America: Land of the free and home of the… best marijuana in the Western hemisphere. And while the legal cannabis scene continues to thrive in the US, one question remains on every stoner’s mind: Which state has the best weed?
States Where Legal Recreational Marijuana Has Been Approved
Year after year, the cannabis industry continues to grow as more states vote to legalize recreational marijuana.
And year after year, cannabis businesses compete for marijuana sales, bolstering each legal state’s overall economy.
Though marijuana legalization still has a long way to go as the federal government has yet to legalize both adult use recreational and medical cannabis on the federal level, many stoners across the country continue to enjoy the perks of decriminalized cannabis.
As of 2023, 21 states (including Washington D.C.) have legalized recreational marijuana. That number will grow as states that have previously legalized medical marijuana vote on legalization bills for recreational weed.
Out of the 21 states that have voted to legalize medical marijuana and recreational cannabis, only 10 of those states have earned a spot on our list of the best states for weed. Keep reading to see if your home state made the cut.
The 10 Best Weed States
Not all legal states are stoner-friendly. Cannabis culture, weed tourism, legislative reform, retail sales, and the quality of marijuana businesses across the state all play vital roles in a state’s overall standing within the cannabis crowd.
So whether you’re looking to move to a 420-friendly state or you’re throwing together some future travel plans, keep reading for which states reign supreme in the world of weed.
It should come as no surprise that California tops our list of the best states for legal marijuana use. After all, our home state knows how to show up and show out.
Stoners from all across the country flock to the golden state for stunning views of coastal California and the best marijuana tourism in the USA — and for good reason!
In fact, California was the first state to end marijuana prohibition and legalize medical marijuana use in 1996. In 2016, a cannabis legislation bill once again appeared on state ballots; this time, proposing legal sales of adult-use recreational marijuana.
Since then, recreational marijuana use has skyrocketed across the state, bringing with it a hefty chain of tourists, cultivation practices, and licensed dispensaries ready to sell marijuana to the masses.
But that’s not all — legalizing cannabis has proven to be a profitable choice for the state of California, which benefits from the tax revenue. According to Forbes, legal sales reached $5.3 billion in 2022, evidence of a thriving industry that accounts for roughly 20% of retail sales within the $26 billion marijuana industry.
Overall, California cultivates some of the best weed in the United States, attracting both consumers and businesses to the beautiful West Coast. However, the cultivation scene is quickly growing in California, so if you’re hoping to score a cultivation license, now is the time!
And given California’s fairly lenient cannabis laws, including cannabis delivery laws, we’d say California is the place to be.
And if you’re searching for the best California-grown cannabis, you won’t have to search far. Here are a few of our favorite Golden State products:
Vibes: Elevated, Relaxed, Euphoric
Terpenes: Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Humulene
Description: Best known for its complex flavor profile and long-lasting aroma, Animal Face is a unique strain created from a cross between Face Off OG x Animal Mints. Fig Farms describes each tasting note in detail, highlighting flavors of kiwi, black licorice, and yellow fruit loops with a gassy overtone.
Vibes: Blissful, Relaxed, Sleepy
Terpenes: Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Linalool
Description: Step into the fast lane of relaxation with Carbon Fiber, the indica strain that delivers a sleek and smooth experience. Like a finely crafted masterpiece, this strain is known to be exceptionally potent and typically reserved only for the most experienced cannabis consumers. If you’re up for the challenge, buckle up and enjoy the high-performance ride of Carbon Fiber as it fuels your senses with a sweet and spicy flavor profile as well as effects that reportedly leave you cruising in a state of pure bliss.
