Recreational marijuana has seen exponential growth and acceptance since Colorado first passed Colorado Amendment 64 nearly a decade ago, legalizing recreational use for adults 21 and over. Since that big day, other states have followed suit, falling like dominos in their efforts to legalize and commercialize recreational marijuana use. Today, over 36 states have legalized weed in some form, either for recreational or medical use.
The first dispensary, San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, popped up in San Francisco in 1992 despite weed still being illegal at the time. Today, dispensaries are now totally commonplace in legalized states. There are medical dispensaries, chain dispensaries, mom-and-pop shops, Black-owned dispensaries, woman-owned dispensaries…the list goes on and on. While they each have different spin, the one thing these dispensaries have in common is that they all serve quality bud and THC products.
Recreational Dispensaries in the US
Recreational Dispensaries in Alaska
Alaska was the first state to legalize cannabis use of any kind back in 1975 in the court ruling Ravin v. State; however, marijuana was later recriminalized in 1990. Finally, in 2015, recreational marijuana use became legal for once and for all. Alaska made history as the first state to license on-site marijuana consumption at dispensaries, and today, Alaskan citizens and visitors age 21 years and older may possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana at one time. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Alaska:
Cannabaska, located in Anchorage, seeks to “set the ‘God Standard’ in the Cannabis industry by providing the finest flower, concentrates, edibles, and overall customer experiences the Alaskan marketplace has to offer.” In addition to premier cannabis products, Cannabaska also sells the best available smoking essentials and accessories, all of which are provided with top-tier customer service.
Alaska Cannabis Co’s mission “is to help you soar high above Alaska by delivering you the highest quality cannabis at a down-to-earth price.” They approach cannabis cultivation holistically and view the creation of cannabis product as an artisan craft. By hand trimming and slow curing their flower after harvesting it at peak ripeness, Alaska Cannabis Co. can guarantee the highest quality possible.
Alaska Green Light District in Anchorage, Alaska, serves the Alaskan capital premium bud and top-shelf marijuana products out of their upscale location. With the highest rating of Anchorage area recreational dispensaries on both Weed Maps and Google, it’s clear that Alaskans and travelers alike trust Alaska Green Light District with all their weed needs.
Recreational Dispensaries in Arizona
Medical marijuana use was first legalized in Arizona in 1996 in a ruling that allowed terminally and seriously ill patients the ability to purchase marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. In 2010, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Question passed, which revised the previous law to include modern standards. In 2020, Arizona voted in favor of the Smart and Safe Act, which legalized the use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older. Adults in Arizona can now possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Arizona:
Arizona Natural Selections in Scottsdale, Arizona, has created a professional, healthcare-driven dispensary. Natural Selections employs a team of expert horticulturalists to grow the highest quality medical cannabis possible. Additionally, the team at Natural Selections educates their guests on cannabis’ many beneficial properties.
MÜV Dispensary in Phoenix, Arizona, believes wholly in the healing power of cannabis and its compounds. They believe that cannabis has the potential to improve the quality of life of those who use it and it is their mission “to not only produce but source and provide the best medical and recreational marijuana products for Arizonans.”
Greenhouse of Flagstaff has been voted “Best of Flagstaff” in 2017, 2019, and 2020. Greenhouse is dedicated to providing safe and affordable access to cannabis for those who need it. Additionally, they supply only the cleanest, highest quality cannabis available. “Greenhouse is a local grower/owner-operated marijuana company located in the heart of Flagstaff delivering small-batch, craft cannabis.”
Recreational Dispensaries in California
California first legalized the use of medical marijuana in 1996. Now, the state has emerged as the largest cannabis market in the nation. With the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (enacted in June of 2017), the state combined features of their previous 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 plans to introduce a framework for legal consumption sites and venues around the state. In California, it’s legal for adults 21 and over to purchase and possess approximately one ounce of cannabis or eight grams of concentrate. Additionally, adults may possess up to six cannabis plants within their private residence. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in California:
Bloom Room is San Francisco’s premier medical and recreational cannabis dispensary, offering a wide selection of high-quality cannabis with outstanding service. The Bloom Room believes that “life is better with cannabis” and that “the intentions and efforts that go into the cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, and sale of cannabis ultimately affects the experience of the person consuming it.”
