Aug 062011

weed cityHere are our top five 420-friendly communities in America


By David Jenison of Culture Magazine


Even as the Dutch right-wingers get ready to shut down tourist access to Amsterdam’s famed coffeeshops, many progressive U.S. cities are moving in the opposite direction. Medical marijuana is now commonplace in several major cities, and it didn’t even set off Armageddon (sorry Rev. Camping). While it’s unlikely that Dutch-style coffeeshops will pop up anytime soon, the U.S. certainly has its share of budding cities. Olympia has the Oly 420 Cup, Boston boasts an annual HempFest, Vermont’s got the incredibly awesome Super Troopers movie and the Cannabis Café in Portland might just be the nation’s first smoke-in dispensary. There are countless cities worth mentioning, but with apologies to the East coast, these are CULTURE’s picks for the Top 5 American Amsterdams.


5. Los Angeles

Snoop Dogg. Cypress Hill. Kottonmouth Kings. Afroman. The Chronic. Is there another city on Earth with so many iconic, cannabis-touting music acts? Alanis Morissette might only be an adopted Angeleno, but she is arguably the highest profile female advocate for legalization. It’s even the storyline location for the first three seasons of Weeds. Above all, L.A. County reportedly has the highest concentration of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.


4. Maui, Hawaii

Did you know that Hawaii has the lowest arrest rate per capita for U.S. marijuana offenses? The Aloha State naturally embraces medical marijuana, legalizing it in 2000, and it’s home to the THC Ministry church “where spirit and science meet human needs.” Sure, Maui is not a city, but the whole island deserves credit for its world famous Maui Waui.


3. Fairbanks, Alaska

Ever watch Alaska’s ex-governor and wonder what she’s been smoking? Well, the possibilities are many since the State Supreme Court made two ounces of marijuana legal for in-home use with the Ravin v. State ruling of 1975. Despite legal wrangling since, cannabis users are still generally free to smoke and grow on their personal property. Anchorage is closer to the Matanuska Valley, home of the almighty Alaskan ThunderFuck strain, but Fairbanks is the best city for smokers to watch the Aurora Borealis. And whatever you think of Mama Grizzly, you got to love anyone with a grandson named Tripp.


2. Oakland

San Francisco has Hippie Hill, Eureka claims Humboldt County and Berkeley boasts Green Day, but Oakland got the NorCal nod for its infamous Oaksterdam district. Located in the north end of downtown, the area features several green-friendly cafes, clubs, dispensaries and even a university for training the next generation of medical marijuana professionals. Want to try medicated peanut brittle? This is the place!


1. Denver

You got to love a town that names its basketball team the Nuggets! Still, the capital city takes the pole position for becoming the first U.S. city to legalize marijuana use. That’s right, they voted to legalize all marijuana use, not just medical. State law supersedes local law, but there’s currently a drive to get statewide legalization on next year’s ballot. Likewise, the nearby University of Colorado is Playboy’s reining No. 1 party school. What earned the school such an honor? The magazine credited the first-place ranking to the campus’ annual 420 smoke-outs, which regularly draw up to half of the school’s 24,000 undergrads. Add in the South Park guys, Carmelo Anthony’s pot bust and a thriving jam band scene, and Denver proves it truly is the Mile High City!



One cannabis-unfriendly city to definitely consider keeping at arm’s length is New York City. Why? It’s the marijuana arrest capital of the world, clocking in a stunning 400,000 arrests for minor possession charges between 1997 and 2007. Kurt Russell had it right–escape from New York!

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Kurt

    Boston should be mentioned. 250,000 College kids + Decriminalization = Good Times

    • Michl9696

       Kurt,  How are the prices out there for a lb.?

  • Hamesnoznal

    As i’ve read from Coffeeshop websites, visited the city itself and spoken to the residents there, the possibility of amsterdam coffeshops closing down is not prompt till atleast 2015. Any other people know anything else, i’d like to hear it! :D

    • Hamesnoznal

      Mistake in my writing .. “likely of happening” instead of “prompt”

  • Ted Hightide

    Not one city east of the Mississippi – or even east of Denver? Methinks you guys need to travel more. If Boston doesn’t appear on this list, it means you ain’t been lookin’!

  • jon mckee

    dude you guys are stupid all about westcoast we will always be number one! and yes denver is part of the west.. so yea but seattle should be on their we have had medical for over 10 yrs! one of the firsts so come one!

  • Shelly

    Helloooooo!!!!! Seattle should have been on that list. We are without a doubt one of the most herb friendly cities in the US, if not the world. I live here, I know.

  • bailey

    Sitting here in denver ,at 2a.m ,with my 1/4 of golden goat and qleaner and thankful to live in where I can buy weed easier than a gallon of milk…..
    I have pain and seizures…..mmj has saved my life.
    My hope is to not compete about which cities are best. We should be making noise to get EVERY city to recognize the positive,lucrative,and HELPFUL results people should have the right to choose,or not to use, pubic dispensaries can be for

  • Evergreen Smoker

    i agree with Shelly, Seattle should have been up there… you guys ain’t got shit on our hempfest

  • Ashley

    seattle is no more of a weed friendly city than denver or los angeles. i’ve been to all three and seattle’s not that great. people from seattle always think they’re better than everybody else on the planet and it’s getting pretty fucking annoying. personally, i think denver beats the shit out of seattle. plus it’s a cooler city. wish i could live there.