Vibes: Elevated, Happy, Euphoric
Terpenes: Limonene, Caryophyllene, Linalool
Description: Tropicanna Cookies x Black Cherry Punch results in a sativa-dominant strain fondly known as High C. Many stoners reach for High C alongside their morning glass of OJ thanks to a reportedly creamy, citrusy flavor profile with refreshing hints of pine — all of which may awaken the taste buds while making way for light, bright, and happy effects. Limonene tops the terpene profile and gives this strain its citrusy edge. It also commonly promotes mood-elevating effects. Caryophyllene is next on the list and often offers anxiety and pain relief. And finally, linalool makes an appearance, which may give consumers a sense of calm to carry them through the day. Overall, many fans say that High C may promote a happy cerebral high that’s perfect for AM wake n’ bakes.
Ringing in at #2 on our list of the best states for weed is the second largest cannabis market in the United States, Colorado. When stoners think of the centennial state, their minds often drift to blissful thoughts of the plant we all know and love. And rightfully so because Colorado is a mecca for stoners and weed fanatics everywhere.
Having legalized medical marijuana in 2000 and adult-use recreational marijuana in 2012, Colorado has put good use to their head start in the legal cannabis industry.
Often viewed as a stoner’s paradise, Coloradans 21+ can legally possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis products. Note that this amount is double what cannabis users in California are legally allowed to possess.
Not only is the weed scene thriving in Colorado, but cannabis culture as a whole is alive and well. Some of the country’s best-licensed dispensaries call Colorado home, and tourism options such as cannabis tours allow for an inside look into operations.
To further cement Colorado as one of the best states for weed, Denver Colorado has the most dispensaries in not only the US but the world.
Needless to say, cannabis legalization has put Colorado on the stoner map, and the hype isn’t expected to die down anytime soon.
Home of the windy city, Illinois takes a surprising third place on our list.
This popular midwest destination was the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2020 after having legalized medical marijuana as recently as 2013.
Since then, a thriving adult-use recreational cannabis market has attracted both consumers and businesses alike.
The swift onset of such a thriving industry has allowed the state of Illinois to house 113 adult-use cannabis dispensaries and a number of craft cultivators committed to growing marijuana for the masses. Numbers that are only expected to grow in the coming years.
Though the Illinois cannabis market is still relatively new, the state is a trendsetter in regard to its prioritization of social equity within the cannabis industry.
In fact, Illinois has set aside a certain percentage of cannabis business licenses for minority-owned businesses and those from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs and mass incarceration. This has helped to create opportunities for people who may have been previously excluded from the industry.
However, there is a downside to this 420-friendly city. The Marijuana Policy Project brought to light that the Illinois government banked $562 million for cannabis tax revenue in 2022; the highest in the country, behind California.
Nevada is best known for Las Vegas, one of the largest tourist cities in the United States. The city is well-known for its flashy casinos, entertainment, and overall excess — and the same goes for its thriving adult-use recreational marijuana industry.
Cannabis legalization first showed up on Nevada state ballots in 2000. However, the state was unable to safely regulate marijuana via licensed dispensaries until 2014. Shortly after, in 2016, Nevada legalized marijuana for recreational use.
Since then, the state has gone on to establish a thriving adult-use marijuana industry that gives tourists yet another reason to visit.
But that’s not all — Las Vegas is unsurprisingly home to the world’s largest recreational cannabis dispensary known as Planet 13.
This massive retail location is somewhat of an adult playground in and of itself, complete with a restaurant, coffee shop, interactive entertainment, a manufacturing facility, and even a weed museum. Oh, and did we mention that couples can get married in this dispensary, too?
Overall, Las Vegas is an excellent destination for people to entertain their vices—including our favorite vice, recreational cannabis—before returning home to live life as normal.
Lush landscapes, mountain air, and a thriving recreational marijuana industry with the cheapest weed in the US all define this Pacific Northwest state.
The push to legalize marijuana started early in the state of Oregon. In 1998, Oregon voters passed legislation to reform marijuana laws and legalize cannabis for medical use. Later in 2014, voters once again revisited the topic of adult-use marijuana, and thus legalized recreational marijuana.
Given its fruitful growing conditions, Oregon produces the most industrial hemp than any other state. However, in regard to adult-use recreational marijuana, Oregon is known to produce high-quality, potent, and flavorful strains that appeal to both tourists and locals alike.