Firehaus offers customers a variety of cannabis-related products that have all been sampled and tested by the staff. They offer deals on a different category of cannabis each day. Additionally, they provide specials for seniors, students, and veterans. High-quality cannabis and cannabis products for a down-to-earth price.
As the first equity-owned dispensary in the world, Blunts and More‘s goal is to put a smile on your face as soon as you walk through the door. This Black-owned Oakland dispensary serves the Bay Area’s largest selection of premium cannabis and cannabis products.
Recreational Dispensaries in Colorado
In 2012, Colorado made a splash with its vote to legalize recreational marijuana use under Colorado Amendment 64. That splash turned into a wave of legalizations (both medical and recreational) across the country, which helped reduce the stigma around marijuana use and sparked a widespread push for decriminalization. Today, the state enjoys a healthy cannabis culture with multiple dispensaries in nearly every town and city. In Colorado, persons 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants, three of which can be in the flowering stage in an enclosed, locked space. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Colorado:
Widely considered one of the best dispensaries in Denver, Simply Pure Denver strives to share their love for cannabis with tourists and locals. By sharing both their expertise and knowledge, Simply Pure educates newcomers and lifetime marijuana users alike on safe, sustainable, and beneficial consumption practices. As a Black and woman-owned dispensary, Simply Pure is paving the way for a more diverse cannabis marketplace.
Kind Love Dispensary in Glendale, Colorado, stays true to its name with their impeccable customer service. Kind Love offers customers the absolute best cannabis available in Colorado, from their connoisseur flower to their vast selection of high-end concentrates and edibles. A true one-stop-shop for premium cannabis products.
Verde Natural in Boulder, Colorado offers customers organically fed, slow cured, and hand-trimmed bud for a complete cannabis experience. Verde Natural began their journey in California, but have since moved to the Denver area where they perfected their indoor growing technique. Their indoor soil growing system mimics the plant’s original, natural ecosystem to bring out the natural flavor profile of each strain and maximize potency.
Recreational Dispensaries in Illinois
In the Land of Lincoln, users can finally enjoy both medical and recreational bud. Illinois Cannabis Control Act of 1978 technically legalized the use of medical marijuana, but the law never went into effect because the Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Police never crafted regulations. In 2013, Illinois passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes. In 2016, Illinois decriminalized possession, meaning those caught with 10 grams or less would face a $100 to $200 fine in place of jail time. Finally, through the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act in 2019, Illinois became the first state to legalize marijuana through legislation rather than a referendum. Medical patients and caregivers in Illinois can possess up to 2.5 ounces at one time, while recreational users may purchase approximately one ounce of cannabis at a time. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Illinois:
Dispensary 33 made history as the first medical cannabis dispensary to open in Chicago in December 2015. In 2017, Dispensary 33 put on Chicago’s first 4/20 festival, Waldo’s Forever Fest, as a celebration of cannabis and community. Since then, the festival has grown to enormous proportions. Now, Dispensary 33 serves both medical and recreational users with the state’s finest cannabis and cannabis products.
Nature’s Care Co. has dispensaries conveniently located in Rolling Meadows and the West Loop of Chicago. They provide a full range of high-quality cannabis products. Their care specialists offer one-on-one personal service to buyers that ensure easy, safe, and private cannabis consumption and sales.
Modern Cannabis, aka MOCA, is a Chicago-based dispensary with locations in Logan Square and River North. The Logan Square location was one of Chicago’s first legal cannabis dispensaries. They opened their doors to medicinal users in 2016. Today, Logan Square continues to serve medicinal users while also providing premium cannabis and cannabis products to recreational users. River North serves only recreational users.
