Legal-pot purveyors generated $11.3 million in revenue last year compared with $10.5 million for liquor stores, marking the first time marijuana sales outpaced booze for the year in Aspen, reports The Aspen Times.
Cannabis revenue last year also marked a 16 percent increase over 2016, which produced $9.7 million in sales. Of Aspen’s 12 retail sectors, the marijuana industry also enjoyed the biggest rate of growth last year. Liquor store sales were flat between 2016 and 2017, according to the city’s’ report.
“I think it shows adults are open to change,” said Max Meredith, store manager at the Stash dispensary. “There are new substitutes, and they can be handled responsibly. And perhaps there are a few less late-night fights.”
Aspen’s liquor stores, however, aren’t exactly struggling. Despite early concerns that the legalization of recreational marijuana sales would have a negative effect on liquor sales, that hasn’t been the case. In December, they combined to ring up nearly $1.6 million in sales, topping the $1.2 million brought in by pot shops.
On the national front, marijuana appears to be having a greater impact on the booze industry. A study released in December by Georgia State University showed a 15 percent drop in alcohol sales in states allowing medical marijuana sales. The study covered a 10-year period from 2006 to 2015.
“Our findings clearly show that these two substances act as strong substitutes in the marketplace,” Georgia State economics professor Alberto Chong said in a statement. “This implies that rather than exacerbating the consequences of alcohol consumption — such as an increase in addiction, car accidents or disease risk — legalizing cannabis may temper them.”
At the Green Dragon cannabis store, manager Kevin Doxtater said that cannabidiol, more widely referred to as CBD, has attracted a newer wave of retail consumers seeking medical benefits without getting high. Edible marijuana products also have been popular with the more discerning adults, while the younger set leans toward pre-rolled joints, he said.