Drugs: Legal and Illegal

A lot of questions I hear are related to drugs. Some of them are about what you buy in a pharmacy and some are about “street drugs”.

Is Marajuana Legal?

In a word, no. That said, personal use is generally accepted. When I was first here people told me that in San Pedro, you could smoke pot on the street but, in Panajachel, you need to only smoke it at home. I have also been told by various people that the police seem to have little concern if you are growing it for your personal use. One person I know who owns land said the police told him he could grow up to 32 plants.

So, it is up to you. My personal opinion is when you are in someone else’s country, you should obey the rules. Saying “I did it because the locals do it” may not be the right excuse if the authorities have an issue, possibly unrelated, with you.

The first three times I was in Panajachel, someone on the street approached me asking if I wanted to buy some pot. I doubt these were police stings but, of course, it is possible. As for price, I have been told by three different people about three price points. Two of the purchases were from Gringos.

  • One ounce of not very good stuff: Q100
  • 1/2 ounce of pretty decent stuff: Q150
  • One gram of really good stuff: Q100

At the Pharmacy

Like most countries in the region, you generally don’t need a prescription to buy drugs. What is available may be more of an issue (at least here in the smaller communities of the lake) than what you need to buy it.

If you need something that is not really common, it is a good idea to look up the generic name and possibly names used around the world rather than just the name in your home country. Wikipedia can help you here including generally having a page available in Spanish. Print it out and bring it with you.

In Panajachel, Farmacia Batres (a chain) has computers to look up substances and is open 24/7. It is on Calle Principal on the right as you go up the hill, across the street from the Centro de Salud.


Yes, posession is legal. The good news is that use is restricted. You cannot smoke tobacco inside of any business in Guatemala. We are no exception so you will have a smoke-free stay here.