Portland, Oregon, Takes the Crown as Country's Best Town for Weed Consumers
But what’s good for the buyers isn’t always good for the sellers.
Published on April 12, 2023

Looking for a new home base and your priority is quality cannabis? A survey just dropped that puts your prospects squarely in Portland, Oregon, which has been deemed “Best Weed City” in a study conducted by Leafly and housing market online publication Real Estate Witch.

“When you’re thinking about where to go next, look at how the local government handles cannabis,” said Leafly’s senior content manager David Downs in a statement. “Cannabis liberalization and regulatory innovation tracks with good governance. It’s a litmus test for democracy and other issues.”

Results were gathered from a variety of sources like Leafly, the US Census Bureau, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Google Trends, Price of Weed, and Yelp. Among the investigation’s criteria were: The obvious factor of whether cannabis is legal, the number of doctors prescribing cannabis compared to population, average dispensary ratings, the eyebrow-raising “site visitors to Leafly,” and weed prices. Other factors that received less weight in the rankings were the number of Taco Bells and concert venues vs. total population, and number of hiking trails.

Last year’s top bud berg was Denver, which dropped to the number two slot in 2023, just ahead of Buffalo, New York. Baltimore was this year’s Most Improved, having gone from number 25 to number 5 on the list due to Maryland voters approving the legalization of recreational cannabis.

For some reason, Rose City supremacy is not what survey respondents were expecting from the study. The majority of US people who answered the poll’s questions thought that LA was the best place for weed—in fact, the City of Angels clocked in at number nine on the list, and came in third in its own state after Sacramento and San Diego.

It’s no secret that Portland has copious amounts of dispensaries and that Oregon enjoys some of the lowest bud prices in the country. But it is definitely worth noting, however, is that while cheap and plentiful weed is wonderful for marijuana consumers in the short term, it’s not great for cannabis producers—despite municipal kickbacks in times of highkey business stressors.

“The Oregon recreational marijuana market is in arguably the weakest economic position it has been in since the inception of the program in 2016,” commented the state’s cannabis governing body, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, in a February 1 report. “These low consumer prices force businesses to operate under low margins and extreme pressure.”

Since prices for producers are so low, many farmers have been ramping down their production numbers. That means that a lot of the weed that you buy in the state is from harvests from long-gone yesteryears, and that much stock dies a sad, unsmoked death in Oregon warehouses. That has been the case for some time now, with occasional breaks afforded by the start of the pandemic’s weed industry windfalls.

Certainly, the state is well positioned to supply others with its weed stock—in fact, in 2019, it became the first state to legalize interstate cannabis commerce. Now, let’s see if federal law will catch to allow such cross-border sales.

In the meantime, and as suggested by the poll, more marijuana lovers are certainly invited to partake in the joys of Oregon’s weed consumer paradise!

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud.

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Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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