As a property owner, changes to the legalization of recreational marijuana creates a set of unique challenges. Across the United States, commercial real estate owners are faced with the need to strategically navigate this emerging industry. As of June 2023, recreational use has been legalized in 15 states and Washington D.C., while medical use has been legalized in 36 states. This presents a significant opportunity for profit and the safeguarding of existing interests. It is imperative that real estate owners take deliberate and calculated steps to capitalize on these developments while ensuring the protection of their investments.
Understand the Changing Legal Landscape
To embark on this journey, the first crucial step is to thoroughly grasp the legal landscape in your state and local jurisdiction. While recreational marijuana remains federally illegal, cannabis businesses face unique obstacles. Some areas to research are banking, taxation, and regulation. Moreover, each state has its own specific laws regarding licensing, zoning, taxation, testing, packaging, labeling, advertising, and consumption of recreational marijuana products. Additionally, local governments may impose further restrictions or bans on cannabis businesses.
- Minnesota has established an Office of Cannabis Management to regulate the sale of cannabis products in the state.
- Minnesotans who are 21+ years old will be able to possess up to two ounces of marijuana in public and two pounds at home starting August 1, 2023.
- Local zoning and limits create requirements to obtain a land use compatibility statement that authorizes the land use.
- The new law authorizes cities to operate municipal cannabis stores. This is a unique opportunity for Minnesota cities.
- Cities may prohibit cannabis business within 1,000 feet of a school, or 500 feet of a daycare, treatment facility, or a public park that is regularly used by minors.
Navigating Legal Risks and Liabilities
Commercial real estate owners should be aware of the legal risks and liabilities associated with leasing or selling properties to cannabis businesses. For example, violating federal law or contractual obligations can lead to federal forfeiture actions. Additional complications include civil lawsuits, insurance denials, or mortgage defaults. Meeting specific building codes, fire safety standards, security measures, odor control systems, and environmental regulations may also be necessary for cannabis operations. To ensure protection and compliance, consult with a cannabis law attorney before engaging in transactions with cannabis businesses. In any cannabis business, partnering with experienced professionals is wise. Make sure to conduct due diligence on potential tenants or buyers and reviewing lease agreements, insurance policies, mortgage contracts, and title documents will safeguard your interests.
Assess the Market Supply & Demand
To prepare for marijuana legalization, evaluate the demand and supply of cannabis-related commercial real estate in your area. The dynamic and competitive cannabis industry has diverse consumer ideals. These preferences, product trends, and regulatory changes could create areas to specialize. Factors like cannabis licenses, target market demographics, consumer demand, and competition impact property value and profitability. Conduct thorough market research, network with industry experts, and use reliable data for guidance. Alternatively, a broker can often provide this information to you. This could save you valuable time and energy to focus on your business.
Identify Your Niche and Strategy
The final step in preparing for marijuana legalization is to identify your niche and strategy as a commercial real estate owner. Depending on your goals, resources, and risk tolerance, you must determine your unique role in the cannabis industry. This includes deciding which segment of the industry to focus on, such as cultivation, processing, manufacturing, distribution, or retailing. Developing a concrete plan and aligning it with your resources and objectives will help guide your decision-making and maximize your success. In the event that you are ready to take the next step in this budding opportunity, Caspian Group is ready to listen and assist you in achieving your dreams.
Key Takeaways for Commercial Real Estate Owners in the Marijuana Industry
Marijuana legalization is a game-changer for the Minnesota commercial real estate industry. As shown, there are many new opportunities and challenges for commercial real estate owners. To recap, to prepare for marijuana legalization as a commercial real estate owner, you should:
- Understand the legal landscape
- Assess the market demand and supply
- Identify your niche and strategy
Embracing these considerations will enable commercial real estate owners to seize opportunities in the growing cannabis industry and prepare for any challenges. Furthermore, consulting with industry professionals and experts can facilitate a smooth and prosperous journey into the world of cannabis real estate.