Panama is famous for its marijuana (the “Panama Red” of hippie anthems) and notorious as a transshipment point for cocaine. Don’t let that fool you into thinking the consumption of illegal drugs is treated casually in Panama. If you’re caught you could very well find yourself spending years in a squalid, overcrowded prison.
Simple possession of even a small amount of marijuana or any other drug is punishable by a minimum of one year in prison. Those caught with more than a tiny bit of a drug are assumed to be trafficking in it, and punishment is correspondingly harsh. Anyone caught buying or selling drugs is looking at 5–10 years behind bars.
Dealers have been known to set up gullible tourists for a bust, sometimes in the hope of sharing a bribe with a corrupt cop. Resist all temptations to sample the local products. It’s an extremely foolish risk to take.