Recreational Dispensaries in Maine
In 1999, Maine legalized medical marijuana use. Later in 2009, voters expanded the program and decriminalized possession of up to 2.5 ounces under the Maine Medical Marijuana Act. In 2016, voters passed An Act to Legalize Marijuana, which allowed adults 21 and older to possess, consume, and cultivate marijuana for personal use. Recreational and medical users can possess up to 2.5 ounces at a time. Medical users can cultivate up to six plants, while the number is limited to three for recreational users. In October 2020, after four long years, the state officially launched retail sales, and in 2023, the state legislator hopes to resume discussion on Marijuana Social Clubs. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Maine:
Founded in 2015 by a Maine-based husband and wife team, Sweet Dirt has some of the cleanest, high-quality cannabis on the east coast. The team has carefully curated over 100 unique, potent strains of flower, topicals, edibles, and more— all of which can be found at their two storefronts in Portland and Waterville, Maine.
HI-LO is a family-owned and operated dispensary located right in Portland. No need to worry about weed snobs here: HI-LO is low-key, authentic, personable, and geared toward everyone: whether it’s your first time or you’re a pro.
With four locations—two recreational, two medical—and a well-established rep for being industry trailblazers, it’s no surprise that Wellness Connection made this list. Wellness prides itself on its activism, and since their start in 2011, they have continually “advocated for access, quality, and transparency via advancing science and improving public policies.” The Budtenders at each location are highly trained and super passionate experts who care and partner with you to find the Maine-grown cannabis that fits your needs—and that’s within your means.
Recreational Dispensaries in Massachusetts
In 2012, voters approved the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative, which established the Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program. In 2016, the state passed Question 4, which legalized cannabis use for adults 21 and older and created the Cannabis Control Commission. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Massachusetts:
Theory Wellness is made up of a team of scientists, farmers, activists, and educators who are collectively working to raise cannabis industry standards. They offer a first-class retail experience with expertly trained staff and a holistic approach to cannabis. Theory Wellness serves award-winning, hand-trimmed flowers focused on unique genetics, slow curing, and small batches.
Berkshire Roots is one of Massachusetts’ premier cannabis cultivation and dispensary operators. They provide craft-grown cannabis from Berkshire County, which has the highest elevation in the state. Strict quality control and lab testing ensure that each patient and customer receives a high-quality product. As a Black-owned business in a predominately white field, Berkshire Roots is committed to using their voice to end racial injustice within the community and at the national level through its diversity training, hiring practices, and donations to related organizations.
As Boston’s first recreational cannabis dispensary, Pure Oasis offers a user-friendly experience with an expert staff and high-quality cannabis products. This Black-owned dispensary sells a quality selection of flower, pre-rolled joints, concentrates, and edibles. It is known for its tasty chocolates and gummies, as well as its excellent customer service.
Recreational Dispensaries in Michigan
In 2008, Michigan voters took to the polls and approved the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative, or the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. This measure allowed the use of Medical Marijuana for “seriously ill patients.” Then, in 2018, Michigan passed the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, allowing the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years and older. Medical marijuana patients can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis per day, but cannot exceed 10 ounces a month. Recreational adult users can also purchase 2.5 ounces a day, but no more than 15 grams in the form of concentrates. Adults may cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants and possess the harvest of those plants, up to 10 ounces in their home. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Michigan:
Bloom Cannabis Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, provides customers with the highest quality medical cannabis available in the state. Bloom Cannabis Club prides itself on its fantastic customer service that stems from a passion for “improving the quality of life for our patients while educating the greater community about our offerings for viable and safe therapies for a multitude of medical conditions.”
New Standard Hazel Park is more than a recreational cannabis dispensary; New Standard aims to create a completely curated cannabis experience. New Standard blends a high-end retail experience with the relaxed vibes often associated with cannabis consumption to create a unique culture. They provide a one-of-a-kind weed buying experience that is suited to newcomers and lifetime users alike.
Herbology in River Rouge, Michigan, has a simple mission: “to ensure each patient and user has the best quality cannabis product. From flower, carts, edibles, and even topicals, Herbology Cannabis Co. makes sure to only stock the best cannabis products.” Herbology’s products and diverse menu speak for themselves.
