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These Are the States With the Most Cannabis Dispensaries

Jars sit in the dispensary Electric Lettuce in Oregon.
PHOTO Max Noecker


These Are the States With the Most Cannabis Dispensaries

Cannabis retail is ever-expanding.

Now that marijuana legalization is taking hold across the country, the cannabis industry is really starting to bud. Ahh, get it? At any rate, in the 40 odd states that have legalized the leaf for medicinal and recreational use — see, there are so many legal jurisdictions that we’ve actually lost count — we are starting to witness an uprising in cannabis dispensaries, all of them dedicated to servicing the legions of cannabis customers out there champing at the bit to buy legal weed. Indeed, droves of people are standing in lines at these retail shops ready to get their hands on pot. It’s a wild scene unmatched by anything with maybe the exception of the lines to get in to see Mr. Bungle during their recent Raging Wrath shows. But other than that, we’re talking stoner fandom here, folks. Like, it’s readily apparent that America reaaally wants to be high.

Well, as with anything in this world, there’s always a group of scientific minds ready to roll up their sleeves to dissect what’s really going on out there. Marijuana is no exception. So, the folks at Verilife, which operates dispensaries in several states, recently buckled down to determine just how many marijuana dispensaries are in the United States. But they weren’t going to stop there, no siree. They also wanted to find out which states and cities had the most dispensaries and which ones were contributing the most tax revenue to their respective pot. Hello? Is this thing on?

While states like CaliforniaWashington and Colorado obviously led the pack in terms of collecting tax revenue from the sale of legal weed, some of the results of this exploration into dispensaries might surprise you. So, without further ado, here are the 10 states with the most dispensaries per capita.

10. California

Man, no wonder the Golden State is having such a hard time taking its cannabis trade into the realm of the legit. The study finds it only has 1.6 marijuana dispensaries per 100,000, which hardly seems enough to service all of those in need. Nevertheless, the state still threw down $354 million in tax revenue in 2018. Sure, that’s a bit lower than the initial projections, but it’s still more than any other legal state. Two of its cities have more dispensaries than anywhere else. It looks like the best place to find weed is in Cathedral City (12th in the nation) and Santa Cruz (25th). They have 11.8 and 6.2 marijuana dispensaries per 50,000, respectively, the study finds.

9. Michigan

The state recently launched its recreational sector after running a medical marijuana program for several years. It has 1.7 dispensaries per 100,000, according to the study, contributing in the neighborhood of $2.4 million in pot taxes. Incidentally, however, none of its cities made the list of most dispensaries.

8. Nevada

It only stands to reason that a state that is home to jurisdictions where gambling and prostitution are legal should be on the list of most marijuana dispensaries, as well. The study shows that the Silver State has 2.4 dispensaries per 100,000. These operations are contributing $69.8 million a year in tax revenue. Still, none of its cities ranks among those with the most dispensaries.

7. New Mexico

The state has been pushing recently for recreational marijuana, but it’s probably going to have to settle for its medicinal sector for a while longer. Still, it’s not too shabby based on the number of available dispensaries. The state has 5.2 dispensaries per 100,000, and it is collecting $9 million in annual tax revenue. It has only one city on the list of most dispensaries. Santa Fe came in at 28th with 5.9 per 50,000.

6. Washington

One of the first states in America to legalize for recreational use, Washington has 6.2 cannabis dispensaries per 100,000. It also came in second nationwide in terms of producing money, the study finds, generating $319 million in tax revenue per year. It is also where you can find  a handful of cities that topped the most dispensaries list. Bellingham (8.8 dispensaries) and Olympia (8.6) came in at 20 and 21, respectively. Spokane (5.9) made the cut at 27th, while Everett (5.8) sits at 28th.

5. Alaska

While it might not sound like there would be too many places to buy weed in the Last Frontier, it’s slinging more green than one might think. The state has 12.7 marijuana dispensaries per 100,000, giving way to $10.8 million in annual tax revenue. Unfortunately, though, none of its cities had enough dispensaries per capita to make the list.

4. Colorado

Another one of the first states in the nation to make legal marijuana a reality for adults 21 and older sits high on the list. The study finds that Colorado has 14.1 cannabis dispensaries per 100,000. It also ranks in at third on the list for most tax revenue collected, pulling down $266 million per year. And there is a slew of cities where it might seem a dispensary is on every corner. Pueblo (16.6 dispensaries) ranks third in the nation, followed by Denver (14.9) in fifth place. On down the list is Boulder (12.1) at 11th and Colorado Springs (11.7) at 13th.

3. Montana

While we don’t hear too much about the cannabis trade in Montana, it is one of the leading states in the nation for most dispensaries per capita. The study shows it has 15.1 dispensaries per 100,000. But it only pulls in roughly around $1.8 million per year in tax revenue. Even still, a number of its cities have the most pot shops in the nation. Missoula (18.1 dispensaries) ranks in at numeral uno in the country. The next is further down the line. Billings, which sits at 22nd on the list, has 7.3 dispensaries per 50,000.

2. Oklahoma

The state’s medical marijuana sector is set up for big things, the study finds. It is home to 15.6 cannabis dispensaries per 100,000, but most of these establishments are apparently starving to death. These operations are only producing around $70,000 in annual tax revenue. But its cities are set up to sell more weed than any other spot in the nation. Moore (13.1 dispensaries) comes in at 7th on the list, followed by Edmond (12.5) at 9th. But it doesn’t stop there. Oklahoma City (10.6) and Norman (10.5) fall in at 14th and 15th, respectively. Tulsa (10.1) and Lawton (9.6) make a showing at 17th and 18th, and so does Enid (7.0), Broken Arrow (6.5) and Midwest City.

1. Oregon

Oregon should be nicknamed the Dispensary State. The study finds it has 16.5 dispensaries per 100,000, coming in at 4th ($94.4 million) in the nation for collecting tax revenue. Medford (17.1) is the second leading city in the country for the most dispensaries. Eugene (16.1) comes in at 4th, Portland at 6th, Salem 8th, and Bend at the 10th spot. Three more Oregon cities (Corvallis, Springfield, and Beaverton) also made the cut, the study shows.

TELL US, how many cannabis dispensaries or shops are near where you live?

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