OK, let’s start this post with a notice that this is NOT a how to guide. I am neither encouraging, nor condoning anyone traveling in a foreign country buying drugs. In the words of the great Nancy Reagan… “just say no!”
That being said, I did a little research and wanted to talk a little bit about drugs in Argentina. This is on the top of my mind because yesterday there was a drug raid two blocks from my house. Streets were blocked off, there were soldiers with machine guns, etc, etc… it was all very interesting.
I say interesting because at the exact same time this drug raid is going on, there are a dozen people in the watching crowd lighting up joints, or smoking marijuana from a pipe… but mostly joints. Literally two feet away from a police officer! And the police didn’t even look twice. I guess you have to be importing major amounts of hard drugs to get noticed!
This is not the first time I have seen this, in fact, it’s not even uncommon. It is very rare that I walk more than a block or two without passing someone smoking weed. Granted, I live in San Telmo, which they say is more of a “bohemian” neighborhood, but the same was true in Congreso, Monserrat, Microcentro, and Palermo. If you go to any park in the city, at any time of the day, you will find people smoking pot. AND, there are police officers all around.
If you go to a nightclub in any part of the city, you will see people snorting cocaine, taking Ecstasy, and any thing else you can think of. I was at a club for a birthday party and someone literally just palmed me some drugs because I had a “good vibe”. I have no idea what the drugs were because I don’t take random drugs handed to me by random people, but it was noteworthy! Drugs in Buenos Aires are common, and easy to come by.
When it comes to marijuana, there are “basically” two types: Paraguayo and Flores. The Paraguayo is basically your old school brick weed, and “flores” means flowers, or the buds. Both are very cheap compared to USA prices (well, at least to what I have seen advertised in Colorado). Paraguayo will cost about $50-100 USD an ounce depending on where you find it, and “Flores” between $120-300.
One note: you don’t buy marijuana by the ounce in South America… they use the metric system. Usually drugs are sold by the gram, and in the case of marijuana, by 5 or 10 gram increments. More commonly in Argentina, they sell it by the “frasco”, or jar. Imagine a smallish jelly jar, which at my best guesstimate would hold 7-14 grams (1/4th to 1/2 ounce) for between 50-100 USD.
Hard drugs are just as easy to find, though you will likely put yourself in a bit of a risky situation if you look to buy them on the streets. The people that do and sell hard drugs are the kind of people that would also happily rob you, or much worse…
If you are thinking of buying any type of hard drugs in Argentina, I suggest you just buy at the club you are going to. It will likely be cut heavily, laced with who knows what, and cost you far too much, but a least you “maybe” (that’s ironic if you didn’t notice) won’t end up dead! But then again you might…there have been several overdoses at clubs recently. Buyer beware! Your best bet is to…. wait for it… “just say no” 🙂
Your only other option is via a Darknet market, or via Craigslist. I hate to mention Craigslist because I know a couple people who have been ripped off, but I would suggest if you do use Craigslist, try to get someone who is a native English speaker. Most of them are Expats earning a side income selling weed and not out to rip you off. Some of them count on you telling your friends about the “great” service. Meet in a public location, etc, etc. Try not to be stupid…
Possession of small amount of marijuana are apparently “decriminalized”, but selling and buying are not. I think, based on what I have heard, that it depends on the mood of the police that catch you.
To sum it up, you are probably going to get ripped off and are potentially getting yourself into legal trouble, so be careful!
Edit 2019: Based on recent “reports” from travelers who have taken some of our cooking classes, prices are WAY higher these days, and quality is not much improved, especially when it comes to MJ. Also heard from a friend that his neighbor was busted for growing 3 plants. He didn’t do jail time, but did get a hefty fine. Be safe people!