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Can Legal Marijuana Save Fading Record Stores?

It seems miraculous that any music retailer has survived the demolition-like forces that piracy, downloading and streaming have unleashed during the past 15 years. CD sales have plummeted from $9.4 billion in 2006 to just $1.5 billion in 2015, according to the RIAA — an 84 percent drop — and the much-ballyhooed vinyl resurgence has done little to staunch the bleeding, making up only 6 percent of physical sales in 2015. “I don’t know if record retailing — specifically selling new LPs and CDs — is really a viable business in most parts of the world anymore,” says Josh Madell, whose beloved downtown New York store Other Music closed in June after sales fell from more than $3 million annually to roughly half.

But there is hope on the hazy horizon, and it’s coming in the five-leafed form of marijuana, which is legal in a majority of states — 28 of them have sanctioned cannabis for medical or recreational use — following the 2016 elections. What does reefer have to do with records? With music retailers getting into the dispensary business or aligning their physical location with pot shops, the long-standing symbiotic relationship between music and weed may finally be (legally) monetized. [Read more at Billboard]

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