There are relatively few countries around the world where marijuana cultivation and use is either legal or de-criminalized or widely tolerated regardless of what the law might be. Only in Canada and Uruguay are weed cultivation and use legal nationwide for both medical and recreational use.
In North Korea, marijuana cultivation and use may be legal or it may be illegal but not enforced — there is no law against it, so it’s kind of a “you pays your money and you takes your chances” kind of deal.
Other countries that have loosened prohibitions against marijuana possession and use are Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Estonia, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain and several others. Most have de-criminalized possession of small amounts, but other restrictions remain. Note that marijuana remains illegal in the Netherlands, but anyone can purchase weed for on-site use in Amsterdam “coffee shops.”
A Germany-based maker of agricultural growing products, Seedo, has compiled a list of marijuana prices in 120 world cities, along with data on total consumption and how much tax revenue could be collected if the pot consumed were taxed at the same rate as cigarettes in the city.
A couple of interesting data points before we get to the list: New York leads all cities with annual consumption of 77.44 metric tons of weed. Cairo, where marijuana is illegal, would collect about $385 million in tax revenue if weed sales were legal and taxed at the same level as cigarettes. And you’ll pay the most for weed in Tokyo (where marijuana is illegal).
Here’s the list of the most expensive cities listed in order of price per gram of marijuana:
- Tokyo, Japan: illegal; $32.66 per gram
- Seoul, South Korea: illegal; $32.44 per gram
- Kyoto, Japan: illegal; $29.65 per gram
- Hong Kong: illegal; $27.48 per gram
- Bangkok, Thailand: soon to be legal for medical use; $24.81 per gram
- Dublin, Ireland: illegal; $21.63 per gram
- Tallinn, Estonia: possession of small amount is legal; $20.98 per gram
- Shanghai, China: illegal; $20.82 per gram
- Beijing, China: illegal; $20.52 per gram
- Oslo, Norway: illegal but de-criminalized; $19.14 per gram
Now the 10 world cities where marijuana is cheapest:
- Quito, Ecuador: de-criminalized for up to 10 grams; $1.34 per gram
- Bogota, Colombia: illegal except for some medical uses; $2.20 per gram
- Asuncion, Paraguay: illegal except for medical use; $2.22 per gram
- Jakarta, Indonesia: illegal; $3.79 per gram
- Panama City, Panama: illegal; $3.85 per gram
- Johannesburg, South Africa: illegal; $4.01 per gram
- Montevideo, Uruguay: legal; $4.15 per gram
- Astana, Kazakhstan: illegal; $4.22 per gram
- Antwerp, Belgium: illegal, but ignored in small quantities; $4.29 per gram
- New Delhi, India: illegal; $4.38 per gram
Of the 13 U.S. cities included in the study, weed prices are highest in Washington, D.C., ($18.08 per gram) and lowest in Seattle ($7.58 per gram).
Visit the Seedo website for the full methodology and more details and charts.