It is no secret that marijuana sales in Colorado is booming but no one expected it to catch up with the sales of alcohol so soon, if at all. Three years after Colorado legalized medical marijuana, the drug has overtaken alcohol in terms of sales. This is the first time that legal marijuana sales has bypassed that of alcohol anywhere in the United States.
Colorado’s marijuana sales grew 16 per cent last year compared to 2016. The marijuana industry is the fastest growing of Colorado’s 12 retail sectors.
Matt Kind, a Colorado businessman who hosts a podcast about the cannabis industry, told 24 Karat Reggae that visitors to the state were “looking for something different”.
“I think it’s meaningful for a couple of reasons,” he said. “One in particular is when people are visiting Colorado 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.”
Max Meredith, who runs one of the state’s marijuana shops, said the growth in sales “shows adults are open to change. There are new substitutes, and they can be handled responsibly. And perhaps there are a few less late-night fights.”
A study by Georgia State University last year found alcohol sales had tumbled 15 per cent in US states where medical marijuana had been legalised. Counties where cannabis could be legally obtained had 20 per cent lower alcohol sales than neighbouring counties across state borders where it was still outlawed.