How Many Dispensaries Are In Denver, Colorado?

[Canniseur: The statistic about the number of Starbucks and McDonald’s is specious at best. A more relevant statistic would be how many liquor outlets compared to cannabis retail shops are in Denver. The answer is easy. There are far more liquor stores than cannabis retail stores. There are over 1000 liquor outlets and about 350 cannabis outlets.]

More than Starbucks and McDonalds Combined

If you’re not from Denver, you probably have a few preconceived notions of our state’s Cannabis scene. You’ve probably got a lot of questions, too, like ‘Just how many dispensaries are in Denver?’ or ‘What do visitors need to shop at one?’

When it comes to Denver Pot Shops, there’s something here for everyone — if you know where to look. But you don’t want your 420-friendly vacation to become a string of uncomfortable and intimidating situations by showing up unprepared.

Read up on these fun facts about how many dispensaries in Denver and Colorado, and you’ll know as much as most locals do about dispensaries in the Centennial State. How many dispensaries are in Colorado? Well, let’s just say that the state is awash in weed.

how many dispensaries in Denver chart


One of the more common taglines I’ve heard is that there are more dispensaries in Denver than there are Starbucks Coffee locations. I didn’t believe this at first – but it’s actually true. If you don’t believe me, here’s the list. The numbers on how many dispensaries in Denver break down like this:

Total Number of Dispensaries in Denver: 364

Rec dispensaries (licensed as “retail marijuana stores”) = 169

Medical dispensaries (licensed as “medical marijuana centers”) = 195

Total Number of Starbucks and McDonalds: 111

Starbucks locations = 80

McDonalds locations = 31

The McDonalds store count caught me off guard, as I expected the number to be closer to 50. Perhaps this goes to show that Denver pot smokers perhaps opt in favor of weed and exercise more so than weed and junk food. In that department, Colorado offers more than enough health-minded things to do while high.

how many dispensaries in Denver

How many grow facilities in Denver: 589

If you’ve noticed the number of recreational dispensaries in Denver is high, that’s because we see them. Less visible but even more abundant are grow facilities. Mostly under wraps in retrofitted warehouses on the north side of town. they’re hidden from view, but your nose may let you know if one is near.

Marijuana Infused Products Manufacturing (aka MIPS, aka where edibles and concentrates are made) = 97

Medical grow facility licenses = 369

Recreational grow facilities licenses = 220

How many dispensaries in Colorado chart


Zooming out, the state of Colorado has issued over 2500 marijuana licenses since legalization took hold in 2014. These stats include businesses that aren’t dispensaries, such as production facilities and grows, putting the actual number of recreational dispensaries at 518 as of February 1, 2018, according to the MED. There are 503 medical dispensaries as of the same date.

Jaw-dropping stats, I know. Not to sound like an infomercial spokesman, but wait there’s more! Across the state, the number of dispensaries – both med and rec combined – is about three times (you read that right: THREE TIMES!) that of the number of Starbucks Coffee locations (weighing in with 322 total in the state). For a little more perspective, there are FIVE TIMES more recreational dispensaries than Walmart locations across the state.

This is due in part to the fact that Starbucks is all but absent from many small towns where there are one or more dispensaries. Mountain towns offer another bolster. While Starbucks is present in some, dispensaries are far more common. Take Durango, for example – the downtown core has two Starbucks but seven dispensaries.

Take a moment to let this sink in.

And another moment, if necessary. It seems crazy – it’s easier to find a bag of (legal) weed in Denver than a Grande low-fat latte. How many dispensaries are in Denver is a stat that changes month to month as stores close and new ones open, but the industry shows no signs of slowing down.

how long do edibles take to kick in budtender

Which cities in Colorado sell recreational cannabis?

Alright, you’ve got the background on how many dispensaries in Colorado.  Now, let’s move on to where to find them.

If you’re flying into Denver from out-of-state, you’re in luck.

Most of the dispensaries are located right in the Denver area, so you can fly in and pick up right there!  Plus, business owners have established a variety of dispensaries in the Mile High City, which makes it the go-to location for recreational and medical users alike.

Many of the ski towns also provide recreational sales in addition to medical marijuana dispensaries, but other places (like Grand Junction) tend to be limited in their selection and may only offer medical sales.  How many dispensaries are in Denver or Colorado isn’t as pertinent as where you are in the state, as the majority of shops are in the Denver area and along the I-25 and I-70 corridors.

how many dispensaries in Colorado

Across the Denver metro area, each county has its own laws on allowing rec sales. While the ability to legally possess marijuana is statewide, certain towns don’t allow retail sales. Lakewood, for instance, offers multiple medical marijuana dispensaries but no retail sales. Here is a list of cities that allow retail marijuana sales. Notably missing is Colorado Springs – the state’s second-largest city, known for its Christian megachurches and Air Force base – which bans recreational cannabis sales altogether.

Although each dispensary is set up a bit differently, you’ll typically enter the shops in these locations and see someone behind a glass window or at a designated desk. Show your ID and enter the room where budtenders will give you information about the different strains and products, and help you select the perfect one.

how many dispensaries in Denver 1Map of Dispensaries in Denver, courtesy of

This article was originally published in 420 Tours

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