers did not disappoint: my first stop, Barcelona, is fast transforming Spain into the “Holland of the South’ – and I could hardly fancy myself a 420 enthusiast without sampling the city’s cannabis club scene, right? While the city sounded marijuana-friendly in a low-key way, similar to Seattle, the finer details of procurement posed a bit of a problem – namely, my lack of Spanish identification. The clubs that would allow me to join with a foreign passport, provided I supplied a Spanish address, had a much steeper membership fee than any of the highly recommended clubs listed on the internet. Not that I had a Spanish address, but I knew it was just a wink-nudge to jot down something residential (not your hotel) that the club won’t ever send mail to. I figured I stood a good chance of figuring it out upon arrival—there had to be some app that would help me sort things out.

Once in Barça, a generic weed app confirmed my suspicions about the cost versus quality of the fare in foreigner-friendly clubs; anywhere known for the quality of their product requires Spanish identification to become a member. Finding a local sympathetic to my plight proved difficult—bro ex-pats are apparently as cool overseas as they are on their home turf. The only offers of assistance had less to do with purchasing a few grams than with me coming over to their flat; I wouldn’t trade being a conventionally attractive woman for anything in the world, but these overtures grow tiresome. Had none of these men seen Bob Saget’s cameo in Half Baked? Considering the abundance of easily acquired flower back home, I couldn’t convince myself to jump through hoops to get it while on the road. If nothing came up, I’d just hold out until getting stateside.

A week later in Prague, after my travel companion noted that I’d been “rather grumpy” in a way he could “handle exactly one more day of,” I decided to give it another go. Back to the internet, which offered up the following options: buy from the dealers in large city squares (not advised), asking your bartender (iffy, might get you kicked out or overbilled), or email one of the handful of people positing themselves as Prague pot blogs. The last option probably sounds sketchy—and it was—but that’s never kept me from following advice found online before.

how to buy weed in eruopeJulene Hoff’s view after she finished the cannabis vapor pen in the bathroom at the Stockholm Arlanda Airport. (Photo provided by Julene Hoff.)

The first email I sent yielded the name of a bar I could get to via public transit and the confirmation that the barman would be “helpful,” though there was no mention of the price. A swift visit to Google revealed this to be one of two bars commonly suggested to travelers trying to pickup; it also revealed that the bathrooms were known to be gross, the bartender might be an asshole, and that there was probably a host of junkies just waiting to steal my purse.

One German visitor had this to say of The Club:

“Very bad drinks at very high prices. The only reason that they have so many recommendations is cause they sell Marihuana illegally. You always have to expect a raid (happened several times). If you don’t want to experience Czech jails, just don’t go there… AVOID.”

I admit the last line made me raise an eyebrow, but reviews of the only listed alternative suggested I would be purchasing from the same variety of sketchy characters in the bathroom – and that’s a line I’m just not willing to cross.

Email number two connected me with a service that delivered only to hotel rooms or apartments and required a good deal of information prior to scheduling a drop-off time. Three grams would run me 900CZK (or $37) surprisingly close to what I would pay in Denver, so this seemed the most logical option. Except the same friend that complained about my mood, a known excessive when it comes to alcohol and cocaine, was dismayed by the mentioned of a delivery drug deal. Considering I asked permission instead of begging forgiveness after, it was a tough point to argue. Besides, “I went to Prague and had my weed delivered” does not make for a particularly interesting anecdote.

how to buy weed in europeHer view from the St. Charles Bridge in Prague. (Photo provided by Julene Hoff.)

Left with one (possibly) viable option, I opted to head out at 10pm on a Wednesday for the bar mentioned in that first email. It took a few convenience stores before I found one selling transit tickets. The bar was in Žižkov, a neighborhood known for parties and bars filled with locals and ex-pats alike. The most difficult part of getting there was finding a corner store selling transit tickets, honestly. I took the subway several stops and found the bar without problem — this is the era of mobile GPS, after all. (Not to mention reasonably consistent and affordable service from Project Fi.)

