Denver, CO

Denver drops from top pot spot amid statewide cannabis slump

Matt Whittaker
Plants grown in a Denver-area grow house tended by licensed medicinal marijuana caregivers.Photo byColeen Danger via Flickr

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The Mile High City slipped to No. 2 in an annual ranking of the best cities in the United States for marijuana, falling behind Portland, Oregon, adding insult to injury in a state that saw its cannabis sales slip roughly 20% last year.

The ranking comes from Clever Real Estate’s Real Estate Witch, which used data from Leafly, the U.S. government, Google Trends, Price of Weed, and Yelp to measure cities according to a host of criteria, including legality, number of dispensaries and cannabis-prescribing doctors, weed prices, and public perception.

While Denver ranked above average in nearly all of the metrics, the site said it was “simply outperformed” by Portland.

“Although Oregon was three years behind Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana, Portland has surpassed Denver, last year’s No. 1 city, as the best place for stoners to live in 2023,” the real estate website said.

According to the report, Portland has 13.7 dispensaries per 100,000 residents, while Denver has 11.5. The average price for mid-quality weed in the Oregon city was $187 compared with Denver’s $210.

Portland also edged out Denver for stoners with the munchies, with 11.2 Taco Bells per 100,000 residents. The Mile High City has just 11.

“I can see why it might be second simply because of the altitude,” said David Downs, senior content manager at Leafly, a cannabis education website and marketplace. “It’s really dry, and cannabis is an agricultural product that needs to stay adequately hydrated. Portland’s flower might be a tad more fresh, but Denver has excelled in the extract base.”

Buffalo, New York; Seattle, Washington; and Baltimore, Maryland, rounded out the top five in the ranking.

The lower rank for Denver comes as Colorado’s marijuana industry in general has been in a slump.

Statewide marijuana sales last year fell roughly 20% by dollar value to about $1.8 billion from 2021’s record high of more than $2.2 billion.

Colorado’s pot sales woes come as legislation limits medical purchases, inflation eats into personal spending, the illegal market offers competition, and more states legalize pot, reducing marijuana tourism to the Centennial State.

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

Lakewood, CO

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