Cannabis in Chile? Not So Fast

cannabis in chile

Cannabis in Chile

Chile is the largest consumer of cannabis in South America, according to Wikipedia.

It is? Can cannabis in Chile be safely obtain by a casual user or visitor? Chileans appear to have very low key approach to weed and it made for a surreal experience and also a bit Machiavellian. Recently, I was in Italy as well. Medical cannabis is legal in Italy as well as Chile, but the other legal differences are huge. In effect though, both countries seem more similar than different. I found out there is a scene in both countries and I didn’t have to look for it at all in either Chile or Italy. What I found is the ‘scenes’ are kind of similar. In both countries, cannabis is sort of there, but not there at the same time. Both governments seem to ‘admit’ that their citizens are using cannabis, but they don’t seem to have the desire to force the issue and arrest everyone who consumes cannabis. There’s still some stigma around cannabis consumption, bit it’s more under the table in Italy and Chile than it is here in the U.S.

Sweet Aroma of Cannabis

The purpose of my trip was to visit as many wine regions and wineries and taste as many Chilean wines as I could during my time there, Whenever I travel, I always try to check out the cannabis scene, just to see what’s going on. I don’t try to buy any (however, if some was offered…). I was successful at the wine tasting part. As for cannabis in Chile, it’s there, but it’s really underground except … Except you can smell it everywhere and see cannabis nowhere at the same time. The Chilean laws are, if anything, even stranger than the Italian laws. In Italy, you can buy cannabis as long as it’s “Cannabis Light”, which means less than 1 1/2% of THC (wink wink nod nod) and made from industrial hemp. And you can purchase it in a store that sells cannabis. But consuming cannabis in Italy is against the law. You can look, you can buy, but you cannot smoke, except for medical cannabis. In Chile, it’s legal to consume cannabis at home, but not buy, grow or sell it. In Two countries, two quasi “legal” medical cannabis markets. Between them, there’s a legal market for adult use cannabis. Alone, they’re just strange.

Medical Cannabis

cannabis in chileChile, like Italy, has medical cannabis.  Cannabis in Chile has been legal since 2015, but it wasn’t readily available until pharmacies started selling cannabis products in 2017. There are lots of pharmacies in Chile. Chileans get colds and coughs just like us. In fact, I had to go into one, but I never saw (and didn’t seek out) any medical cannabis. But apparently it’s there and there’s a lot of it. There have also been many protests about medical cannabis in Chile and making it more available. Apparently there is still lots of work to do on the medical cannabis front in Chile. The picture at the right is from one of the many protests that people held in the last few years to make medical cannabis readily available in pharmacies.

Cannabis Paraphernalia

chile head shopIf cannabis is legal to smoke at home, as long as you don’t grow it and as long as you don’t buy it, where were all the rolling papers and other paraphernalia needed to complete consumption? None of us saw any head shops where paraphanalia like papers, bongs, pipes, etc. was available. But as we were walking the streets in a piazza in Valparaiso, there was a card table with some papers and a few pipes. AHA! That’s where Chileans, at least in Valparaiso, got their smoking supplies; card tables on the street in public squares. The unmistakable aromas of cured and burning cannabis were everywhere! The country smelled a bit like a pot shop in many places. But card tables to sell the stuff you need to consume the cannabis flowers you’re not supposed to have in your possession? Head shops are not all over the place.

Strange Pipe

cannabis art pipes in chileThen we were walking on the beach at Viña del Mar, just beyond Valparaiso, I spotted a vendor who was selling pipes. Strangest pipes I’ve ever seen. Very ornate, with swirls and stones embedded in them, but I’m not sure what they’re made from. Since I’m so unsure, I wouldn’t smoke them. Glass…not a problem. Metal, no problem. But the material is a mystery to me. So while I’m fine with the idea of using a pope like this for ceremonial purposes, I’m not so sure about actually using the pipe.

Cannabis in Chile - grow shop

Grow Your Own is OK…Apparently

A lot of the product you need for growing comes from grow shops. There were signs advertising grow shops in different communities. Medical is legal or is it growing that’s legal for medical purposes? I saw at least three of these shops. It’s OK to grow your own, but not be able to find it in a shop.

If you want to do cannabis tourism in South America, I’d suggest Uruguay. It’s been totally legal there for several years.  Or you can just stay or visit in the U.S. and go to a legal state. There’s more of them all the time.

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    • Gabriel
    • April 6, 2019

    “I’d suggest Uruguay. It’s been totally legal there for several years” whoa man hold back your horses. I am Uruguayan and grow at home in the legal framework. I consider myself a fine man. So I’d dare to advice that It’s not advisable for a tourist to come get weed because he’d probably afford getting just illegal “faso” and not dank home-grown flowers. Also, growers tend to lie low and use their cannabis personally for whatever use.
    Most time there is no cannabis stock at “farmacias” allowed to sell to registered users.
    And even in the last case if you have a grower sell you flowers, still you don’t know where you may be getting into. 11/100 people is being murdered in Uruguay these times.
    In synthesis, smoking in Uruguay is not as easy as they say.

