Can Weed Save The Dying Record Store?
Will we see weed on sale at Amoeba soon? It seems this is at least a possibility, marijuana may save your local record store, if you live in a state where cannabis got legalized. Billboard has an article about this interesting but not-so-strange combination and it makes total sense. If everybody must get stoned, as our current Nobel Prize in literature would say, at least we can do it with a little music.
Everyone knows LPs and CDs sales have dropped to dramatic lows (a 84% drop from 2006 to 2015 according to the RIAA), and the vinyl rebirth is not sufficient to sustain all these dying stores… actually the question is, do you still have such a store in your neighborhood? I am lucky enough to live in Los Angeles where we still have a few, Amoeba being the best of all. However, I always wonder how long this will last.
28 states have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational uses, and your record stores could soon become a weed dispensary business.
‘There’s a history of marijuana and music that goes back to the jazz era,’ said co-founder of Record Store Day Michael Kurtz, to Billboard. ‘Anytime human behavior is decriminalized, it’s good for business.’
Even Willie Nelson is seriously getting into the weed business, and pot is reportedly generating more than $1 billion in revenue in 2016 in Colorado. ‘With marijuana, everything has gotten better,’ explained the owner of Denver’s Twist & Shout Records Paul Epstein to Billboard. ‘You would be hard pressed to find any business in Denver for which the legalization of recreational marijuana hasn’t had a positive effect,’ he added.
Weed is good for business, and it’s now legal in many states, so where is the problem? There’s no problem, Louis Lambert, co-owner of the Independent Records & Video chain in Colorado Springs, says the dispensary next to his store has increased his records sales. ‘But there are 10 other dispensaries right next to them,’ he added. Colorado must be some pot-smokers’ heaven, but it’s coming in my state according to Billboard, which talked to Amoeba’s people.
The famous California music chain (there are 3 stores located in LA, SF and Berkeley) ‘is leading the state’s music-retail charge into cannabis’ and has recently obtained a dispensary license for its Berkeley location, after Prop 64 passed. Its San Francisco store ‘has opened Green Evaluations adjacent to its location’, which covers half of the store’s annual rent!! Meanwhile Amoeba’s Hollywood ‘may explore a similar strategy’.
I always see a very busy place when I go to Amoeba but I hadn’t realized their Berkeley store was actually struggling. Amoeba is not going so well there, as it ‘earned half the revenue it did in 2008 and is down to 35 employees from 90’. Weed may help.
‘The reason we worked on getting this permit for five years is because we really believe this is the mix that can help the store make it in the long run,’ said co-owner Marc Weinstein, adding that it’s ‘something Amazon can’t kill you on.’
I wonder… will the employees be allowed to smoke during work? Will customers be all stoned inside? Probably not, but marijuana will be sold soon next to your favorite record store and this doesn’t sound so crazy.