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Portland, Oregon is the Most “Cannabis Friendly" City in the US; Birmingham, Alabama the Least

Portland, Oregon is the Most “Cannabis Friendly" City in the US; Birmingham, Alabama the Least

Americans spend more on cannabis than on craft beer and chocolate combined. That’s emerged from a new survey which ranked US cities on their “cannabis-friendliness”. This year Portland, Oregon came out tops, replacing Denver, Colorado.

Daily Mail, UK Edition

30 April 2023 at 10:00:00

The West Coast city of Portland, Oregon, where an ounce of top-notch weed sells for $210/ounce ($7.41/gram), has been ranked as America's cannabis capital, based on the price, quality, and availability of weed there. 

Washington DC is the most expensive place to buy legal cannabis in the United States with the average price being $590/ounce ($20.81/gram). (Editor’s note: that’s around R374.60/gram in SA terms)

That’s according to a study, by Real Estate Witch, which found that Denver, Colorado, and Buffalo, New York, were runners-up, in a survey that rated everything from cannabis's legal status to the number of dispensaries in the city.

They also found that Birmingham, Alabama, which allows medical cannabis, but where recreational use is outlawed, is the worst city for users overall. Memphis, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky, also ranked at the bottom.

The worst prices, however, are in Washington, DC, where users spend $590 on an ounce of finest bud — 87 percent more than the national average, which is $316 for top-end cannabis and $252 for regular.

The research comes amid America's fast-paced switch to legalizing cannabis, which is now allowed for recreational adult use in 20 states and Washington, DC. Anti-cannabis campaigners warn of teenage addiction, more stoned motorists, and other dangers.

It also comes amid growing social acceptance of cannabis use. A YouGov poll this week found that more than half of Americans say it's okay to use marijuana openly, and nearly two thirds support legalized recreational use in their state.

David Downs, an editor with Leafly, a cannabis retail website that partnered on the research, said the high-scoring cities were showing 'good governance' by effectively liberalizing and regulating pot use.

'It's a litmus test for democracy,' said Downs.

Researchers gathered data from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Google Trends, Yelp and other sources to calculate the average price and availability of weed across the county's biggest cities.

Portland topped the rankings thanks to its cheaper weed prices — $210 per ounce of high grade cannabis and $187 for standard — and for having among the country's highest number of dispensaries per capita.

Denver dropped to second place from last year's survey. It scores well thanks to low prices, the availability of dispensaries and head shops, and the ratings those stores get from users.

Buffalo jumped up the rankings from 17th to third place, in part thanks to New York state allowing recreational adult use at the start of the year. But researchers said it's still held back by a lack of dispensaries.

Researchers graded Birmingham, Alabama, as the worst city for cannabis users, thanks to the scarcity of dispensaries, which are only allowed to sell to people with medical permits, and its above-average prices.

As well as the 21 jurisdictions that have legalized recreational adult use, 27 states allow it for varying medicinal purposes. Three states — Idaho, Kansas, and Nebraska — prohibit weed entirely.

Washington and Colorado were the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012.

Legalization has not been smooth. Voters in Oklahoma last month rejected the legalization of recreational cannabis, joining other conservative states Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota who rejected similar efforts in 2022.

Sales just began in Missouri, are expected to begin in July in Maryland and totaled $300 million in the first year of New Mexico's program.

As it becomes more legal, attitudes appear to be changing. A YouGov poll of 1,582 US adults found that 53 percent said it was socially acceptable to use cannabis openly, while 47 percent called it unacceptable.

That's a shift towards acceptance from the last survey two years ago, even while Republicans, conservatives, seniors over 65, and religious Americans do not believe it's okay to light a joint in the street.

Some 64 percent of respondents said weed should be legal in their state, compared to 36 percent against. Democrats were significantly more supportive of legalization than were Republicans.

Smokers flocked to parks across the country to celebrate 4/20 on Thursday, 20 April 2023, the annual celebration of cannabis. In New York City, hundreds gathered in Washington Square Park to 'blaze' through the haze in interesting and somewhat unconventional ways.

Americans last year spent more on legal weed than they did on chocolate and craft beer combined, according to cannabis website MJBizDaily. Consumers spent $30 billion on cannabis, but only $18 billion on chocolate.


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