Santa Ana and Irvine Ranked Among ‘Highest Cities in America’

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As California voters gear up for potential ballot measures on recreational marijuana, a couple of major Orange County cities have been ranked among “America’s most pot-friendly places.”

The real estate blog Movoto took a look at data for the nation’s 100 largest cities, and came up with a list of the “10 Highest Cities in America.”

Santa Ana got the No. 6 slot, while Irvine came in at No. 7.

They beat out countercultural haven San Francisco, which was ranked No. 8.

The rankings were based on the per-capita numbers of marijuana dispensaries, residents with medical marijuana cards, head shops and marijuana-related events and festivals.

Given that Orange County ended up with two cities on the list, the blog calls for a renaming to “Pot-Green County”:

Next, we head back to California, and more specifically Orange County — which, between Santa Ana and our No. 7 city should be renamed Pot-Green County. Santa Ana placed seventh overall in terms of per-capita dispensaries, having one for every 8,903 residents. It also managed a second-place finish for head shops, with one of those for every 10,981 folks who live in the city.

It didn’t earn any points for pot festivals and events, since it doesn’t have any actually based within its city limits. Sorry, folks, we’re pretty picky about our data.

And Irvine’s abundance of paraphernalia shops earned it a spot on the list:

Proving that pot smokers come from every walk of life, the uber-affluent Orange County city of Irvine found its way into our top 10. Its placing had more to do with per-capita head shops than dispensaries, though; it has one place to purchase paraphernalia for every 15,395 residents, versus one dispensary for every 43,106 people who call it home.

Like pretty much every city in California, Irvine tied for fifth place in terms of medical marijuana card holders. Just shy of 1.5 percent of the people who live there have one.

You can read Movoto’s full rundown here.

California voters could decide in November whether to expand marijuana legalization.

One proposal, the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014, would essentially treat marijuana as a retail commodity subject to sales tax.  It needs 505,000 signatures by May 23 to qualify for the ballot.

Another, the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative of 2014, would decriminalize marijuana and enable people convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses to have their convictions overturned.  To qualify, it would need 505,000 signatures by Feb. 24.

What do you think about the proliferation of pot shops in Orange County? Are they harmless providers of medicine? Or do they cause real problems for local neighborhoods?

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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