Study Ranks New York City as Top Cannabis-Consuming City in the World

While the Empire State has yet to fully get its adult-use cannabis program off the ground, that isn’t stopping residents from getting their smoke on. And research proves it!
New York City

According to a new study, New York City consumes more cannabis out of any city in the world, at 62.3 metric tons (approximately 137,000 pounds) per year. The study, compiled as the “2023 Cannabis Global Price Index,” was conducted by health information resource CFAH, which collected data on cannabis prices from 140 cities worldwide.

In addition to exploring the highest cannabis-consuming cities in the world, the research explored the cities with the most and least expensive cannabis and the price trajectory for cannabis in the U.S.

Which Cities Consume the Most Cannabis?

CFAH examined the top and bottom cannabis-consuming nations in order to hone in on the study cities, noting the legal status of cannabis in each region. Researchers then chose the final list of 140 cities to display the “best comparison of the global cannabis price.” Prices per gram were obtained through crowdsourced, city-level polls adjusted to the PriceOfWeed dashboard and UNODC World Drug Report.

To track total consumption, CFAH used figures collected from the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. price trajectory figures were calculated through Seasonal AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA), a model used to account for patterns in data.

New York City has a pretty major lead on other cities when it comes to cannabis consumption. Sydney, Australia ranked second, despite the illegal status of cannabis in the country, at 45.8 metric tons per year, about 17 metric tons less than the Big Apple. Los Angeles ranked third, at 35 metric tons per year, followed by Chicago at 24.9 metric tons and Rome, Italy at 21.9 metric tons per year.

The list ranks the top 20 cities. From sixth to 20th, it includes (in order): Houston, Texas; Toronto, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; Prague, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria; Hamburg, Germany; Phoenix, Arizona; Montreal, Canada; Melbourne, Australia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Vancouver, Canada; Uskudar, Turkey; Dublin, Ireland; Denver, Colorado and Annapolis, Canada.

Which Cities Have the Most and Least Expensive Cannabis?

Cannabis is illegal and highly criminalized in Japan, but for people looking to toke up anyway, they’ll have to pay a pretty penny. Tokyo ranked as the city with the most expensive cannabis, at $33.8 per gram. Dublin, Ireland and Tallinn, Estonia followed at $22.50 and $22.10 per gram, respectively. 

Montreal, Canada had the least expensive cannabis according to the study, at just $5.90 per gram. Bangalore, India and Notre Dame, Canada followed, at $6 and $6.20 per gram, respectively.

While it’s a common assumption that legality may mean wider availability, ultimately leading to lower prices, both the most and least expensive cannabis cities were well-balanced when it came to legal or illegal status. The top 10 most expensive cannabis cities include six cities where cannabis is illegal and four where it’s legal. The least expensive cannabis cities vary only slightly, with six cities where cannabis is legal and four where it’s illegal.

Forecasting Future Cannabis Prices in the U.S.

Researchers used SARIMA to project future trends for cannabis prices in the U.S. The time-series forecasting model takes both the trend and seasonality of the data into account — “It combines the autoregressive, integrated, and moving average models with seasonal components to capture the trend, seasonality, and random fluctuations in a time series,” according to the study.

Looking at a CFAH graph of prices over the past 30 years, namely the erratic zigzagging through the decades, it may feel like a shot in the dark to truly predict the price of cannabis in the future. Still, CFAH predicts that the price of cannabis per gram in America could fall to an average of $5.61 per gram by 2030.

Given the trends of several legal cannabis states in the U.S. as of late, it’s perhaps not surprising to expect a continued price drop, especially as the market continues to grow and with the potential of federal legalization to come. 

Regarding New York’s status as the heaviest cannabis consuming state across the globe? Odds are that the city will maintain the title, especially as the recreational market continues to get off the ground. 

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