The 10 US states with the most cannabis dispensaries

Published Oct 6, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / dvulikaia

With federal marijuana legalization in the US still a distant dream, most people don’t realize that this country is home to the most recreational dispensaries in the entire world. That’s right, even though it is still illegal according to the federal government to use cannabis, the US still manages to reel in the most revenue out of anyone.

Since you’re probably wondering where all of the best dispensaries and cannabis brands might be, now that you know they’re out there en mass, it might help you to know where you’ll find the most options to choose from. Here we aren’t going to highlight the star locations, but you will get to discover everything there is to know about the ten states that currently house the most dispensaries.

1. Oregon

According to consumers, Oregon has some of the best dispensaries in the whole country, and that’s likely due to the sheer number of choices that they have to select from. The state, which brought in $94.4 million in revenue in 2018, has an amazing 15.5 dispensaries per 100,000 people. So, while they might not make the most money from the cannabis industry, ranking 4th, they do have plenty of options for enthusiasts to shop.

2. Oklahoma

Oklahoma has one of the largest numbers of medical marijuana dispensaries, and as of right now, there are currently 15.6 stores per 100,000 residents. Unfortunately, some locations are reporting more success than others, with far too many struggling to stay afloat, so the annual tax revenue brought in from the industry is shockingly low given the number of stores, at an average of only $70,000 per year.

3. Montana

Montana might be one of the least progressive states in a lot of ways, but it still makes the list as a region with ample dispensaries. The average number of cannabis stores in Montana sits at 15.1 for every 100,000 people, and though that might sound like a lot, the area’s tax revenue each year rolls in the tune of around $1.8 million, which isn’t a lot compared to most of the states on this list.

4. Colorado

Colorado was one of the first US states to allow both medicinal and recreational dispensaries, but it also has some of the strictest rules around who can use it. The legal age to buy weed here is 21 years old, something that many say is too restrictive, but the region still manages to sustain an average of 14.1 storefronts per every 100,000 adults, and they make an incredible $266 million each year in tax revenue from sales.

5. Alaska

Alaska has one of the smallest populations out of any state, so it might come as a surprise to find out that it ranks 5thon this list, but it seems that the people there are rather fond of their green because the region hosts 12.7 dispensaries per capita while reigning in around $10 million in tax revenue each year, and that’s more than both Oklahoma and Montana combined.

6. Washington

Washington is huge on the cannabis scene, as they too were one of the first to allow both medicinal and recreational dispensaries, but there isn’t as much going on here as you might think when it comes to green businesses because there are only 6.2 cannabis stores per 100,000 individuals. However, despite having fewer dispensaries than any other state on this list, the region manages to make a total of $319 million in tax revenue each and every year.

7. New Mexico

New Mexico is so close to legalization that some experts believe that it could be possible as soon as next year, but for now, the residents here only have the option of medicinal stores, as long as they have a qualifying condition and license. Still, the area contains 5.2 dispensaries for every 100,000 residents, and they reel in an incredible $9 million each year in tax revenue, which isn’t too bad when you consider the major restrictions.

8. Nevada

Nevada is widely known for its attractions and nightlife, but it has far fewer recreational dispensaries than one might hope, with an average of 2.4 per 100,000 citizens. Here, no one city stands out as a welcoming host to cannabis businesses, but the area does surprisingly well, given the very few storefronts, by collecting a total of $69.8 million in annual tax revenue.

9. Michigan

This state has long been home to a bustling medical cannabis industry, but they only recently began building the recreational side of things, and yet still, it managed to make top ten for the number of dispensaries, weighing in at 1.7 per 100,000 residents. Though the region has had a slow start, it still takes in $2.4 million in tax revenue each year, which is pretty amazing.

10. California

Most people are shocked to learn that the Golden State ranks so low where dispensaries are concerned, as it is often held up as a centerpiece of the American cannabis industry, but if you visit or reside in this region, you’ll find that there are only 1.6 recreational dispensaries for every 100,000 residents. Despite the lower numbers, the state still managed to bring in a whopping $345 million in revenue in 2018, proving that Californians are willing to go out of their way to get their green.

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