Recreational Dispensaries in Nevada
While the rest of Nevada tends to be overlooked in favor of the bright lights of Las Vegas, the state boasts a healthy cannabis culture that complements the often-ignored rugged natural landscape. Is weed legal in Nevada? You bet. Medical marijuana has been legal since 2000, and recreational marijuana use has been legal since January 1, 2017. In Nevada, patients, caregivers, and adults 21 years and older can purchase up to one ounce of cannabis or cannabis products at a time. If, and only if, adults live more than 25 miles from a state-licensed dispensary, they can grow marijuana at the rate of six plants per person and 12 per household. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Nevada:
Deep Roots has several locations throughout Nevada, each of which serves cannabis that has been cultivated and packaged in Mesquite. Deep Roots Harvest has been in business since 2015, first serving medical patients and now serving both medical patients and recreational users. With a focus on high-quality cannabis flower, Deep Roots Harvest provides its customers some of the finest cannabis in the state.
Pisos Las Vegas’ mission is to “bring the absolute best marijuana products and selection” to their patients and customers. Pisos take a holistic approach to cannabis that starts with their name. “Pisos is known historically to mean ‘healing,’ which is exactly what Pisos Las Vegas provides its customers and patients.” Pisos’ menu features over 50 strains of high-grade cannabis and over 50 cannabis products, including its award-winning Jack Herer Concentrate.
Sahara Wellness is a woman-owned Las Vegas medical and recreational dispensary located just east of the famed Vegas Strip. Sahara Wellness is, first and foremost, a world-class medical marijuana dispensary whose knowledgeable budtenders are trained to educate medical marijuana patients and customers about how cannabis use can improve their lives. Additionally, Sahara Wellness organizes events and gatherings for the community.
Recreational Dispensaries in Oregon
Oregon is home to a proud stoner culture that makes Portland one of the best U.S. destinations for weed smokers. Medical marijuana use has been legal in Oregon since 1998. In 2014, Oregon legalized adult recreational marijuana use with the passing of the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act, or Measure 91. In Oregon, adults are able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana at a time and possess up to four mature plants. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Oregon:
Electric Lettuce in Oregon City, Oregon, is a recreational cannabis dispensary with a relaxed atmosphere that is more suited for old record stores than it is for a facility serving medical-grade cannabis. Electric Lettuce allows customers to purchase some of the finest weed Oregon has to offer while perusing records and old issues of High Times Magazine.
Farma in Portland, Oregon, was named Best Cannabis Dispensary in Oregon by Leafly and Cannabis Now. Their mission is “to improve people’s lives by reframing their relationship with cannabis.” They do this by emphasizing wellness, science, and community. Farma believes that cannabis has the power to improve lives when used correctly.
GREEN MUSE is not your typical dispensary. Located in Portland, Oregon, this Black-owned bud shop seeks to be the source of inspiration for “art, science, music, sports, and fashion through cannabis use.” Formerly known as Green Hop, this is the world’s first Hip Hop Dispensary. This mom-and-pop shop offers customers premium cannabis to inspire.
Recreational Dispensaries in Washington
Like its southern neighbor Oregon, Washington has a vivacious cannabis culture that is complemented by the state’s proximity to nature. The state legalized medical marijuana use in 1998, with recreational use following in 2012. In Washington, it’s legal for adults 21 years and older to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis at a time for recreational use and three ounces at a time for medical use. Cultivation of marijuana for recreational use remains illegal, however, medical patients can cultivate six plants at a time. Here are the best recreational dispensaries in Washington State:
Canna West in Seattle, Washington, was founded in 2016 and is housed in a 1920s craftsman-style house in the heart of West Seattle. This woman-owned dispensary focuses on clean, quality cannabis served in a stylish environment. Canna West sources cannabis that is grown pesticide free and green certified.
Smokane is Spokane, Washington’s one-stop-shop for all things cannabis. Smokane has been serving the Spokane community since 2014, with a diverse selection of cannabis products and accessories. The friendly cannabis connoisseurs at Smokane will guide you through your buying experience to ensure you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
Tucked away east of the Cascades and located along the Columbia River in Wenatchee, WA, lies Craft Cannabis, a premium cannabis dispensary. Craft Cannabis brings the highest quality products from the area’s best growers and producers under one roof. The staff at Craft take pride in the care and service they bring to Craft every day.
