Disclaimer: “The statements, views, and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the statements, views, and opinions of RE/MAX Integrity and Rocket Home Finder.”
Please read with an open mind, and read both blogs on our website regarding cannabis written by same author to give readers both sides of the issue.
Recreational marijuana use is now legal in 8 states (as well as the nation’s capital) and medicinal use is legal in 28 states. It is no longer an isolated issue affecting a handful of citizens across the US. It’s time to ask ourselves, is legalized marijuana as “bad” as it is often made out to be? Is there another side of the story that isn’t being told—perhaps because so many don’t want to hear it? Let’s face it. The potential for professional success in this industry is great and the benefits of medicinal use are undeniable. Like it or not, the legalization of cannabis allows for new, legal industries, creating jobs, and greatly increasing tax revenue.1 We truly are living in the age of cannabis.
All of this legalization is allowing for a “de-stigmatization” of marijuana and those who are in the industry. A growing number of budding business professionals are venturing into the retail cannabis industry. And why wouldn’t they? Marijuana Business Daily estimates that cannabis sales will support an $8.2 billion retail market by 2018.2 After all, owning and operating a dispensary is no longer any different than owning a brewery or a local bar. Forbes magazine itself states, “Every entrepreneur dreams of discovering an untapped market where they could start with a low investment and build a huge business. If that’s you, consider the developing legal marijuana industry.”3
In addition to the obvious opportunity for financial success in the dispensary business, the cannabis market has a positive secondary effect on the real estate market as well. One of, if not the most crucial issues to a cannabis entrepreneurs is having a place to grow. Unfortunately, an entire sector of recreational growers exists that gives true entrepreneurs a bad name by destroying property and inconsiderately growing (often without permission) in close knit residential apartments/homes, drawing endless complaints from neighbors and landlords. Landlords, both residential and commercial, who do allow entrepreneurs to grow on their properties will often increase rents to outrageously high prices. A desire to avoid these issues gives cannabis retailers a need for ideal places to grow—large warehouses, and even better—property. Cannabis businesses are least disturbed when the growers are able to own their own property. As a result, real estate prices, especially in the rural market, have skyrocketed in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. “Aaron Herzberg, partner and general counsel at CalCann Holdings, says ‘…marijuana properties are a hot commodity—a $2 million piece of land could go for as much as $10 million if zoned properly’.”4 This new demand for ideal grow properties has created a new breed of real estate investors and there is a lot of money to be made by those who can see and jump at the opportunity.
Many law makers and other government officials in states that have legalized recreational cannabis are singing the praises of their citizens’ progressive thinking. Tax revenues have far exceeded expectations in all cases, including Colorado, which brought in nearly $200 million in tax revenue in 2016 as a result of its $1.3 billion in marijuana revenue. Oregon, in its recreational marijuana infancy, still yielded over $7 million in tax revenue in 2016. Much of that generated tax revenue goes toward state education funds, state and local law enforcement agencies as well as mental health, alcoholism and drug services.
Not only can one find professional success in the cannabis market, but it has also proven value in another realm entirely: Health. The use of medical marijuana has long been criticized, however, it is most often by those who are uneducated and unaware of the legitimate role it can play in a person’s health. THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol—the chemical produced in the marijuana plant) has proven beneficial in the treatments of multiple sclerosis as well as stimulating the appetite for AIDS patients as well as treating chemotherapy side effects (especially nausea and vomiting) and cancer related pain. The over-prescribing of opioids is at near epidemic rates. According to the CDC, 40 people die every day from an opioid overdose. Could cannabis be the answer to this tragic issue? Numerous studies show significant reduction in opioid use for those who use cannabis to treat pain.5
Legalized use of cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally is still something under great scrutiny. Statistics have not necessarily always been recorded in a way to give us a completely accurate view of the benefits and perhaps downfalls of its use. But, like so many other issues we face every day, there is more than meets the eye. The marijuana plant grows on this earth as a part of the natural vegetation. We give such credit and validation to pharmaceuticals—most derived from chemical and unnatural substances. Perhaps first, we should pause, look around, and give thought to our surroundings. They may not be as “bad” as we think.
Blog by Becky Abrams
1Realtor.com. Will Legal Marijuana Give Home Prices a New High? http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/legalizing-marijuana-gets-housing-prices-high/
2Guardian Data Systems Blog. Cannabis Sales Forcast—What to Expect by 2018. https://guardiandatasystems.com/cannabis-sales-forecast-what-to-expect-by-2018/
3Forbes.com. Why Legal Cannabis Is 2015’s Best Startup Opportunity. https://www.forbes.com/sites/caroltice/2015/02/05/why-legal-cannabis-is-2015s-best-startup-opportunity/#489cda403f2c
4Inc.com. The Marijuana Business is Really the Real Estate Business. http://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/the-big-opportunity-in-marijuana-is-real-estate.html
5Ns.umich.edu. Medical Marijuana Reduces Use of Opioid Pain Meds, Decreases Risk for Some with Chronic Pain. http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/23622-medical-marijuana-reduces-use-of-opioid-pain-meds-decreases-risk-for-some-with-chronic-pain