Following the email’s instructions, I knocked at the door and waited to be buzzed in. After taking a seat at the bar and ordering a beer, I took some time to case the joint. The first thing I noticed was an abundance of people under the age of 23 at the tables surrounding me. The second was that the fog filling the room had a 3:1 ratio of cigarette smoke to weed. The scent of herb was faint by comparison. Granted, there is a lot of tobacco being smoked in Czech Republic in general; everyone smokes at the bar, in restaurants, and abundantly throughout the streets. Czech Republic is also, much like the rest of Europe, a big fan of the spliff. (I am not.)

The barmaid was indeed friendly when I asked if she happened to know where I could buy weed, encouraging me to see and smell before purchase as she handed me a nondescript dimebag. The weed was plush with good color, red hairs and a light frosting of trichomes. I’m sure that could’ve crystallized into something even more audacious, but this weed was still a week or two shy of being appropriately cured and dried. But let’s be real: it’s not like I hauled my cookies across town to say “no” upon finding the verdant grail, even if it could’ve used another week or two to cure. I paid 500 CRK (or $20) for two grams – only slightly more than if I’d gone delivery, sans delivery fee and the tip no dispatcher ever mentions. She was also quick to sell me packs of oddly sized Prague-branded papers and filters, a swank-looking set of local goods in gold foil packaging. The bartender loaned me her grinder and I set about rolling myself a proper Yank joint of the all-green variety. I’m sure you can imagine how cool I felt borrowing some guy at the bar’s lighter to light and re-light that damn damp thing.

Most conversations I overheard were in English, and I struck up several as I sat there: about drum and bass with the Eastern-block hot bartender who claimed she was 40; a Yank that took advantage of dual citizenship to move to Canada after George W. got his second term – the only one I’ve ever heard of; and two Italian guys that managed to annoy everyone by loudly asking after the weed’s quality, and the bartender when one asked “for the pot” without buying a drink first.

At this point I was pretty high on that foreign supply, hadn’t eaten in 10 hours, and was battling it out with the growing awareness of my dry eyes and smoke-hazed contacts. I became very wrapped up in dealing with this, but heard enough to know that the language barrier was not doing the Italian guys any favors. I can’t remember if they even got their weed, but I do remember being self-conscious about the awkward amount of time I spent rubbing my eyes. I wasted another hour bullshitting with the aforementioned characters before the bar closed and kicked everyone out. I made it back to the apartment by tram without incident, the micro-stash lasted the final few days, and I was pleasantly surprised by my significantly lower tolerance upon returning home. This marked a successful trip and initial foray into international pot tourism, though in the future I’ll stick to finding my hookup after landing. Store-bought pot may be more convenient, but there’s something to be said for the entertainment value of a digitally-assisted cheeba chase.

how can americans buy weed in europe

Colorado Residents Are Dumpster Diving For Weed

Colorado Residents Are Dumpster Diving For Weed

By now, you probably know that legal marijuana hasn’t caused the sky to fall in states like Washington and Colorado. Even our nation’s capitol has now taken it’s first step into the social experiment with legalized cannabis.

However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some still sketchy parts of the cannabis culture, presumably carried over from the dark ages of criminalization of the herb. Vocativ just produced a segment highlighting one unseen and unexpected problem with cannabis legalization: dumpster diving for weed. With the state of Colorado producing around 13 tons of marijuana per month, it comes as no surprise that some of that weed gets wasted.

This is where the guy at the park (you know the one who plays hacky-sack from whom you used to get your weed) comes in. Apparently, Colorado dispensaries are throwing away so much trim that dumpster diving yields a profitable amount of weed. Just ask ‘Dumpsta Love,’ the Denver dumpster diving entrepreneur. According to Dumpsta Love, he is making $2,500 a month by pulling unused trim out of grow house dumpsters and turning it into concentrates.

