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Survey: Half of Americans would buy a house next door to a cannabis dispensary

Al Urbanski
INSA springfield
The INSA dispensary near the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

When states began legalizing recreational cannabis sales and dispensaries, many retail center tenants and landlords equated them with liquor stores and wanted no part of them.

Those sentiments now appear to be diminishing.

A survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Clever, a real estate research and data company, found that 56% of Americans would consider buying a home that was next door to a cannabis dispensary, and that 72% percent were okay with living within a mile of one.

Indeed, nearly 70% of these respondents said they would pay market rate or higher for a residence situated near a dispensary.

“Cannabis dispensaries are nothing like the head shops that folks may have imagined them to be a few years ago.  Cannabis companies invest significant dollars in their locations and they tend to resemble Apple Stores,” said Barry Wolfe, a senior managing director at Marcus & Millichap who has sold 29 cannabis dispensaries over the past 18 months across multiple states.

Clever’s report revealed an American populace that harbors few of the concerns over legalized distribution of marijuana held by citizens 10 or 20 years ago. Seven out of 10 of those surveyed said they’d vote in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis. The same number said that they’d used cannabis at some points in their lives and were of the opinion that legalization would improve their states’ economies.

Author of the Clever report Sam Huisache expressed that Americans do not view cannabis legalization as that important.

“It ranked second to last in terms of priorities on Americans’ list of most pressing current political issues,” Huisache said. “Americans are more concerned than ever with their personal finances and overall safety due to record-breaking inflation and ongoing gun violence. They seemingly don’t have time to worry about what their neighbors are doing when it doesn’t actually impact them.”

Wolfe noted that landlords of centers across all sectors of retail real estate have come to appreciate dispensaries as vibrant generators of valuable traffic.

“The demographics of dispensary customers tend to be quite strong along lines of the clientele that many other retailers are actively courting,” he said. “Dispensaries bring lots of traffic to a property and they use high-end security to thwart theft and vandalism. That benefits their co-tenants as well.”

One question posed by the study’s findings, however, is whether such high validation of cannabis at retail extend into the future. Clever found Gen Zers, now between eight and 23 years old, to be 133% more likely than millennials to oppose legalization in any form.

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