Arts + Culture

Mind–Altering Vacations

by Barbara Cleveland

HASHISH IN MOROCCO

The buzz: In Morocco, hashish is to marijuana what jam is to fruit: delicious, concentrated, and readily available no matter what time of year. Known as kif, this North African delicacy is technically illegal, but as Morocco's biggest foreign currency earner after tourism, it has been basically decriminalized. Tokers report that police have little interest in arresting tourists for possessing small amounts (but it's up to you whether to test that theory).

Where to score: In nearly every alleyway or village square in Morocco, you'll hear "Kif for you!" This exchange is akin to buying a Rolex in Chinatown. After making a cursory glance for police officers, smart buyers will step aside and inspect the merchandise to make sure that the kif is squishy and smelly (old hash is usually hard as a rock, has no smell, and isn't very fun to smoke). The kif can either be sautéed down in butter and baked into food or smoked in a long, thin pipe—it burns at a very high temperature, so the length of the pipe is a key element in cooling the smoke before it hits the throat.

Where to chill: Chefchaouen, a town not far from Tangier, is the unofficial capital of Morocco's unofficial drug trade—the varieties of kif available here are astonishing, as is the architecture: hundreds of simple Berber dwellings, painted bright shades of blue and white. It's about four hours from Fez on a bus, so plan to stay at least a night, though it's likely you'll want to chill out even longer.

Where to come down: If you're still in Chefchaouen, the cheap and charming Casa Perleta is located just off the main medina. Ask for room 6, which has a view of the Rif Mountains. If you're heading back to medieval Fez, La Maison Bleue is filled with canopy beds, stained glass windows, and carved cedar doors, a perfect accompaniment to the lush hash high.

Next: Bhang a gong

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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