Oregon’s cannabis industry continues to prioritize sustainability, with many growers using eco-friendly and organic practices. The state also has strict regulations around pesticide use, which has helped to ensure the safety and purity of cannabis products.
Finally, Oregon’s adult-use recreational marijuana scene is special because of its unique cannabis culture. The state has a long history of cannabis advocacy and activism, and many people in Oregon view cannabis as an important part of their lifestyle.
Despite its status as one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, Washington rings in at #6 on our list. Nonetheless, this Pacific Northwest state has rightfully earned a spot in the top 10 states for weed.
Since pushing to legalize medical marijuana use in 1998 followed by recreational marijuana use, Washington has consistently pioneered the American cannabis space.
Both locals and tourists can enjoy the crisp mountain air and a fat joint from one of the state’s many marijuana dispensaries and retail shops as many of the local governments have made legalized cannabis especially accessible.
Additionally, Washington has set high standards for the quality and safety of cannabis retail sales in the state. Though cannabis plants thrive in the Pacific Northwest weather conditions, the state of Washington requires that all cannabis products be tested for potency and purity.
Additionally, the state has worked diligently to establish strict regulations for the cultivation, processing, and sale of cannabis.
Did you know that adult-use marijuana is legal in Alaska? That’s right — the biggest state in America is, in fact, 420-friendly.
The Alaska cannabis industry is relatively new. Similar to Washington and Oregon, Alaska first legalized medical marijuana back in 1998. Later in 2014, Alaskans voted in favor of a state law to legalize recreational marijuana use.
And now, a decade later, Alaska continues to grow its ever-evolving cannabis scene. But what makes Alaska’s adult-use recreational marijuana scene so special?
For starters, Alaska is an incredibly unique cannabis market given its remote location and sparse population, compared to other states within the USA.
And while these statistics alone have led to various challenges in regard to the cultivation and distribution of recreational marijuana, the strong sense of cannabis culture among those involved in the state’s cannabis industry is unmatched.
But just because the growing conditions aren’t necessarily ideal for marijuana plants doesn’t mean that Alaskans are unable to cultivate recreational marijuana.
Given that the cannabis strains grown in Alaska are adapted to the state’s unique climate and environment, the state is known to produce some of the most potent and flavorful cannabis in the world.
And finally, the Alaska cannabis scene is special because of its focus on outdoor adventures. Many cannabis-friendly activities are centered around the state’s natural beauty, such as hiking, fishing, and camping.
This creates a unique experience for both visitors and locals and highlights the connection between cannabis and nature in Alaska.
It’s been less than a decade since Massachusetts first legalized cannabis for recreational use. In fact, Massachusetts only voted to decriminalize cannabis as recently as 2008.
Even more surprising, the medical marijuana program in Massachusetts is still relatively new. In 2012, voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for medical use, but only four medical marijuana dispensaries had opened in the state by the end of 2015.
And finally, Massachusetts finally legalized recreational marijuana in 2016.
Needless to say, Massachusetts hasn’t been the quickest state to legalize recreational marijuana use. However, in the few years since legalization, the Massachusetts adult-use recreational and medical cannabis industry has grown and developed rapidly.
Nonetheless, The Massachusetts cannabis industry has created a significant number of new jobs. These career choices range from cultivation and processing to retail and customer service.
With that being said, the push toward marijuana legalization provides opportunities for people from a wide range of backgrounds and skill sets to enter the industry and build careers in the cannabis space.
Finally, Massachusetts places special emphasis on social equity within the adult-use marijuana industry. The state legislature provides low-interest loans and technical assistance to create opportunities for people and help to build a more inclusive and diverse cannabis industry in the state.
Back in 2008, Michigan voters helped pass the first of two state laws legalizing the medical use of marijuana.
Then in 2018, Michigan made history as the first state in the Midwest to legalize medical cannabis and allow for recreational marijuana use.
