No Contest: 8 of Forbes’ 10 ‘Coolest’ Cities Have Legal Cannabis

Published on October 31, 2017 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Forbes magazine recently published a list of “America’s 10 Coolest Cities.” Eight of those 10 have legal cannabis. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Four cities made the list from California, where adult-use sales are set to begin in January. San Francisco won out as Forbes’ coolest city in the country, then came San Diego as the third-ranked city, followed by San Jose (#6) and Los Angeles (#7).

From the first states to legalize, Leafly’s home base of Seattle was rated #2 by Forbes, while Denver was ranked #10 on the list.

At #5 was Portland, OR, which saw legal sales kick off nearly two years ago, in October 2015.

In Massachusetts, which was one of eight states to pass legalization measures last November, Boston took a #9 spot on Forbes’ list.

The two “coolest” cities on the list that haven’t yet legalized adult-use cannabis were New Orleans—ranked fourth—and New York City, which came in at #8. While cannabis possession still carries criminal charges in Louisiana, New Orleans decriminalized it last year. New York, meanwhile, is slowly coming online in terms of medical marijuana, and although adult use is still illegal, it’s certainly earned a place in New York culture.

Nearly all the cities ranked by Forbes have seen significant growth over the past several years. In legal states, at least some of that excitement likely is being driven by the budding legal cannabis industry.

Both Washington and Colorado have recorded a billion dollars in sales of cannabis in the past year and have seen a slight economic boom as the result of the marijuana industry. In Colorado, for example, housing prices near retail cannabis stores in Denver gained 8.4% more value than homes farther away from stores.

Though California has yet to begin legal adult-use cannabis sales, analysts predict that the state’s market will quickly surpass those in Colorado and Washington.

Shop highly rated dispensaries near you

Showing you dispensaries near
See all dispensaries
Gage Peake
Gage Peake
Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
View Gage Peake's articles
Get good reads, local deals, and strain spotlights delivered right to your inbox.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.