The legalization of marijuana has grown across the country at a rapid pace, and now that marijuana is legal for recreational purposes here in New York, the doors have opened for lounges, dispensaries, and other fun stuff for weed fans across the Empire State.

New York State jumped on the legalization bandwagon in 2021, becoming the 15th state in the US to do so, but the process of opening cannabis dispensaries in the state took some time. 

Slowly but surely, recreational marijuana is becoming more available to New Yorkers who want it. Currently in 2023, there are over 20 licensed dispensaries across the state, from Long Island to Plattsburgh, with more opening all the time. (That doesn’t even count the dozens of medical dispensaries where you can get cannabis with a prescription.)

Soon, New York State weed lovers won’t  have to look very far here in the state to legally find what they want, whether it’s tinctures, edibles, or flower. 

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But which city in the Empire State is the most weed-friendly of all?

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Real estate site Clever teamed up with Leafly, a cannabis rating site, to name the 50 best cities for THC lovers in 2023. 

Clever looked at some of the following metrics to determine their rankings:

  • Legality
  • Cannabis-prescribing doctors per 100,000 residents
  • Dispensaries per 100,000 residents
  • Affordability of high-quality weed
  • Google search trends

This Is The Most Weed-Friendly City In New York State

Out of all of the cities in New York State, one ranks much higher (get it?) on the list than all the rest - even New York City. 

Buffalo, New York is already known for ranking towards the top of lists for food, sports, and breweries across the country. Now, they can add another thing that Buffalo is great at - weed. 

After sitting at #14 last year, Buffalo, New York has jumped fourteen spots to #3 on Clever’s annual ranking of the 50 best weed cities in the US - the highest ranking city in New York State.

The only other city in the Empire State to make the cut was (of course) New York City, which landed at #21. 

Buffalo outperformed many cities in a number of metrics. For example, Buffalo boasts 0.5 doctors that prescribe medical marijuana per 100,000 residents - 79% more than the average city.

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Buffalo also had big scores on how inexpensive legal cannabis is there, with the average ounce of medium-quality marijuana costing only $226 there (10% less than average prices around the country). 

When Clever looked at cannabis-related Google searches, Buffalo ranked #6, and also had the 4th highest number of visitors to Leafly.com.

But, Buffalo Didn’t Do So Great With…

Sorry Buffalo. Although the Western New York city has a lot going for it’s weed-loving citizens, it’s severely lacking in one factor to make it more weed-friendly. 

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Although there are a few dispensaries in the Buffalo area, it doesn’t have even close the amount that the top two ranking cities in the US have (Portland and Denver). So even though the interest is there and the price is reasonable, it's tough to get your hands on marijuana in Buffalo without a prescription.

“Buffalo is the dark horse. It’s still lagging in terms of dispensaries per capita, but New York is a real example of changes in legalization and the growth of personal cannabis freedoms.” - David Downs, senior content manager at Leafly

This Factor Could Have Boosted Buffalo’s Weed Ranking

Although landing at #3 on Clever and Leafly’s list of the best weed cities in the US is pretty impressive, they may have ignored a very important factor that could have boosted Buffalo’s ranking even further.

One of the factors that was looked at was the number of Taco Bell’s in the area per 100k residents. We can’t argue their logic with including this - Taco Bell is a known stoner hot spot.

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But what Clever might not have considered is that Buffalo is not a Taco Bell town. The city does have 3.6 Taco Bell restaurants per 100k people according to their data, but if they factored in all of the Mighty Taco restaurants in the Buffalo area (it’s by far the city's most popular fast-food chain), Buffalo’s ranking would probably be even better than it already is. 

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