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Stoner Slang: How to Talk Cannabis in Different Countries

Planning a trip to another part of the world? This 420 weed slang guide will make sure you never go dry and get high when you visit foreign countries. While we wouldn’t recommend running around Tokyo asking where to score, knowing a bit of local lingo can help you on your quest to get high in various parts of the world.

While there are plenty of slang terms for cannabis, there are some regionally specific marijuana terms used by different cultures and races across the globe.

Here are some weed slang terms in eight different countries for the well-traveled stoned citizen where cannabis can be consumed on a legal or illegal basis.

United Kingdom

Legal status: Illegal (class B drug)
Maximum penalty: 5 years imprisonment | fine of up to £2,500.

You might be thinking, why do I need to know how to say cannabis in the United Kingdom? Don’t they speak English!? Yes, they do, but they speak their whole own form of English when it comes to weed slang. A zoot, for example, is joint. A tinger would be a dime bag, and the substance itself is often referred to as skunk or peng. You could ask for an eighth of grass, but you don’t want to sound like a bobby, do you?


Legal status: Illegal
Maximum penalty: 200 euro on-the-spot fine

In France, a joint is a pétard. This term is also popular in Switzerland and Belgium. A pétard was a small bomb used for breaching doors. In this case, it might be referring to the doors of your mind. Weed, in general, is called la beuh, pronounced like ‘bud’ but with no d.


Legal status: Legal for Medical Use only since 2017
Maximum penalty: 1 month to 6 years imprisonment

As in any Spanish-speaking country, you can say mota and people will know what you mean. Yerba works too, or perhaps ‘yerba buena,’ delivered with a wink. In Argentina and many South American countries, you’ll also hear paraguacha as weed slang. This generally refers to a very brown, very terrible brick weed exported from Paraguay. It still works in a pinch. Porro is another common Spanish word for a joint that’s used there.


Legal status: Legal for recreational use since 2021

While most Spanish weed slang works anywhere, there are a few terms that are specifically Mexican. A pacheco is Mexican for pothead, and they also use grifo to refer to those who love the hierba a bit too much.


Legal status: Selling cannabis in Italy is illegal but has been decriminalized

Spinello means reefer in English, but is commonly used in Italy to refer to a joint. Similar to Spanish, erba means cannabis in general, although it translates to grass, not herb.

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Legal status: Ilegal
Maximum penalty: public use of cannabis entails a warning | Trafficking 5 to 15 years

Macohna is the Portuguese word for pot, and it is also the most common term for it. Like many other romance languages, the word for herb—erva—is also a way to refer to reefer. A joint in Brazil is a beck, in case you’re looking for a single-serve.


Legal status: Illegal
Maximum punishment: 6 grams detention for 15 days.

We have no idea how to write it in the Cyrillic alphabet, but we can tell you that travka is weed and a kosiak is a joint. You’ll at least be able to ask, if you spot someone smoking!


Legal status: Illegal, but is decriminalised for personal use

Wiet is the common word for weed, and it’s pronounced exactly like, well, weed. Hennep is another word for cannabis, and the name should give away what type: hemp. Hennep olie would be hemp oil if you’re hunting for a CBD fix in Amsterdam.

South Africa

Legal status: Legal | Decriminalized since 2018
Consumption: Private

Dagga is a word used in areas of Southern Africa to describe cannabis. The term, dating to the 1660s, derives from the word dacha in the Khoekhoe language used to describe the evergreen plant that thrives in the country’s sunny climate. Ask the people of the Rainbow Nation for a dagga zol, a spliff or a slow boat and Bob’s your uncle! Rural residents also call it tarri or majat. These days citizens and tourists who want to get high while on safari in South Africa, don’t have to score a dagga bankie or brick from a Bergie or a car guard on the street. Ever since marijuana became legal for private consumption in South Africa, cannabis dispensaries have been popping up in metropolitan and urban areas, with dagga shops opening nationwide!


Legal status: Illegal | decriminalize possession and use however minor amounts of weed is regarded as a civil offense.
Maximum punishment: fines

The Portuguese word for marijuana is maconha and baseado de cannabis means cannabis joint.

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