Since then, recreational marijuana use has skyrocketed across the state. Data suggests that nearly 60 percent of adults living in Michigan partake in a taste of the stoner life.
While Michigan doesn’t yet have the same reputation for cannabis culture as California or Colorado, the industry is one of the fastest growing in the entire United States.
In fact, the industry generated more than $500 million in revenue in the first year after recreational marijuana legalization. This number far surpassed initial projections and gave insight into the success to come for Michigan cannabis businesses.
To further set apart the Michigan cannabis industry from others in the country, Michigan allows adults to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal use. For reference, California only allows adults to grow up to six plants. This has contributed to a thriving home grow market, as well as a unique industry of businesses that cater to home growers.
Unfortunately, Michigan’s adult-use cannabis law allows local governments to opt out of allowing cannabis businesses in their communities. This has led to a patchwork of regulations across the state, with some local municipalities embracing the industry and others banning it altogether.
10. New York
And finally, we’ve reached New York, #10 on our list of the best states for weed in America.
Home of the Big Apple, New York is the most recent state on our list to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in 2021. In fact, New York only just passed medical marijuana legalization in 2016, making for only a five-year gap between the two laws.
But we’re not here to talk down on New York. Despite the fact that the state’s cannabis scene is still in its infancy, it’s rapidly growing.
In a relatively short period of time, New York has developed a fairly strong industry infrastructure that places a progressive focus on social equity. New York’s adult-use cannabis law includes provisions specifically designed to address the harm caused by the war on drugs, particularly in communities of color.
The state law establishes a social equity program that aims to promote participation in the industry by individuals and communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition. The law also directs a portion of tax revenue from cannabis sales to fund community reinvestment initiatives.
Additionally, the law includes provisions to encourage the growth of small cannabis businesses, such as microbusiness licenses that allow for on-site consumption and delivery. Lawmakers do so by limiting licenses given to cultivators, processors, and dispensaries across the state. This is intended to prevent a concentration of licenses in the hands of a few large companies while promoting competition and diversity in the industry.
And finally, similar to other states such as California, New York allows for home cultivation of cannabis plants. Adults are allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use.
The 10 Worst Weed Cities
Now to get into the nitty-gritty. We’ve just presented a deep dive into the best weed states, but what about the worst weed cities?
1. Washington, D.C
Okay, we get it: Washington D.C. is technically a state. But it operates as a city AND a county, so bear with us. Though marijuana is legal in Washington D.C., it’s actually one of the worst cities for stoners.
Overall, the combination of federal prohibition, limited access to legal markets, restrictions on public use, limited access to medical marijuana, and concerns about policing and enforcement contribute to D.C.’s status as one of the worst cities for weed.
2. Charlotte, North Carolina
Industry experts often cite Charlotte, North Carolina as one of the worst cities for weed because the state of North Carolina has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country. Though weed is decriminalized, even medical marijuana use is strictly illegal.
Strict laws, harsh penalties, strict drug testing policies, restricted access to medical marijuana, and enforcement disparities all play a role in Charlotte, North Carolina’s deserved status as one of the worst cities for stoners.
3. Houston, Texas
Despite an influx of Californians packing their belongings and moving to Texas, it is, in fact, among the worst states in the country for cannabis consumption. That said, the culture shock alone could be difficult for stoners to move past.
But why is Houston, Texas, in particular, one of the worst cities for weed?
Houston, Texas strictly prohibits the possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana. While the state does have a limited medical marijuana program, it only allows for the use of low-THC cannabis extracts to treat a handful of medical conditions.
Note that the medical use of marijuana typically requires higher doses of cannabis products given that it’s a treatment for a medical condition.
Additionally, Texas imposes harsh penalties for marijuana-related offenses. These penalties include fines and even jail time. Possession of just a small amount of marijuana can result in a misdemeanor charge, which carries penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Possession of larger amounts can result in felony charges and much harsher penalties.
