Even if Denver isn’t poised for a weed-driven music boom, perhaps that’s not a bad thing. And, indeed, something more gradual—and exciting—may be in the making. As of early May, the state had collected more than $25 million in marijuana taxes and fees in 2014. If the economy gets a boost, more people will have more money to pay for more concert tickets. (Corinne Henahan, the publicist for an Ohio band called Ekoostik Hookah, tells me the band’s Colorado fan base has recently grown, which she attributes to the new pot law—because, you know, the band’s name is Ekoostik Hookah.) And if more people go to more concerts, that means more venues and more shows, eventually. “When you create a healthy financial environment, which is what I think is happening there, people have more money to spend on fun things,” says Karl Denson, the San Diego–based frontman for Tiny Universe, which plays regularly throughout the Centennial State.
Benevento is even more optimistic about this potential Colorado windfall. His wishful theory is that pot will generate so much income local businesspeople will start to open more music clubs, and those who already own them will start to spend more money. Plus, Colorado might attract more free-spirited creative entrepreneurs who would open more clubs, hire more bands, and generally contribute to the state’s utopian post-prohibition atmosphere. “Maybe club owners will be like, ‘Hey! We can totally have you come in! We can totally afford a piano and some plane tickets for you!’ ” Benevento says.
That may be a stretch, but consider this: One band recently stipulated in its concert rider that Bianchi, the owner of Quixote’s and Sancho’s, provide cannabis-infused edibles backstage. Bianchi’s response? “OK.”