It is, of course, highly illegal to break locks off of locked dumpsters. Furthermore, making your own butane concentrates is illegal in Denver, and extremely dangerous. Aside from the legal and safety risks that Dumpsta Love is taking, we’re wondering – who the hell would smoke these dumpster dabs?

A Dabber’s Guide To Stoned Shopping

A Dabber’s Guide To Stoned Shopping

I’m a high tolerance cannabis user, the edible experience is a matter of great consequence to me. I love flower; you won’t find me turning down a toke, but I’m a dabber. My consumption practices evolved shortly after moving to the Front Range from less enlightened geographical areas. For me, edibles are an after thought. Generally speaking they’re too expensive, taste like garbage and don’t get me high. That’s three strikes; they’re out.

For the less initiated cannabis user, the absence of consistency and homogeneity in infused products puts the end-consumer in a precarious situation; dubious products continue to flood the market. I have little confidence that purchasing two of the exact same products will result in the same effects, desired or not. Recommended dosages vary and are difficult to quantify. These products leave much to be desired.

I recently picked up some infused hot cocoa mix to try my hand at one of the exorbitant amount of marijuana edibles on dispensary shelves. Packaged very discreetly, the cocoa is perfect for your mother or aunt to slip into their luggage before heading back to the East Coast. The bag is undistinguishable when placed among my collection of chocolate drink mixes. This packaging is not child resistant and there is no way to discern the contents from that of non-medicated hot cocoa powder. As a one-time child I can most certainly attest that I would have unquestionably mistaken this packaging for a tasty cold weather Rumple Minze mixer. Mountain High Edibles packaging reminds you to keep out of reach of children.

Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows

The package includes one cup of dry powder containing 200 MG of activated THC. The powder has a heavy Dutch cocoa aroma. Powdered milk and sweet notes of sugar are very forward, while faint hints of cornstarch and salt follow on the back end. You can smell the herb too; it’s very muted.

The standard serving size listed on the packaging is no more than ten milligrams of active THC. Instruction calls for 7 oz. of water or milk per each ¼ cup of cocoa powder. By my calculations a recommended dose of this cocoa is 1/20 cup powder mixed with approximately one ounce liquid. By any calculations, no drink is worth this much math.

Luckily I don’t prescribe to the recommended dosage very often. It’s counterintuitive and doesn’t make for a very interesting experience. Give me the most and let me see what happens.

My milk has gone sour; I quickly remind myself that I had “better put some water on this damn shit”. One cup of cocoa calls for 28 oz. I’m going to half that; I’ll never get through it all before it becomes stone cold.

11:45 AM. First sip. I recognize that the cocoa is too hot just as it burns the taste buds on the tip of my tongue. Thirty seconds later it’s still too hot.

The first temperature controlled sip tastes exactly like hot cocoa and water that you wish was made with milk. The taste of cannabis is evident be not over powering. Each subsequent sip was chocolatier, less enjoyable and more difficult to get down.

12:04 PM. Final sip. This tepid chocolate water forced me to pull over and dry heave. I had to rinse my mouth out.

12:31 PM: Arriving at the Flatirons Mall this particular Saturday I immediately regret my decision. It’s the week before Christmas and the number of cars here should be enough to make me turn around. I don’t and soldier on. The THC might be kicking in; I think I am feeling a slight body buzz. However, I could just be catching a chill while walking through the parking lot without a sweater on.

Inside I’m whisked back to the mid 90’s when I used to ride a bus to the mall and enjoy slices of Sbarro. Valet parking and sushi are now available; this place is confusing me. This mall seems safe, it seems gone are the days of keeping a look out for abductors at the arcade. I don’t see an arcade.

I like to walk through stores and touch the clothes. I barely ever buy and I refuse to be helped by sales associates. First stop on my walkabout is Old Navy. Its good to see that they are still selling cargo pants. 7th and 8th grade boys everywhere will be dressed fresh to death come the new year.

