The 10 Stoniest Places in America
Road-trip across America, and you’re sure to pass signs that give even the casual toker a case of the giggles. We refer, here, not to the storied “Mile 420” markers that states like Idaho and Colorado have replaced with signs reading “Mile 419.9” to deter pot-tourist larceny.
We’re talking about place names — bestowed on cities, towns, and local landmarks, presumably by sober-minded statesmen and politicos — that have taken on an unintentionally stony significance in an era of mainstream marijuana consumption.
Some of these communities, in cannabis-legal jurisdictions, have embraced the profit potential in the smoky resonance of their city brands, while others stolidly reject any dopey double entendres, which somehow only makes things funnier.
Below, tag along on a cross-country journey as Rolling Stone explores the 10 stoniest place names in America.
Let’s face it, Stoner should rank higher on our list, but it’s a little too on-the-nose. Stoner is an unincorporated mountain community in the southwest corner of Colorado, not far from Telluride. It was originally named for the nearby Stoner Creek — adjacent to Pipe Creek. Stoner has little by way of tourist infrastructure, but does count a campground that’s clearly in on the joke. Stoner RV Resort — claimed elevation: 7,420 feet — vows to “roll out the green carpet” for visitors, offering a “smoker-friendly” environment, “munchies” in the camp store, along with a bevy of Stoner merch.
Legal weed is brand-new to Missouri — voters approved a 2022 ballot amendment for recreational cannabis, and retail sales began this February. Where better to sample the blazing embers of freedom than in … Roach? Originally named to honor a hardscrabble family of early settlers to the region, Roach is an unincorporated area at the center of the state, near Lake of the Ozarks. In truth, Roach might have been stonier stylistic fit for the marijuana culture of the Cheech & Chong era. For now, the local convenience store favors cigarettes, “cold beer,” and fishing tackle over marijuana paraphernalia. But judging from the past bust of a local entrepreneur, allegedly caught with 13 plants and a half-pound of product, Roach’s stoner culture is ready for revival.
Kief, North Dakota
In the marijuana world, kief is a natural crystalized high-THC concentrate collected from cannabis flowers. The name comes from Morocco, and translates to joy or pleasure in Arabic. By contrast, the tiny central North Dakota town of Kief — population eight — was founded to honor Kyiv, Ukraine, in the early 1900s, using a transliteration common at the time. Conservative denizens seek joy at the only non-residence in town, Kief’s Baptist church. Recreational marijuana is not legal in North Dakota, but possession of up to half an ounce has been decriminalized. Pursue pleasure at your own risk.
High Point, North Carolina
High Point is a central North Carolina city adjacent to Greensboro, a fair drive from the Great Smoky Mountains. Recreational marijuana is still not legal in North Carolina, though possessing small amounts will not lead to jail time. Despite the presence of High Point University, the city remains uneasy with its elevated branding. In fact, the city recently experienced a low point in cannabis-community relations, with a police bust of local vape shops for selling trademark-violating THC products like “Trips Ahoy” and “Stoneo” cookies.
Tokeland is a tiny town, population 158, on a coastal peninsula in Washington state, originally named for a native elder, Chief Toke. An artsy fishing village, boasting studios and craft shops, as well as a small tribal casino, Tokeland now counts a pot shop run by the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, Tokeland Cannabis, which touts that its “cannabis can … bring balance into everyday life.” Tokeland is a quick drive from Kurt Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, for any pothead Nirvana pilgrims eager to sample “the largest selection on the coast.”
Blunt, South Dakota
Another tiny community in the central Dakotas, Blunt (population 342) was named for the railway man John E. Blunt in the 1880s — about 30 years before the founding of the Phillies cigar company. (For the uninitiated, a blunt is a cheap cigar that’s hollowed out and packed with weed.) Like its northern neighbor, South Dakota is not cannabis friendly — voters in the state rejected a marijuana legalization initiative last November by nearly six points. Blunt residents, meanwhile, cater to rodeo riders rather than the 420 crowd, though if we were baked, we’d definitely not pass up the prime rib special at the Medicine Creek Bar and Grill.
Smoketown is a tiny village in southern Pennsylvania, an hour-and-a-half outside of Philadelphia. Recreational marijuana is, mystifyingly, still not legal in the Keystone State, and as such Smoketown is more renown for Amish attractions (take a ride at Abe’s Buggy Tours) than pot tourism. We’re assuming legalization would mean booming business for nearby amusement park Dutch Wonderland.
Mary Jane Falls, Nevada
Mary Jane Falls is a high-altitude (over 7,000 feet) waterfall in Nevada’s Mount Charleston Wilderness. The trailhead is just an hour from the strip in Las Vegas. Nevada legalized marijuana in 2016, and pot tourism is a boom business in Sin City. For now, Mary Jane Falls seems like a bigger hit with adventurers than stoners. The 90-foot falls can be ice-climbed when frozen; edibles not recommended.
In far Northern California, not far from Mount Shasta, Weed is a historic timber town that’s evolving into a cannabis tourist hub. Long a “let’s-take-a-selfie-for-laughs” pit stop off the I-5, Weed has finally embraced legalization and now greets visitors with billboards for its myriad dispensaries. Even the Weed Chamber of Commerce is into the act — promoting the city’s 4/20 events. Stoners can stock up on quality cannabis and, of course, “I ❤ Weed!” merch.
Bong Recreation Area, Wisconsin
South of Milwaukee, not far from Kenosha, road trippers venturing down I-94 will encounter a plain brown highway sign announcing the exit for the “Bong Recreation Area.” Named for Richard Bong — a World War II flying ace — the marshy area was originally intended to become an airbase for B-52 bombers, but citizen activists transformed it instead into one Wisconsin’s largest parks. Recreational pot in Wisconsin is still forbidden, though Gov. Tony Evers has proposed legalization in his current budget bill. If it passes, state residents already know where to let the celebration rip.