Thanks to the campaigns of Nancy Reagan and the American religious right, drugs are almost universally illegal and in third world countries often carry draconian penalties. Even a little weed can bring jail sentences in places like India, Thailand and Brazil.
So it’s as well to be sure where you’re buying your marijuana. If you head somewhere like a favela in Brazil to buy your weed or coke, you can be reasonably certain that the police will be waiting to search you when you come back down the hill. The same goes for buying charas in certain valleys of the Himalayas.
Sometimes it’s because the police just know that travelers have no other business in these areas other than to buy drugs. But sometimes it’s also because the dealers who sell the drugs also make a living as informants. The locals have seen a million travelers come and go and they know the score. You most probably don’t.
If you want to buy some weed or whatever, don’t just go with the first shifty-looking guy on the street who hisses ‘hey gringo – marijuana!’ at you. Take your time and see if you can get to know the locals a bit first and work out how paranoid you need to be. Buying on the street is a sure way to get ripped off as the dealer shoves some miscellaneous packet into your hands and scurries off with your cash. Yo do likewise, all excited about your score until you find you’ve bought an envelope full of parsley.