15 Best Places to Live if You Love Cannabis
By Taylor Engle
Cannabis has been utilized by humankind for several centuries, but although many cultures and communities throughout time have reaped a host of benefits from the plant, it remains illegal in much of the world. However, the list of places around the world where you can safely and thoroughly enjoy weed increases each year.
When fantasizing about your next vacation or thinking about moving somewhere new, it’s important to note where weed is most welcome, especially if you indulge on a regular basis.
Weed has a fair amount of gray area around the globe when it comes to legality, but even in places where views on cannabis are still somewhat divided, there are plenty of cultural havens to immerse yourself in that honor and uphold everyone’s favorite plant.
In no particular order, here are 15 destinations in the U.S. and around the world where cannabis is cultivated, celebrated, and a thriving part of culture.
Starting off in the United States, California is definitely a given in cannabis-friendly locations around the world – if you don’t mind year-round fire seasons, astronomical living costs, and hellish traffic.
As the first state in the U.S. to legalize medical cannabis back in 1996, California has long been known as a haven for cannabis connoisseurs and THC lovers. Today, cannabis is legal on a recreational and medical level, and cannabis culture is both normalized and celebrated throughout the state.
California is also home to many cannabis brands like LEUNE, Cookies, Stiiizy, and many more. Many of these brands are built around the idea of California cannabis culture – a lifestyle that is easily recognizable to anyone who lives in or visits the Golden State.
Like California, Oregon is another state in the U.S. that is known for its positive attitude towards cannabis consumption. With both adult-use and medical cannabis legalized in the state since 2014, cannabis culture has continued to thrive in Oregon over the past seven years.
You can find cannabis pretty much anywhere in the state, but Portland is definitely a hotspot for dedicated enthusiasts. The city has 132 dispensaries and 32 headshops.
This high availability of quality cannabis combined with the constant cultivation, production, and innovation makes for the perfect place to get your smoke on, whether you’re a resident or just passing through.
Another titan of the legal cannabis industry in the United States is Colorado, where the plant has been legal on both a medical and recreational level since 2012.
Colorado has slowly but surely become a place where cannabis technology culture thrives, with companies like Wurk, Vangst, and Baker Technologies using the state as their home base. If you’re interested in working in the cannabis industry, specifically from a technological and/or recruitment stance, Colorado might be the place for you.
For consumers specifically, the city of Boulder is gaining prominence as a hub for all things weed. The city’s cannabis tax revenue has also helped Boulder increase its funding for public education, community services, and other amenities throughout the state.
And if you just want to visit, Denver has a vibrant cannabis tourism scene.
If you’re interested in the Pacific Northwestern region of the United States, Washington state is the perfect place to travel to for high-quality, locally-grown cannabis.
Recreational and medical cannabis have been legal in the state since 2012, and Washington’s weed industry is certainly something to write home about.
The state collected about $464.9 million in cannabis-related taxes during the 2020 fiscal year, and that’s keeping in mind the fact that the state limits the number of licenses they can offer per year – but this has never held Washington cannabis lovers back.
A 2019 study revealed that, despite these limitations, consumers in the Puget Sound area alone make up for the highest cannabis use per capita in the world – even beating Amsterdam!
Washington is also attempting to follow in most other legal adult-use states’ footsteps. The state government has recently introduced Bill HB 1019, which, if passed, will allow residents to cultivate plants at home. The legislation will permit any resident of Washington over the age of 21 to grow up to six plants per household – definitely something to consider if you’re planning to make a move to the PNW!
Alaska was the third state in the United States to legalize adult-use cannabis back in 2014, and unlike most other states, Alaska doesn’t have any laws regarding specific purchasing limits on the plant – although the possession limit is capped at one ounce (four ounces if you keep it in your residence).
Public consumption is illegal in Alaska, as with every other legal state, but as of 2019, dispensaries are able to apply for a permit that allows for onsite consumption in designated areas.
Anchorage is the city that cannabis connoisseurs are most likely to flock to: whether you’re looking for a dispensary or a job as a budtender, cultivator, or manufacturer, you’ll find plenty of opportunity in this freezing cold, weed-friendly city.
The Aloha State is often characterized for its laid back, vacation-year-round-like nature, so it should come as no surprise that Hawaii is also quite friendly to cannabis consumers, even though recreational cannabis is still technically illegal.
Medical cannabis has been legal since 2000, and possession of three grams or less of recreational cannabis is decriminalized, with many believing that full legalization is on the way.
Despite these technicalities, Hawaii is the birthplace of the notorious strain Maui Waui and continues to have a strong foothold in cannabis culture – it even has a THC Ministry Church on the island of Maui.
As of 2016, recreational and medical cannabis are both legalized in the state of Massachusetts, and the state has definitely come far when it comes to immersing itself in cannabis culture.
Residents of Massachusetts are legally allowed to have up to a full ounce of cannabis on their person outside of their home, and may also cultivate up to six plants per household without issue.
Dispensaries are growing in popularity since the rise of the legal market, and even more so since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Like most dispensaries nationwide, Massachusetts locations have turned more to curbside pickup and home delivery, which has significantly boosted their sales.
Additionally, Boston is quickly gaining attention as one of the most weed-friendly cities in the nation. Home to the Boston Freedom Rally, an annual organized congregation of pro-cannabis advocates that was first introduced to the state in 1989, Boston is a great place to enjoy live music (when there is no pandemic), gain exposure to weed vendors, and experience some of the best cannabis in the country.