Needless to say, Houston is one of the worst cities for weed because it happens to reside in one of the worst states for weed.
4. Atlanta, Georgia
Both medical marijuana use and recreational cannabis consumption are illegal in Atlanta, Georgia. And though many residents may support legalization, the state of Georgia has yet to actually vote on whether or not to legalize.
Additionally, many employers in Georgia have strict drug testing policies.
Some industries, such as healthcare and transportation, are required by law to drug test employees. This can make it difficult for individuals who use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes to find employment.
5. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee: A city known for its thriving country music scene, but definitely not its cannabis industry — or rather, lack thereof.
Though medical marijuana is technically legal in the state of Tennessee—with a doctor’s prescription, of course—there is no physical location to purchase medical cannabis. That said, the good people of the state of Tennessee must travel outside of the state to access their medicine.
Unfortunately, recreational weed is completely illegal in Tennessee. And while local lawmakers in the music city made efforts in 2016 to decriminalize the herb and lessen possession punishments, the state overruled these valiant efforts less than a year later.
However, it’s important to note that Nashville’s District Attorney, Glenn Funk, announced in 2020 that his office wouldn’t prosecute possession charges for less than half an ounce. Nonetheless, cannabis is still considered a criminal offense, and nobody wants a weed charge on their record.
And so, to this day, consequences for possession of marijuana in Nashville carry misdemeanor penalties of up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500. Yikes, we wouldn’t want to be a stoner in Nashville, Tennessee.
6. Memphis, Tennessee
Another Tennessee city to make the list, experts often cite Memphis as one of the worst cities for weed likely due to very similar circumstances as Nashville.
Given that both cities reside in the state of Tennessee, consequences and punishments remain the same. And similar to Nashville, Memphis lawmakers also made the push to decriminalize marijuana possession back in 2016, but to no avail as the state lawmakers shot down the motion.
Barbecue is so finger-licking good in Tennessee, and it’s a shame that local stoners and tourists can’t legally enjoy a blunt or two before hitting up some of the best food in the country.
7. Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky is one of the only cities on our list that has only just recently (we’re talking in the past 6 months) legalized medical cannabis. And despite its new legal status, officials reserve small dose medical cannabis use only for certain medical conditions under Kentucky law.
Still, similar to its neighboring state of Tennessee, Kentuckians must purchase medicinal cannabis outside their home state. Not only that, but they must provide proof of purchase that includes the address at which they purchased the product, as well as the date. Save your receipts, people!
Thanks to such tight restrictions, Louisville, Kentucky has next to no cannabis culture. Given California’s status in the legal world of weed, we simply couldn’t imagine a reality that leaves us paranoid to spark up our favorite medicine.
8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Under federal law, federal prosecutors strictly prohibit the sale and possession of marijuana, and so does the great state of Wisconsin.
Known for their cheese, but definitely not their cannabis industry, the good people of Wisconsin are out of luck when it comes to both medical and recreational marijuana. That’s right — Wisconsin doesn’t even have a medical marijuana program in place.
But there is hope. If you’ve ever seen That 70’s Show, you may assume that the people of Wisconsin still partake. And while it is illegal in all aspects, we’re sure that many Wisconsin citizens support legalization.
As of now, the state is a bit incohesive in regard to its cannabis laws. Some local governments have taken action to decriminalize marijuana while others still consider it a felony offense. So, where does Milwaukee fall on that Spectrum?
Milwaukee considers possession of marijuana to be a misdemeanor (with a first offense), punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. That’s definitely one way to kill a stoner’s high.
9. Indianapolis, Indiana
The federal government has yet to legalize marijuana on a federal level, and the same goes for the state of Indiana.
Indianapolis, Indiana still considers marijuana to be one of many controlled substances, meaning that marijuana use isn’t even decriminalized throughout the city or the state — let alone legal for recreational use.
Along with a total lack of true weed culture, Indianapolis, Indiana likely isn’t the dream destination for stoner’s hoping to get high on vacation.
