Aspen, a tony Colorado ski town famous for expensive restaurants and celebrity sightings, is becoming known for something else these days: Marijuana. Sales figures for 2017 show that the cannabis stores topped liquor stores in revenue.
According to the Aspen Times, the city’s finance department reported legal marijuana retailers recorded $11.3 million in revenue in 2017. Liquor stores generated $10.5 million in sales, marking the first time in the city’s history that marijuana outpaced alcohol in total sales. There are six marijuana retailers and five liquor stores in Aspen.
The finance report also shows that marijuana sales jumped 16 percent over 2016’s total of $9.7 million. Among Aspen’s 12 retail sectors tracked by the Finance Department, the cannabis industry experienced the largest growth rate in 2017. Overall, Aspen generated $730 million in retail revenue in 2o17, a 2 percent bump from the previous year.
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“I think it’s meaningful for a couple of reasons,” Matt Kind, a Boulder cannabis entrepreneur told the Aspen Times. “One in particular is when people are visiting Aspen and adjusting to a high altitude, some don’t drink for that first couple of days. And I think people are looking for something different from alcohol, which is essentially poison, and marijuana is botanical. I don’t say that with judgment, but you feel some lingering effects with alcohol.”