      • Steve Haskin
      • April 6, 2019

      Hi Gabriel:

      I only got to visit Chile, sad to say. You’re painting a picture of a not quite legal state of affairs with cannabis in Uruguay. Now I’m kind of glad you didn’t get there. Thanks for writing.

      • Donald Mac
      • October 16, 2020

      The. Best country in south America for weed, is without a doubt Colombia… Especially on the Caribe.. Cartagena, Barranquilla and ofcourse that Dank place Santa Marta.

      Though illegal, it’s available.. Just be cool and don’t smoke openly.
      Also the Colombians are lovely people
      . Saludas

    • Stan Morris
    • April 7, 2019

    I purchased cannabis in the dock area of Montevideo, not far from Merlin shop. It was about 5 grams for 200 pesos. I haven’t managed to purchase pot in Santiago, but these people smoke more pot that anywhere else in the world, and that includes Amsterdam. The smell is everywhere, but no one will sell it to me. Right outside Costanera Center, the biggest shopping center in Santiago, there were several young men smoking only a few yards away from police and security. I asked one of the young men how to get it, and he showed me Griftr an app. I was unable to download the app, but it seems to be mostly for the gay community. The smell of pot was also quite common in Buenos Aires, but I was only there for an afternoon and a night. I smoked on the street, right outside the hotel.

      • Steve Haskin
      • April 7, 2019

      You’ve had quite the adventures Stan! Interesting that you couldn’t purchase in Santiago. I looked for the Griftr app, but it’s probably a rogue app. Couldn’t find anything out about it. I hope you’re enjoying South America!

        • Lucas
        • April 10, 2019

        LMAO, the app is Grindr! (not gay, but have a lot of gay friends), it’s famous in South America (Brazillian here), I’m going to Santiago in August and would’ve never known weed can be bought through Grindr, good tip!

        • September 23, 2019

        Olá, Lucas. Você foi em agosto em Santiago? Conseguiu algumas flores boas? Estou indo em novembro e gostaria muito de experimentar algo diferente dos prensados que temos no Brasil. Se tiver alguma dica ou informação para me ajudar a encontrar cannabis em Santiago eu ficaria muito grato.

      • Lopez
      • May 26, 2019

      I managed to buy high quality cannabis in Parque Araucano (Las Condes). 10000 CLP for a bit more than 2 grams. it was excellent. I saw some locals rolling joint, so I asked…

        • pailhead
        • August 9, 2020

        The park in front of la moneda. Started out kinda sketch but in the end was funny to see where they stash it. I think it was a bit on the expensive side, but you can negotiate. Found a mom and pop setup at the same place who did delivery.
        They also package it in super small quantities in like dime bags, which was really weird given that it seems it’s pretty popular down there. Should just full blown legalize it, make Chile even more awesome if that’s at all possible.

    • Matthew
    • August 11, 2019

    You couldn’t find a head shop in Santiago? Where in the city did you go?

    I lived in Santiago centro, right between the 1st Precinct of the Carabineroes, and a galleria full of tattoo shops and head shops. I saw bongs and pipes sold totally openly in many different gallerias. Not to mention street vendors selling them outside of subway exits, etc.

      • Steve Haskin
      • August 11, 2019

      Nope. I never saw a regular head shop in a galleria. I did see lots of street vendors selling pipes and some smaller bongs and papers, but I don’t know what part of the city I was in as I walked all over the city. Loved Santiago and I smelled lots of cannabis being consumed. But I never saw any for sale and I never saw a real head shop. It won’t stop me from going to Santiago again. Loved the city.

    • Weedmaster420
    • September 3, 2019

    When travelling to the US, I normally buy through snapchat or instagram, settling the location and quantity in-chat with the dealers… I guess it’s much easier than simply bumping into stoners, whilst asking in english, for chronic in Santiago. I’m travelling to the Atacama desert tomorrow and then Santiago for a few days, anyone got any snapchat/ig contacts or some better method please?

      • ChoroMota
      • September 14, 2019

      Hey, when you are in Santiago, you should download Grindr, a gay date app. There, anybody with a leaf or a fruit emoji is weed. The prices are around 6000~9000 CLP a gram, but be careful with brick weed, it usually smells from nothing to diesel, here we call it Creepy. But in your case, you should look for weed in Hostals, because in the app you’ll be ripped off, like any tourist in a foreign country, but in the Hostal, with an overcharged price, you should have access to good weed without any danger. This obviously is not in every hostal, but you should know what kind are you looking for it 😉

        • Cham
        • May 28, 2020

        Hey I have been in the same issues it makes me tired till I met this good friend of mine who help me through out .WhatsApp on +601117000763

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