    • Dez Rowe

      I live in the mountains of colorado and i absolutly love it in my opinion this is the best state to live in it has a litle bit of everything.

      • Louisa Byington

        I am looking to move to a small town in Colorado in the mountains that is pot friendly. I have a medical condition that marijuana helps with. I am looking for cool summers and snowy winters, and I don’t want to have to buy a house at over $150,000. I am looking to simplify my life. Can you give me any ideas on where I should start looking? Kind of looking for a very small town, that I can find a little house or cabin that is private. Very laid-back vibe too.

  • Curt

    I would put Providence, RI. right up there. We don’t have dispensaries, so we can’t walk into a store and but it. RI is a medical state. I have a card. They are very liberal about growing, just stay in the limits. Being a patient I can grow 12 flowering and 12 plants in the veg stage. So because we have no place to buy it legally I have aquired the skills to produce for myself and 2 people I care for.So my weed is basically free. And I learned an excellent skill which I get better at each time around.
    Just my 2 cents.

    • thetackfour

      Hey Curt. I got busted in Newport for poss. in 1969 and was facing 3 years. How times have changed.. I live in Seattle now and we are allowed 15 plants and 24 oz. dried..

  • Bo

    This list is definitely correct. I have lived in Denver my whole life and the marijuana here is not only practically legal, it is the dankest in the world. Anyone who has smoked in the mile “high” city can vouch for this. There is so much dank green everywhere and for so cheap. About a 1/4 the nationwide average. So much support to legalize it that 2012 should mark Colorado the first state. Much love to the 420 supporters of truth out there. As I smoke this ounce blunt, PEACE

    • Coop1ss

      Dude, us denverites are high in altitude, THC content, oh and awesomeness. Keep it stoney!


       Bo,  I have relatives that r square as hell that live in Colorado Springs…I am coming out for a visit and would greatly appreciate meeting you and and having you help me get connected as I am going on my 3rd back surgery and the prices here in NY are crazy.  Wouldn’t mind putting some mega flow in yr pocket for the help.  If you r interested plz email me at…  Thanks bro,  Michael

    • manny navarro

      great i pay 20.00 $ for a gram of hydro

  • Wayward Bill

    Hola from the Mile High City!
    It’s not that the state law supercedes the Denver city ordinance legalizing less than an ounce for adults aged 21+.. It’s the Mayor and law enforcement who are denying the will of the people (53%) who will not enact, “HOME RULE!” (Home rule involves the authority of a local government to prevent state government intervention with its operations. The extent of its power, however, is subject to limitations prescribed by state constitutions and statutes. Colorado has HOME RULE.)
    Nederland and Breckenridge have also legalized recreational weed in Colorful Cannabis Colorado.. Paraphanelia too. They use “HOME RULE” to offset the state’s decrim statutes
    I have read all the posturing and jockeying comments for other cities not listed on your list. If they would have paid attention to the opening paragraph many got an honorable mention and the right coast got an apology. Maybe you should have done 10 cities instead of 5.
    Peace, Pot, Politics,
    Wayward Bill Chengelis
    President, US Marijuana Party
    Chairman, US Marijuana Party of Colorado

  • Marco Ciolli

    the Big Apple is NOT as rotten as one may think, as people smoke fearlessly on the steets and when one could smoke in movie theaters it was a haven for your nostrils: one could get high by just sitting next to smeone who was smoking!!!

    • johnny1

      In NY you can get any drug you want 24/7

      the chances of getting busted for minor possession of weed is directly related to the
      color of your skin i.e. racial profiling

      safe? if your white

      • SmokksHontass

        I don’t know if it is solely racial profiling. I once got caught in the stairway of my building smoking a blunt and drinking some Jack Daniels while doing a crossword puzzle under a “No Trespassing” and “No Loitering” sign. Two officers came in, asked me a few questions, asked for my I.D., which I told them was in my apartment and offered to get. They told me it wasn’t necessary and to be careful and hurry up with my little “party” before the next patrol came through. I am Black, but I’m also a female. I know for a fact that had it been a Black male, he would have been either shot, (he startled the officers sitting in the stairway) arrested, (he is trespassing, loitering, possessing an illegal substance and has an open container) or at the very least, given a summons, (his “party” would have cost him an additional $50 – $75).

      • Hank Peace

        What you say is consistent with what I have observed in NYC. Once I was walking down some street. A black dude standing on a corner sold me a dime and almost immediately undercover cops jumped on him as if he was a murderer. They ignored me and I walked away with the dime as if nothing had happened.

  • 1800Tequila

    Berkeley virtually legalized weed in the 80s by banning police from using any resources to police it. But i guess it just gets lumped in with oakland.

