Cities with the Most Dispensaries. Where Does Denver Rank?

Cannabis has increasingly popular across the United States. In states where cannabis is legal, both for medicinal and recreational use, dispensaries are popping up all over the place. But which cities have the most dispensaries per capita? Recently, Frost Exotic Cannabis did some research on this topic and we were surprised by some of the findings. Keep reading to learn more!

Cities with the Most Marijuana Dispensaries Per Capita

Because Colorado was only the second state to legalize recreational cannabis, it might be expected that it would have the most dispensaries per capita. However, this is not the case. In fact, Colorado ranks number four on this list. The state with the most dispensaries per capita is actually Oregon, with nearly 17 dispensaries for every 100,000 residents. Surprisingly, Oklahoma comes in second, with almost 15.6 dispensaries per 100,000 residents. Montana rounds out the top three states with almost 15.1 dispensaries per 100,000 residents. Our home state sits in fourth place with 14.1 dispensaries per 100,000.

We’re here to talk about city rankings, however, not states. State rankings can be misleading because, as you well know, different counties and municipalities don’t handle cannabis dispensaries the same way. There are many “smoke-less” cities and towns in Colorado.

So, where does Denver rank? Let’s count it down and find out.

10. Phoenix, AZ – 1.2 dispensaries per 100k people

Recreational cannabis was only legalized in Arizona last year, so Phoenix has ascended quickly up this list. With nearly 1.2 dispensaries per 100,000 residents, the city has more than double the number of dispensaries as the state average.

9. Seattle, WA – 1.9

This is perhaps a surprisingly low ranking for the largest city in the other state that legalized recreational marijuana at the same time as Colorado. Dispensary density all comes down to local ordinances, however. Denver is just more dispensary-friendly.

8. San Diego, CA – 3.1

San Diego has an ordinance in place that prohibits dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools, childcare centers, minor-oriented facilities, churches, parks, libraries, and playgrounds. Some locals say this is too restrictive and has made it overly difficult to open dispensaries. Regardless, San Diego still cracked the top 10.

7. Los Angles, CA – 3.3

Although California could be the biggest legal cannabis market globally, it still falls behind other recreational markets in sales per person. This is because the black market for marijuana is still going strong and state regulations are restrictive.

6. Las Vegas, NV – 4.0

What would Sin City be nowadays without cannabis? The recreational marijuana laws in Nevada that went into effect on July 1, 2017 add the state to the ever-growing list of places where it is now legal.

5. San Francisco, CA – 4.1

It seems appropriate that the city most associated with hippy culture would also be one of the most weed-friendly places in the nation. You’re never far from your next purchase in San Fran.

4. San Jose, CA – 4.4

3. Sacramento, CA – 4.5

It’s interesting that two less-touristy cities top the rankings for California. What do you suppose that’s about? People just have fewer things to do, perhaps?

2. Portland, OR – 7.9

Leaving Cali for the top two cities, the dispensaries-per-capita number takes a significant jump, as Portland almost doubles the number from Sacramento. And since you read this far on our list and our lovely Queen City of the Plains has made an appearance yet, you can probably guess what’s coming next . . .

1 . Denver, CO – 9.8

We did it, guys! Denver, Colorado has the most dispensaries per capita of any major metropolis. We think this calls for a celebration. So why don’t you roll on down to Frost and pick yourself up something really nice. We’ll be waiting for you.

Cannabis Dispensaries in Denver

One of the primary reasons that Denver tops the list is that our local laws and ordinances are much more dispensary-friendly than in other cities. It’s also worth noting that this list only includes major cities. There are smaller cities that really knock all of the above numbers out of the water. The top three are Missoula, Montana with 36.2 retailers per 100,000 residents, followed by Medford, Oregon (34), and our little brother Pueblo, Colorado (33.2).

Where does all that Marijuana Tax Revenue Go?

So … we’re number one! Yay! . . . But where does all that tax revenue go? From the Colorado state website:

Ten percent of the revenue from the 15 percent tax on marijuana retail sales is allocated to local governments and apportioned according to the percentage of marijuana retail sales occurring within city and county boundaries. The remaining 90 percent is allocated as follows:

    • 71.85% to the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund;
    • 15.56% to the General Fund; and
    • 12.59% to the State Public School Fund. 

Revenue in the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund is required to be used for health care, health education, substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, and law enforcement.

The State Public School Fund is specifically for infrastructure – primarily buildings and books. This is why Colorado is chock-full of fancy new school buildings, but still near last in the nation in teacher pay.

The Last Toke

We hope that you learned something from this list. We also hope that you’ll come down to see us at Frost Exotic Cannabis the next time you’re in Denver. We’ve got a great selection of product and our knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to help you find what you’re looking for.

Source: Dunaway-Seale, J. (2022). We Found the Best Weed Cities in the U.S. (2022 Data). Real Estate Witch.

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