Want to Get High and Live Happy? Head to Colorado, Apparently

The Rocky Mountain state is apparently full of satisfied stoners.

Originally Published: 
A beautiful scene of Colorado

Life is a complex journey, as we spend much of our existence simply trying to figure out what we want to do with it. For some people, a big part of that is smoking marijuana. If your two primary goals in life are to live in a great, affordable, family-friendly city and also get stoned, your answer may be moving to Colorado.

Two separate surveys have made it clear that Colorado may be the best place to live for families and parents who smoke pot. A survey by U.S. News of the best cities to live in the United States — and a report from Lawnstarter, which listed the best cities to get stoned in the United States — has a curious overlap. Now, if we were to take these surveys at face value — we recommend taking this all in with a grain of salt — there would be some fun stuff to discover. And that’s just what we did.

The list of the Best Cities to Live in the U.S. utilized a methodology that included weighing a city’s job market, housing and education affordability, quality of life, desirability, net migration, and quality education for kids. Here were the top 20 cities based on those findings:

  1. Boulder, CO
  2. Denver, CO
  3. Austin, TX
  4. Colorado Springs, CO
  5. Fort Collins, CO
  6. Charlotte, NC
  7. Des Moines, IA
  8. Fayetteville, AR
  9. Portland, OR
  10. San Francisco, CA
  11. Raleigh & Durham, NC
  12. Ann Arbor, MI
  13. Seattle, WA
  14. Naples, FL
  15. Huntsville, AL
  16. Sarasota, FL
  17. Nashville, TN
  18. Boston, MA
  19. Portland, ME
  20. Boise, ID

Meanwhile, Lawnstarter released its own list of the Best Cities to Get Stoned, ranking 94 cities where weed is currently legal recreationally. To make the rankings, Lawnstarter compiled a value for each city based on three categories: Popularity, Supply Access, and Social Environment. Here is the top 20 based on their findings:

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Fullerton, CA
  5. Garden Grove, CA
  6. Glendale, CA
  7. Colorado Springs, CO
  8. Boston, MA
  9. Portland, OR
  10. Las Vegas, NV
  11. Orange, CA
  12. Detroit, MI
  13. Torrance, CA
  14. Santa Ana, CA
  15. Pasadena, CA
  16. Huntington Beach, CA
  17. Anaheim, CA
  18. Lakewood, CO
  19. Ontario, CA
  20. Worcester, MA

So what are the big takeaways from these two lists? Here is what we found most insightful.

Colorado Is Where Stoners Live the Good Life

You probably noticed that Colorado is on both of these lists a lot, including Denver being in the top two for both. The prominence of Colorado makes sense. It’s a relatively affordable state with a high quality of life that more and more people are flocking to each year. It was also one of two states that first legalized marijuana back in 2012, so there has been plenty of time for weed culture to grow.

That legalized weed poured billions of dollars into public education in the state, making it a great place to send a kid to school. Add that to the natural beauty of the state — and the propensity for families to get tons of outdoor time hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and generally enjoying the splendor of nature, and how healthy the state is, and it’s easy to see why it’s a great place for families and stoners alike.

California Is Great for Weed But Not for Happiness

It’s clear that the legalization of marijuana has been a hit in California, as it makes up 12 of the 20 spots on the best cities to smoke weed. However, when it comes to enjoying life in general, the Golden State’s success is mixed, as it only shows up once on the list of the 20 best cities to live in, with San Francisco coming in at 10. This is most likely due to California’s high cost of living, though that does make San Francisco’s inclusion a bit confusing.

Boston and Portland Are Both Underrated

The only two cities that show up on both lists that aren’t in Colorado or California are Boston and Portland (the one in Oregon, though Portland, Maine is on the list of best cities). So if you are looking to head to a city where life is good, and the weed is plentiful, but California and Colorado aren’t for you, you may want to give either of these cities a shot.

Once again, us pointing out this association of these two separate lists is by no means scientific — especially given that both lists use different methodologies which likely have their own strengths and flaws. So they shouldn’t necessarily be considered 1 to 1 comparisons. But it’s certainly fun to consider.

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