10. Birmingham, Alabama
And finally, we’ve reached the last city on our list, Birmingham, Alabama.
Alabama has a great reputation in the sports community, but not so much in the world of weed. Unfortunately, marijuana is still a ‘black market’ item in Birmingham, and local stoners don’t have the same freedoms for both medical and recreational use that Californians do.
Note that this list isn’t necessarily ranked. If it were, we might consider moving Birmingham to the #1 spot on our list of the worst weed cities. Why?
Because the great state of Alabama carries some of the harshest punishments for marijuana-related offenses. We’re talking about a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.
Given that Birmingham strictly enforces these laws, we don’t have this Alabama state on our bucket list. And with that being said, Alabama doesn’t exist on our list covering which states have the best weed.
But if you don’t live in any of the states mentioned above, you’re in luck! Here are a few California products that we swear by:
Vibes: Elevated, Chill, Happy
Terpenes: Limonene, Linalool, Caryophyllene
Description: We’re going to let you in on an industry secret: ColdFire crafts some of the juiciest, most flavorful vape cartridges in the game. No distillate, no additives, no degradation, ColdFire’s Platinum Lemon Cherry cartridge combines the unique flavors of cookies, caviar, and candy in a potent 1-gram tank that we find ourselves hitting all day.
Vibes: Relaxed, Happy, Chill
Terpenes: Myrcene, Pinene, Ocimene
Description: There’s nothing like the sweet taste of boozy fruit, but we tend to opt out of the hangover and instead reach for a 5-pack of Drunken Strawberries pre-rolls from Paradise Smokes. Hand-rolled cigarette-style and complete with a glass-tip filter, Paradise Smokes pre-rolls completely outdo the competition. But let’s refocus on Drunken Strawberries, in particular. This delicious strain is sure to help even the most high-strung stoner unwind and let loose — without crafting an alcoholic cocktail. With sweet and berry-like flavors woven throughout classic cannabis flower, Drunken Strawberries is an excellent choice for a good time.
Vibes: Relaxed, Chill, Sleepy
Terpenes: Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene
Description: In pursuit of a carefree summer ambiance? This pre-roll is for you. Each puff provides a mellow experience that aims to unwind even the most tightly wound consumers. Packed with live resin diamonds and delicately dusted with kief sourced from West Coast Cure’s finest flower, this joint offers a powerful and flavorsome puff. Each inhale transports you to a realm of tranquil relaxation, as the all-natural terpenes coating the pre-roll elevate the experience to new heights.
1. Which US state has the most dispensaries?
A new report released in 2023 awards Oregon the coveted title of the state with the most cannabis dispensaries per capita. In fact, Oregon has 16.5 dispensaries per 100,000 people.
2. Which city has the most dispensaries in Michigan?
Ann Arbor has the most dispensaries in the entire state of Michigan. Dare we say that it’s the commercial cannabis capital of Michigan?
3. What US state grows the most weed?
As of 2022, Colorado grows the most weed in the United States. A sad statistic for Californians to accept, but true nonetheless.
4. What is the penalty for growing more than 12 plants in Massachusetts?
Violation of Massachusetts’ already fairly lenient home cultivation laws is punishable by a fine of up to $300, and, of course, forfeiture of the home-cultivated cannabis.
5. Where are the biggest weed farms?
Unsurprisingly, California houses the biggest weed farms in the United States. Northern California is home to the Emerald Triangle, a region in Northern California where we source most, if not all, of our cannabis sold on hyperwolf.com. This area is best known for its cannabis cultivation because of the ideal weather conditions and legacy operators cultivate cannabis in this very specific region.
6. Where is the best weed grown in the US?
Bias aside, we grow the best weed right here in the golden state of California. The Emerald Triangle alone sets California cannabis apart from other states. Even better, California allows for cannabis delivery, so if you find yourself searching for weed delivery in Irvine, weed delivery in Orange County, or weed delivery in Riverside, we’ve got you covered.