Walking by a Pacific Sun causes me to do a double take. The store appears to be selling the same clothes it did decades ago. I wander in and engage one of the underclassmen selling cardigans.

I asked an enthusiastic teenager with a pile of shirts. “Do you carry Bullhead Jeans?”

“I don’t work here.” He replied.

The same question posed to a similar child resulted in less teenage angst as Genaro, an enterprising young man born in 1997 energetically brought me to a wall filled with nothing but Bullheads. They came in two styles: skinny and super skinny.

I causally mention how I purchased regular sized Bullhead jeans from Pac-Sun when his mother was in utero with him.

He reacted with genuine intrigue. “Whoa, I didn’t know that they were that old!”

Pac Sun Storefront

1:47 PM. I feel all right, I haven’t thought about how much I would like a dab until right now. I’m skeptical that the cocoa is going to stone me.

At the Finish Line I am able to locate the exact Jordan’s I wore while running from police a few years after I retired from competitive basketball. The crown jewel here is the Air Max ‘95.

Brandon, a Sneaker Head who works to support his addiction is wearing “The Glove”, Gary Payton’s signature shoes. He sidles up next to me looking to make his sales pitch.

“I tell the kids, these shoes that you like (motioning to the Air Max ’95)…you could get killed for those when I was growing up.”

His sales tactics perplex me but draw me in. In 1997 when I finally received the ‘95s from my brother as a hand me down you might only catch a beating for them, the imminent threat of death was no longer attached to the sneakers. We chatted about Starter pullovers. He represented the Miami Hurricanes, I the Golden State Warriors. I left the store without making a purchase but promised to return should I ever have any money.

The mall has everything in the world and nothing at all. Inside Mobile Memorabilia among the many prints of Marilyn Monroe and Tony Montana, hangs a reminder that we as consumers are a curious bunch. The autographed Bee Gees albums selling for $895 is the perfect gift this Christmas for the biggest jerk in your life.

2:30 PM. This edible is beginning to make me judgmental.

The midday sun shines in through the floor to ceiling glass windows of the food court illuminating this cross-section of Colorado. Teens dressed too provocatively, guys in skinny jeans, bad haircuts and preggos pushing strollers make up about 75 percent of the gluttons refueling before pushing on to Hot Topic.

2:45 PM.I have enjoyed as much of this mall as I can without spending money. Any evidence of a buzz wore off somewhere between Spencer’s and the Gap. Leaving these suckers behind all I can think of is how sorry I am to have dragged my mother to similar locales over the course of my adolescence.

If you consume mass quantities of THC on the regular and are looking for a more introspective and subtle edible experience you should consume the entire package of cocoa mix. If you are just recently experimenting with cannabis I’m sorry this review wasn’t helpful.

Photo Credit: KWB

The TokeBuddy: Hands Free Smoking

The TokeBuddy: Hands Free Smoking

Looking to free up your hands while smoking weed? TokeBuddy has you covered. This hilarious video covers all of the funniest scenarios in which you may want to have your hands free while smoking. From being a soccer mom to playing golf; home mechanics to Catholic priests, this slap-happy stoner comedy is worth a watch. Or two!

The Cannabis Christmas Sweaters List

The Cannabis Christmas Sweaters List

Finding your wardrobe is a little short of festive?

Some of the leading cannabis clothing brands have you covered. From a smoke friendly Santa to Frosty Dopeman, you’ll be a standout at your holiday parties this year.

shirt-1

Get Your Nugs Up –$45

shirt-2

Frosty Dopeman – €28.99

shirt-3

High For Christmas – $38

shirt-4

Homemade Hoody – $378.61

Men's Weed Leaf Sweatshirt

Weed Leaf Crewneck – $21.99

Outer Space Weed Sweatshirt

Weed Galaxy Sweater – $65.00

shirt-5

Smoking Santa – $24.95

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