The effects of marijuana legalization on real estate

By Aviva Sonenreich | Forbes

When America’s real estate history is written, there will be a chapter with the legalization of marijuana as a focal point. I’m a third-generation warehouse owner in Denver, in the state that recreational marijuana was first legalized in, so it’s impossible for me to not be compelled to analyze the spillover effects.

In the beginning, legalization was a contentious point. Many were suspicious about the product’s future and considered it a ticking time bomb with concerns revolving around crime rates and consumption among children. To the surprise of naysayers, the positive impacts were abrupt.

So far, 15 U.S. states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, and 36 states have legalized medical marijuana. A report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates that “states where medical and recreational marijuana have been legalized for more than three years have seen more increases in demand for commercial properties.”

Specifically, 42% saw an increase in demand for warehouses, while 27% saw an increase for storefronts, and 21% saw an increase for land. And of the states that have had legalized recreational and medical marijuana the longest, 32% saw commercial lease addendums addressing the growth, and 30% saw lease addendums addressing sales of marijuana.


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