States where recreational cannabis is legal (with recreational dispensaries coming soon)
Dispensaries in Montana
Montana legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2004, and while lawmakers sought to repeal the law in 2011, it was unsuccessful thanks to Governor Brian Schweitzer. It was challenged again in the state’s supreme court, but again, the law was upheld. Later that year, the state Senate implemented stricter conditions on medical marijuana with Senate Bill 423, the Montana Marijuana Act. On November 3, 2020, the Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative was approved by voters, officially legalizing the recreational use and sale of marijuana.
For adults 21 years and older in Montana, the law legalized the possession and use of up to an ounce of marijuana with no more than eight grams in concentrate. The law also imposed a 20% sales tax on cannabis and called for the possible expungement or resentencing for cannabis-related crimes. While recreational weed is legal in the state, recreational dispensaries have yet to open.
Dispensaries in New Jersey
With the passing of the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in January of 2010, the Garden State became the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana use. The law was stalled by Governor Chris Christie but officially went into effect in 2012. On September 10, 2013, S 2842 passed allowing for edible forms of marijuana to be consumed by patients younger than 18. The Marijuana Legalization Amendment was passed by voters on November 3, 2020, legalizing the possession of marijuana for adults 21 and older. The law legalized the possession of up to six ounces (170 grams) of cannabis or 17 grams of hash and set up a marketplace framework. Recreational dispensaries are not yet open.
Dispensaries in New York
Medical Marijuana was legalized in New York in 2014 under the Compassionate Care Act. 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.” At this time, only medical dispensaries are open in New York.
Dispensaries in South Dakota
On July 1, 2021, legislation will take effect that will legalize the use of both recreational and medical marijuana. Soon, adults 21 and over will be able to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and no more than eight grams of concentrate. They will also be able to grow up to three plants if no retailers are in the area. Medical patients will be able to possess up to three ounces of cannabis or six cannabis plants. Dispensaries are not yet open.
Dispensaries in Vermont
An Act Relating to the Medical Use of Marijuana was passed in 2004 legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the state. In January 2018, Gov. Phil Scott signed H. 511, which eliminated penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis. In 2020, the state legalized recreational marijuana use and possession through Vermont S. 54. Dispensaries are set to open in March of 2022.
Dispensaries in Washington D.C.
While both medical and adult use of recreational marijuana is legal in Washington D.C., only medical patients can purchase cannabis within the District of Columbia. Initiative 71 was passed in 2014, which legalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis without a medical recommendation in the District of Columbia. D.C. first legalized Medical Marijuana in 1998, but because the U.S. Congress passed the Barr Amendment to effectively block the implementation of medical cannabis within the district, the first medical sale did not occur until 2013.
States with legislature passed and legislation pending recreational cannabis:
Dispensaries in New Mexico
“In 1978, New Mexico became the first state in the country to pass legislation recognizing the medical value of marijuana.” Since then, the New Mexico Legislature passed SB 523, which created a medical cannabis system regulated by the state. Now, medical marijuana use in New Mexico is legal for qualifying patients and adult recreational use has been decriminalized. A law signed in April 2021 makes it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces (56 grams) of flower, 16 grams of concentrate, and 800 milligrams of edibles outside the home and an unspecified amount at home in a hidden, locked container. Only medical dispensaries are open in the state thus far.
Dispensaries in Virginia
Unfortunately, weed lovers in Virginia must continue to wait for recreational marijuana use to become legal, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. In Virginia, Medical marijuana use is legal and recreational use is set to become legal on June 30, 2021. Virginia was one of the first states to codify medical marijuana policy into law in 1978 when they passed a provision in the state’s criminal code that stated: “a person would not be prosecuted for possession of marijuana in Virginia if he or she had a valid prescription from a doctor for using cannabis to treat the symptoms of glaucoma or the side effects of chemotherapy.” In 2019, the state expanded its medical marijuana policy and in 2021, Virginia became the first southern state to legalize recreational marijuana use. Virginia medical marijuana dispensaries are open as of October 2020. Recreational dispensaries are scheduled to open in 2024.