Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari lost to Rebeka Masarova of Spain in the first round of the US Open held in New York on August 28.
During the match, Sakkari complained to the chair umpire about the smell of cannabis on the court. She said she thought it was coming from the park behind the stadium.
The video of Sakkari complaining about the smell of cannabis at the US Open went viral, but it may not have surprised New Yorkers in the city, especially since the state legalized cannabis in March 2021.
But even before legalization, smoking cannabis was common in New York, and a recent report now designates NYC as the world's largest cannabis-consuming city.
CFAH, a team of experts committed to promoting health and wellness through education, support, and awareness, made a report estimating that in NYC alone, people consume approximately 62.3 metric tons per year, followed by Sydney with 45.8 and Los Angeles with 35.
CFAH could collect data on cannabis consumption figures thanks to World Health Organization (WHO) data for countries around the world.
In terms of cannabis prices, NYC ranks 4th among the most expensive cities for cannabis in the U.S., with a cost of $12.5 per gram. Washington, D.C., takes the top spot at 1st place with $19.1 per gram, followed by Seattle at $18.2 and Killdeer, which ties with NYC at $12.5 per gram.
At the international level, Tokyo (Japan) is the world's most expensive city in which to buy cannabis, despite its illegality, with a price of $33.8 per gram. It is followed by Dublin (Ireland) at $22.5 per gram and Tallinn (Estonia) at $22.1 per gram.
Among the most affordable cities to purchase cannabis, Montreal (Canada) takes the top spot as the least expensive city in the world, with a price of $5.9 per gram. It is followed by Bangalore (India) at $6 per gram and Notre Dame (Canada) at $6.2 per gram.
These data were collected on cannabis prices from 140 cities worldwide, ranking them from least costly to most expensive for both illegal and legal markets.
The price of cannabis per gram in the United States is projected to potentially decrease to $5.61 by 2030. Legalizing cannabis is more likely to contribute to a market price decline, with prices expected to fall by an average of 11.13%, according to the report.
The New York cannabis price data aligns with other cannabis price index websites like PriceOfWeed. They report around $11.86 per gram for high-quality cannabis and approximately $9.51 for medium-quality cannabis. Legal dispensaries authorized by state cannabis regulators also generally fall within this average price range, although certain product varieties can be significantly more expensive based on their quality.
However, the legal marijuana market in New York, which consists of roughly more than 20 dispensaries, is struggling to compete with the illegal market, widespread across the city.
Authorities have vowed to crack down on the illegal market, but it will be challenging to do so.
The gray market is estimated to be worth $7 billion in New York, while the legal market is only expected to generate $1.2 billion in sales in 2023.
The phenomenon of the gray market is not surprising. As soon as the state legalized cannabis, thousands of unauthorized shops popped up across the state to sell cannabis, despite New York regulators prohibiting such practices as they were implementing the legislation to create the legal market.
New York State imposes a 13% tax on the sale of legal cannabis. The tax rate is higher for products with higher THC content.
The state projected $56 million in cannabis-related tax revenue for fiscal year 2023 but has only collected $4.3 million so far.
The tax revenue from the recreational cannabis program is supposed to go towards education, grants to community organizations, and drug treatment programs.
Housing Works, a nonprofit that has become the first to open a dispensary in NYC, sold $12 million worth of marijuana products in its first six months of operation.
The shop generated about $2 million in sales tax revenue during that time, which is twice what it had projected.