A youngster prepares a marijuana joint during the World Day for the Legalization of Marijuana in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia on May 3, 2014. (Photo by Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)
A study from the marijuana technology company, Seedo, has determined the cities across the world where marijuana consumption is the highest and weed is the cheapest. The United States city with the highest marijuana consumption? That would be New York City, weighing in at 77.44 metric tons of marijuana consumed annually.
Seedo calls the study a “2018 Cannabis Price Index,” which examines factors like marijuana’s legal status, possible tax revenue from marijuana if taxed like cigarettes, and possible tax revenue from marijuana if taxed at the same level as the average U.S. marijuana taxes in legal states like Washington. Overall, the study looks at 120 international cities.
As to be expected, the cheapest weed in the world can be found in countries that have legal or relaxed marijuana laws. Taking the number one spot for the cheapest weed in the world is the mountainous city of Quito, Ecuador, where consuming marijuana is legal and Ecuadorian citizens can possess up to 10 grams. Here, residents can purchase marijuana for as little as $1.34 USD per gram. Bogota, Colombia takes the number two spot, at $2.20 per gram, which is no surprise considering that the cultivation of a limited number of plants and personal consumption of marijuana is decriminalized in the country.
In contrast, the entire country of Singapore, where marijuana possession can lead to the death penalty, only consumes 0.02 metric tons of marijuana annually. And Tokyo ranks as the most expensive place in the world to light up, at $32.66 a gram. There’s a whole lot in-between too. Here’s Herb’s guide on the cheapest weed in the world, the most expensive weed in the world, and what you need to know before lighting up in these destinations.
At $1.34 per gram (yes, you read that right), the capital of Ecuador, by far, has the cheapest weed in the world. It also happens to be a place you can easily light up without fear of getting in trouble by law enforcement. In certain neighborhoods of Quito, weed can be smelled wafting through the air. It’s also an incredible place to visit, with thousands and thousands of years of history buried beneath the streets. Many travelers use it as a jumping off to visit the Galapagos Islands or continue from Ecuador onto Peru, where they visit Macchu Pichu.
If you love traveling and you love weed, Bogotá is a must. The vibrant metropolis has a booming cannabis scene: gourmet edibles, head shops, and an annual cannabis festival featuring so many different kinds of products you might, for a second, forget that recreational weed is not yet legal in the country. That being said, Colombia does have a burgeoning medical cannabis scene which experts project will provide the world with cannabis. The country has potent strains which rival California and Canada. And while there’s been some crackdowns on small growers since the legalization of medical marijuana, the average gram in Bogotá still goes for $2.20. Buy your plane ticket now.
Asunción is arguably one of Latin America’s most underrated cities. The capital of Paraguay has that perfectly charming mix of tradition and trendiness. The historic center of town is known for its colorful murals, many of which are inspired by the country’s indigenous communities. There’s no shortage of chic cafes, boutiques, or restaurants either. In terms of weed, you’ll have no problem scoring a cheap gram (the average one goes for $2.22), but we can’t guarantee it’ll be good quality. Paraguay is the second-largest producer of cannabis in Latin America. It’s long been known for supplying the black markets of nearby countries with tons and tons of schwag. It’ll do the trick, though, and you won’t have to worry about getting hassled for picking up. The country decriminalized possession in 1988.
A gram in Jakarta goes for $3.79. Unfortunately, smoking weed in Indonesia is a really really bad idea. The country has made a habit of arresting foreigners for possession. In some cases, law enforcement officers have even gone undercover, offering to sell weed to tourists and then pouncing on them when they accept. If you’re far away from Jakarta on a remote island and some locals offer you a hit, you’ll probably be okay. But we’re not going to condone it. And definitely don’t take the risk in Jakarta, a major city in Bali or anywhere else that you don’t have a very good handle on the situation.