  • Craighange

    215 all day

  • Coop1ss

    Denver is where it’s at! Cops here are mandated to go after PARKING violations BEFORE they can peruse weed leads!


    However, there are roughly 13 million people there, so that statistic is not as harsh as you may think.  Moreover, New York was the very first state to decriminalize 25 grams or under. I hate people who only pick out the stats that sound huge, but do not know how to interpret them!  Or tell the whole story concerning New York’s decriminalization!

  • manny navarro

    i would be careful in fla. they are not friendly here. they will arrest for a roach.

  • thetackfour

    I would add Seattle and Portland, Maine.. Both have medical marijuana laws and Maine does recognize other states mmj cards; although you can’t buy as an out-of- stater you won’t get arrested there either.

    • bryan

      Portland Maine WOOT WOOT my hometown :D

  • Paul

    why the f*ck isn’t Eureka on here?

  • Ganjaman

    I think it’s just my area, and the fact that I am an innocent looking white male, but it seems here in palm beach Florida its pretty easy to smoke wherever you want without people caring. The actual palm beach beach is where million and billionaires live and I roll and smoke joints on that beach all the time. I have a feeling people would be more angry if I was poor, dirty, or a minority than if smoke a joint. People will sometimes watch me roll up and light up and give a look of “ha, that guys smoking weed” but never even a second glance. Just don’t act like a hoodlum and you’re fine. Plus our shit is all hydro homegrown chronic shiot.

  • Benjamin Hargy

    I’m insulted… Burlington, Vermont isn’t up here!

  • StonerBoner

    I’ve traveled across the country buying different strains of marijuana and smoking it and I believe that the top three states are 1.California 2.Florida 3.Michigan. Michigan surprisingly has some of the best strains of weed out there. Believe me or not I don’t care. I’m getting high regardless.

  • Coldsmoker

    Im from Fairbanks the Cops are NAZI’s when it comes to any thing pot related sure you wont do time for it but they will come into you’re home rip out all you’re plants confiscate every thing related to growing and make you hire a high priced Lawyer to get any thing back (wich take 13-22 month from what i have discovered) now once you finaly make it to court the charges will be dismissed but by then you’re name will be drug all over the papper every one knows “you’re the pot grower” hell you will get you’re picture taken you will get you’re finger printed. But i will say this the Pot growers up there(mostly the older growers) know there shit theres a reason why Northern lights no5 Matnuska thunderfuck(what Alaskans call it) and Blueberry came from here and the fact that 95% of all growing in Alaska has been done indoors They know there Shit. But COPS IN FAIRBANKS SUCK and im friends with a few

    • bryan

      the cops suck because they enforce the law?
      I fully support the legalization of pot but I would never fault the police for doing their job.

  • Coldsmoker

    Ohh BTW Alaska was the first to Legalize MMJ and they have more people Locked up per capita than all of the US dont be fooled the People in Alaska are Pot Friendly, the State of Alaska and the Police ARE NOT

  • John Ries

    do you know where i can wright and have some samples sent to me?

  • WTF

    I am here in nw florida and I am moving to sw florida maybe around punta gorda or further south. truthfully, I have a camper van and just looking for a more open minded and relaxing area to spend some time. so saying that I will be new to the area and looking for someone with some knowledge on the friendliest 420 area to stay and meet some good people.

    • bryan

      immediatly leave florida and move to
      mass, maine, colorado or washington
      under 20 grams (.7 ounces) is a misdemeanor and over that amount is an instant felony.

  • rjcosmos

    Seattle? Anywhere in Washington state?

  • Skadi-RaRa

    kind of insane Humboldt County Ca isn’t on the list – way more friendly than LA…

  • Adam Scratch Harris

    I really think Seattle, WA should be in the top 2. First its home of Hempfest, Second it was also with Colorado in being the first states to legalize Weed only within an hour right? I know for a fact weed on the streets of seattle is everyday life nobody really makes it a big deal unless your smokin to close to someone or a doorway your usualy asked to just move away a bit. I do suggest not buying weed from people on the streets yes it looks very good and it is very good but they sell the tinyest bags. so just bring your own weed! Surrounding areas of Seattle including the peninsulla are some of the most stoner weed friendly places you can find very easy to find some fantastic bud at damn good prices, exceppt down in the streets of seattle haha

  • SEtoker

    I moved from the West Coast states to the South East area for work a decade ago. Now I am stuck here and I hate this swamp asz state. Humidity, bugs, inbred racists and felony possession for anything – even trace amounts. How I envy those that have easy access. The chances of cannabis ever being legalized here are about the same as a snowballs chance in heII. Stupidity reigns supreme in the SE.

  • 420Master

    Oakland is number 2, i’m so proud of my city!! :)

  • joe voll

    Wheres Berkeley, Seattle and Boulder? that should be on the list.

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  • Demitri

    Having a Southern California city is quite stupid, and having Oakland in stead of San Francisco is also stupid, so overall a quite stupid list