Aspen cannabis shops beat liquor stores for the first time
This is a story that we'll likely be seeing a lot more of in the future. Aspen's Finance Department reports that for the first time, cannabis stores outpaced liquor store sales for the first time, reporting $11.3 million in revenue versus booze's $10.5 million. Cannabis sales were also up 16% over the previous year, the biggest rate of grown in all of Aspen's 12 retail sectors.
There's a few reasons for this. One, cannabis is just more fun than alcohol -- it's healthier and those who use it don't suffer from hangovers, unlike finishing off a six-pack or a bottle of wine. Second, Aspen is at a high altitude, and that makes alcohol even harder to deal with than usual -- tourists coming into town would rather light up than pour one out. And of course cannabis is just growing in general. Certainly Aspen is a place where people are traveling in from out of state, and while they may not be able to get cannabis legally in their home state, they can pick it up at a recreational dispensary in Colorado and give it a try.
Lest you think that cannabis is about to kill alcohol sales, however, liquor store owners say they aren't worried at all. They still beat cannabis last December, and apparently while sales have dropped, they're not exactly devastated. What is happening instead is that cannabis sales seem to be tempering alcohol sales, rather than replacing them. Cannabis may not replace alcohol, but it may help some drinkers to bring their consumption levels down to a healthier place.
That's fascinating. Of course, this is just one town in the country, but we'll have to look forward to see how these two industries interact in the future. Odds are that cannabis sales will increase, but their final effect on the liquor industry is yet to be seen.