In the last decade, the number of 420-friendly states has increased exponentially, and now, weed-loving travelers have their pick of states where recreational marijuana use is both legal and highly celebrated. With sixteen 420 friendly states (and more added each election cycle), smokers and travelers alike can rejoice knowing that marijuana tourism is alive and well in 2023.
What does that mean for you? Well, access to a plethora recreational dispensaries, cannabis cafes, weed clubs, weed-friendly resorts, and 420 events, to start.
Each 420 friendly state in this list has its own pot-smoking culture, from the outdoor enthusiasts of Colorado to the night owls of New York City. Here’s our breakdown of the top ten 420 friendly states in the US.
California: the first state to legalize medical marijuana
When it comes to recreational weed legalization and use, California hits the top our list. California was far ahead of the curve with its initial legalization of medical marijuana use back in 1996. Now, the Golden State continues to be a trendsetter as the largest cannabis market in the nation.
In 2017, the state combined features of their medical regulation framework with a framework for legal adult use. Since then, the legal pot industry has flourished into a model for other states to follow, with hopes to introduce a plan for legal consumption sites and venues. By becoming the first state to factor in consumption sites, California would solve a problem that plagues virtually every 420 friendly state in the US: cannabis travelers are able to buy weed, but struggle to find a legal location to consume it.
Colorado: the first state to legalize recreational weed
In terms of weed legalization trailblazers (pun intended), Colorado is right up there with California. This 420 friendly state was the first to legalize recreational marijuana use and has developed a reputation as a stoner’s paradise. Frankly, there’s not much better than a day spent exploring Colorado’s famous national parks, followed by a show at Red Rocks — all the while enjoying some of the world’s finest bud.
Due to the increasing demand for consumption spaces, there are now 420 friendly hotels and rentals as well as private membership “cannabis clubs” that offer single or multi-day memberships. With the price of an ounce coming in at just over $242, smokers will be able to stretch their dollar while exploring the natural wonders of this marijuana-friendly state. Like most of the 420 friendly states on this list, out of state travelers can purchase roughly one ounce at a time.
Illinois: a playground of dispensaries
Illinois is home to the Windy City and one of the nation’s Great Lakes. Tourists have long ventured to Chicago for its architecture, deep dish pizza, and urban charm. Now, this 420-friendly state has become a hotbed for stoner explorers. The Land of Lincoln first legalized cannabis for medical use in 2014, with recreational marijuana use passing in 2019. Chicago’s metropolitan area rivals New York for its culture, hustle and bustle feel, and general lively atmosphere. And now, with the addition of legal weed, nothing is holding this city back. With an excellent selection of dispensaries and world-class edibles like chef Mindy Segal’s groundbreaking artisanal edibles, Illinois is poised to take over as one of the nation’s most 420-friendly states.
Nevada: home to some of the coolest 420 conventions in the world
Nevada is known to many for one thing and one thing only: Las Vegas. But the state possesses a breathtaking desert and mountainous landscape that rival that of any state in the Western United States. Whether you’re visiting one of the luckiest cities in the world or tramping around the desert, you can enjoy a fine selection of cannabis for roughly $270 per ounce.
Oregon: one of the most affordable places to get high
Oregon has a striking coastline and an innate beauty that can be fully appreciated with the help and influence of superb weed. The Beaver State first legalized medical marijuana use in 1998 and later legalized recreational marijuana use in 2014. Visitors to Portland will find a variety of dispensaries, cannabis spas, and chic party bus cannabis tours. With the average cost of an ounce coming in at $210.50, cannabis tourism in in this special state will likely continue to rise.
Washington: crawling with cannabis tours
The last piece of the West Coast puzzle, Washington, has long served as a mecca for the progressive schools of thought. So, it only makes sense that it is a safe haven for cannabis users as well. The state legalized medical marijuana use in 1998, with recreational use following in 2012. While the consumption of cannabis in dispensaries and lounges is not allowed, the state is crawling with Cannabis tour operators and weed-friendly lodges, hotels, and Airbnb’s. An ounce of weed in Washington goes for $232.79.
Alaska: the most unique pot tourism destination on the planet
Alaska is quite literally the final frontier, where the edge of the civilized world meets a great untamed wilderness. There are few places on the planet that rival its remote and wild landscape, but you don’t have to be stuck in the wilderness to enjoy this 420-friendly state’s best bud. In Anchorage, high-end and low-cost options are readily available for willing consumers. Alaska legalized recreational marijuana use in 2014 and has since become perhaps the most unique pot tourism destination on the planet. Where else can you get high and go whale watching? The average ounce costs roughly $297.71, but it’s a small price to pay when you’re in such a stunning state.
Massachusetts: light up and stroll Boston’s historic streets
Medical marijuana use has been legal in Massachusetts since 2012, and in 2016, recreational marijuana use went into full effect. Out of state visitors over 21 in Massachusetts can purchase up to 1 ounce of weed at a time. So, get light up and stroll Boston’s historic streets, or find a quiet town on the coast to ride out your high. In true east coast fashion, an ounce of weed in Massachusetts costs a steep $339.47.
Michigan: insanely favorable tax rates for pot-related businesses
The Great White North is looking extra hazy these days because Michigan voters legalized the use of recreational marijuana in 2018. Michigan has set a trend in the Midwest (it’s one of the most progressive states when it comes to Marijuana legalization and taxation), and has the most favorable tax rates for pot-related businesses on this list. The result? Tons of cannabis tourism and the widespread development of dispensaries all over the state. Find a weed-friendly hotel on the shores of Lake Superior and watch the waves come in. An ounce of weed in Michigan will run you about $289.37.
New York: the 16th 420 friendly state in the US
The Empire State is the latest domino to fall in our path towards federal legalized recreational Marijuana use. On March 31, 2021, New York became the 16th 420 friendly state with its passage of legalized recreational marijuana use. “The bill allows for individuals 21 and older to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate outside the home. It also allows for individuals to grow up to six plants in their homes—three mature plants and three immature plants—with a cap of six mature plants and six immature plants per household.” While it is too early to tell exactly what’s in store for weed tourism in New York, big things are likely to follow. The state already has an extensive network of medical dispensaries. Currently, an ounce of weed in New York will cost you $339.49.