Why New Yorkers Smoke the Most Weed

NYC, we’re number one.

A recent study concluded New York City consumes more marijuana than any other city in the world. We consume 77.44 metric tons of the stuff every year, over twice that of the next most stoned city, Los Angeles.

Of course we get high so much. NYC is an incredibly stressful city. It routinely appears on listacles of the most miserable cities because it’s a miserable city. It’s a dirty, loud cauldron of gloomy people. Why do you think we always wear black? Bright colors hurt our eyes in the morning, because we had to get up early after working too late, so we can commute for anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours, depending on how the MTA feels that day.

These are the reasons we’re high all the time.


Rush hour in the New York City subway is like a scene from a movie set shortly after an apocalypse where supplies are running low and everyone fights over water. There’s nothing dignified about cramming half your body in the train doorway in the hopes of prying open the doors and getting to work on time. Especially considering now you get to spend half an hour stuck underground with a subway car full of people who hate you.

But when you get home, it’s just you and Mary Jane. She’ll let you chill.


You’ve got drunk couples fighting outside your window on a Tuesday night, jackhammering outside your building at 8 a.m., cars honking, drivers yelling, pedestrians yelling and barking dogs. It’s stressful and sometimes even scary.


Garbage on the street, vomit on the subway. This city is disgusting. Just disgusting. Of course we’re on drugs all the time. This city is disgusting.

Street Harassment

When you’re a woman in New York, it’s inevitable that a gross man will ask you to “smile for me baby” or stroke their semi-flaccid penis near you. Street harassment can happen anywhere but New Yorkers have perfected the art. And talk about a libido killer. The last thing I want to do after all that is touch another erection.

But a little pot and the desire surges back, just in time for your ill-defined, emotionally draining, “let’s keep it casual so I can keep sexing you without having to be nice to you” FWB to show up.

Tiny Apartments

The only way I’m dealing with two roommates in a shoebox apartment, extraneous boyfriends and house guests staying over, all sharing one small, slightly moldy bathroom is if we’re all breathing the same chronic air.

It’s The Only Hobby We Can Afford

Now I know what you’re thinking: “but drugs cost money too!” Oh do they now? I had no idea because I, like all other young people in the city, have so much extra cash that I forget where I hide each mountain of bills.

JK. Obviously. And thanks for rubbing it in.

Weed is expensive but everything else is more expensive. My fellow youth and I face historically high student debt and rent costs. NYC has the worst income inequality in the country. On top of our regular jobs, if we’re lucky enough to have one, we’re walking dogs and babysitting rich European children in Park Slope just to pay for that tiny room in deep Brooklyn.

We can’t afford to patronize trendy rooftop tapas spots that charge 20 bucks for a single lettuce leaf. But we’re stressed out from all those flaccid penises and piles of garbage. A nice deep bong hit is the answer because a little goes a long way and it’s cheaper than an opioid addiction.

We still want love

Date night no longer means dinner and a show, or jet skiing to Ellis Island, a la Hitch. We can’t afford the hospital bills after falling off our jet skis because we thought we could sit cross-legged like Rihanna (who, come to think of it, was probably stoned at the time). Now, date night means laying back and smoking your lover out before a night of Netflix and stoned making out. Sure, you had to pay for the weed in the first place but a decent strain can last you for many dates, probably with many different people because New Yorkers are commitment-phobes.

After all that, I’d like to pop a valium or two—or ten—but cannabis is a good alternative. So sure, we’re stoned a good chunk of the time. We’ve got reason to be, can’t afford therapy or anti-anxiety medication, and no time for anything else.

Plus, weed is fun.