Although the United States is home to some of the best weed cities in the world, few locations compare to Canada, where cannabis has been legal on a federal level since 2018 under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
This landmark legislation named Canada the second nation in the world to legalize the plant federally, right behind Uruguay. The laws differ slightly depending on which region of Canada you’re residing in or visiting, but British Columbia’s Vancouver is one of the most notable cities in the country when it comes to weed.
With cannabis lounges, tours, and a plethora of elite dispensaries, this city provides residents and tourists alike with easy access to everyone’s favorite plant.
Europe is another corner of the world that has a fair amount of respect for cannabis. Cannabis is somewhat legal in Spain, although the laws are complicated concerning the plant.
It’s illegal to sell cannabis in Spain – if you’re caught, you can serve up to three years in jail, as well as getting hit with a fine. That being said, it’s legal to smoke or cultivate cannabis on your own for personal use. As long as your cultivation and/or consumption takes place on private property (and is not in public view), it’s completely okay.
It’s also legal to buy and sell hemp products or cannabis seeds. Additionally, Spain is home to about 700 cannabis clubs, where consumers are allowed to indulge onsite. However, cannabis clubs are only open to accepted members, who must be 21 and older and residents of Spain, so if you’re just passing through, you’ll be out of luck.
#10) The Netherlands
Perhaps one of the most well-known travel destinations for cannabis lovers is The Netherlands – more specifically, Amsterdam.
Although cannabis is still technically illegal in The Netherlands, it’s been decriminalized for personal use, allowing citizens to possess up to five grams of weed and grow up to five plants.
Furthermore, Dutch citizens are able to order a side of cannabis with their morning cup of coffee. You may have heard of Amsterdam’s famous cannabis cafes, little havens throughout the city where residents can sit down and order some cannabis – but no more than five grams at a time, and they are not permitted to light up outside of the coffee shop. Although this is technically illegal as well, law enforcers have essentially agreed to turn a blind eye as long as no hard drugs are sold, and as long as no sales are made to minors (anyone under the age of 18).
It should be noted that Amsterdam is currently considering a ban on tourist cannabis purchases, meaning only residents would be able to indulge in the city’s coffee shops.
In 2013, the country of Uruguay became the first nation in the entire world to legalize the plant on a federal level.
However, there are still a fair amount of restrictions in regards to the plant. Cannabis is available to residents who are 18 and over and must be purchased at one of the country’s government-run pharmacies.
Residents are permitted to purchase up to 40 grams (about 1.4 ounces) per month, or 10 grams per week. Residents can also cultivate up to six plants on private property.
Additionally, it is illegal to consume cannabis in public areas, and any form of advertisement or promotion is strictly prohibited.
Finally, if you’re thinking of traveling to Uruguay to toke up, you may want to reconsider. Cannabis access is only legal to citizens of Uruguay, so unless you’re trying to find a new home (or at least have some Uruguayan friends who can hook you up), you’ll be out of luck.
Although cannabis is illegal in Switzerland, the country permits the production and sale of cannabis products that contain less than 1% of THC – a.k.a., most CBD products and technologies.
The city of Zurich is slowly becoming an industry leader in CBD. Zurich is home to Cannatrade, the annual cannabis trade fair that features a variety of CBD products and their benefits.
And much like Spain, Switzerland is home to many CBD coffee shops, where residents can purchase CBD drinks and/or other products, and consume on site.
It should come as no surprise that the birthplace of Bob Marley is known for its cannabis-friendly vibe. The Caribbean island country has a thriving cannabis culture, despite the fact that the plant is still technically illegal for recreational use.
However, possessing small amounts of cannabis was decriminalized in 2015, and the country is quite generous with their definition of “small amounts.” If you’re caught with up to two ounces (56 grams) of weed, you’ll pay a whopping…$5 fine.
The decriminalization amendment also allows residents to cultivate up to five plants per household, and Rastafarians are permitted to use cannabis for religious and sacramental purposes. This in itself is groundbreaking, as Jamaica is the first country to officially legalize cannabis for religious use.
The country is friendly to tourists as well – as long as you have medical marijuana permission from your home country and doctor. And if not, you’re likely to come across a Rastafarian or two discreetly selling the plant on the country’s beautiful beaches.
Although cannabis isn’t technically legal in Portugal, the country decriminalized all drugs back in 2001, making it the first country to take the sort of approach to addiction and drug abuse that Oregon recently has. Portugal treats drug abuse as a public health issue that requires rehabilitation rather than a criminal issue that can be solved by locking someone up, and the results have been nothing but positive.
Residents are permitted to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis without getting in trouble, but growing and selling the plant remains illegal. However, major cities like Lisbon have become increasingly friendly towards cannabis use in recent years – smoking weed in Lisbon is relatively normalized and easy to access for consumers.
Recreational cannabis is still illegal on a federal level in Australia, but 2020 brought forth some interesting amendments and allowances for the plant, specifically in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Residents over the age of 18 living in the ACT are permitted to possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis, or 150 grams of fresh cannabis. Additionally, residents can grow up to two cannabis plants per person within a household, and no more than four plants per household.
It remains illegal to sell, share, or “gift” cannabis to another person, and as most places in the world, it’s illegal to light up in public.
Although the plant is prohibited in New South Wales, the region’s city Nimbin has been known as a cannabis haven for years. The self-proclaimed cannabis capital of Australia, traveling to Nimbin is like transporting back in time to the 1960s – it’s a tie-dyed utopia for cannabis lovers and hippies alike. However, NSW police have recently been cracking down on Nimbin’s free-spirited atmosphere, so be cautious if you’re planning a trip down under.