We also don’t recommend smoking weed in Panama City. While the country’s National Assembly debated legalizing medical marijuana earlier this year, it’s still completely illegal. Locals offer mixed answers about whether you can get away with smoking in the nation’s capital. The general consensus seems to be that if you buy a small amount of weed and smoke it in private, you’ll probably be fine. If you do get caught, you can also likely bribe the police for $20. That being said, there’s no guarantee and you could serve jail time for possession if you’re unlucky. Too bad cause a gram goes for $3.85 in the city.
The cheapest weed in the U.S. is currently in Portland, where grams go for as little as $4 or $5. The state of Oregon has had a massive surplus problem since it legalized recreational weed in 2014. As of April 2018, the state had more than 1 million pounds of unsold flower. Seattle has had a similar surplus problem; Grams go there for $7.58. Denver trails just behind Seattle at $7.79 per gram and Los Angeles grams go for $8.14. Luckily, all these incredible cities have legalized recreational weed for adults 21 and up.
The West Coast has 22.5 percent cheaper weed than the East Coast, according to an analysis by WikiLeaf, which tracks dispensary prices across the country. The analysis found that the average price of an eighth on the West Coast costs $36—that’s $10 cheaper than the East Coast where an eighth will cost an average of around $46.
That price difference held up across all measurements, from a gram to an ounce, but the biggest gap was a 25 percent price difference in the average gram which was $16 on the East coast and $10 on the West Coast.
WikiLeaf also broke their analysis down by city to find out where to find the cheapest weed within the cheapest regions–though there’s no way to determine the quality of the flower.
Portland, Oregon was home to the cheapest eighth at just $30, while Baltimore, Maryland had the highest-priced eighth at $53.70.
It should be noted that not all of the states and cities analyzed have fully legalized adult use cannabis, and WikiLeaf outlined this as one possible reason for the price difference. The differences in local taxes were also cited as a reason for the difference in price. For example, the analysis points out that buying legal weed in San Francisco is far more expensive than it would be in San Diego because of the difference in local tax rates and the higher cost of living in the Bay Area.
Another reason cited for the price difference on the West vs the East Coast is that cannabis is still federally illegal and states are forbidden from exporting their products out of state. As a result, in some cases like Oregon and Washington, the price of cannabis has fallen dramatically—down to $4 a gram in some dispensaries—because growers in these states have produced far more cannabis than the state alone can consume.
A single gram in Tokyo will, no joke, cost you more than $30. That is if you can even find it. The country has archaic cannabis laws, ironically, because it was once upon a time following America’s lead on prohibition. A small amount of herb can land you in prison. Luckily, Tokyo’s hella trippy whether or not you’ve smoked one.
Not only can you be arrested for possessing cannabis in South Korea, you can be arrested for having consumed it anywhere—even in your own country, where it’s legal. Police have the right to stop anyone and drug test them for THC. Now, let’s be real. The chances of getting drug tested for weed in South Korea if you’re a law-abiding tourist seem slim to none. That’s why…you should be a law-abiding tourist when you’re there. And with grams going for $32.44, it shouldn’t be hard to say no.
Kyoto falls just behind Tokyo at $29.65 a gram. You can also be arrested in this city if you’re caught lighting up. Just don’t do it.
Unlike in Tokyo, scoring some herb in Hong Kong may not be that hard. There are street dealers floating around in touristy neighborhoods and near the city’s nightspots. We don’t recommend you smoke in the city—it’s flat-out illegal, you can get jail time, and cops can’t be bribed like they can in some Latin American countries. That being said, the chances of getting arrested are slimmer than in countries like Singapore or Indonesia. In Hong Kong, law enforcement cares more about people trafficking or growing than individual consumers. Average grams run $27.48 in the city. Ouch.
It might be tempting to pick up when you’re out raging in Bangkok. It’s a party city and if you’re in a touristy area like Khao San Road you might get approached by a dealer. Don’t. Say. Yes. They could be an undercover cop. You’ll likely just get a hefty fine, but jail time is possible too. If you’re hell-bent on smoking while you’re in the country, wait til you get offered some ganja on a remote island or way up North in the hippie enclave of Pai. If you’re all the way in Bangkok already, you might as well take a hop flight to one of these places. Besides, grams in Bangkok are $24.81 on average.