The growing popularity of cannabis is now influencing the real estate market.
Unquestionably, the recreational use of cannabis is gaining legal and social acceptance. In 18 states and the District of Columbia, laws have been passed and signed making pot legal. Countries around the world are doing the same. As I have written before, support for these measures is growing across demographics and ideology.
But a recent survey by real estate company Redfin has cast a new light on just how rapidly the acceptance of cannabis has been growing. In the survey, nearly half of respondents (46%) said they would either prefer to live in a place where marijuana is legal or would only live in a place that is. That’s more than twice as many who would either prefer or would refuse to move to a place where it wasn’t (22%). Additionally, 32% said they didn’t care either way. Presumably, they don’t oppose laws legalizing marijuana when deciding where to set down roots.
In other words, only one in five people find living in a place where pot is legal objectionable.
Given these trends, more states and countries are likely to decriminalize, communities will find it increasingly acceptable, and the stigma will continue to lift.
So for investors, like myself, that are putting money into companies that legally and responsibly produce and market marijuana, there is a lot of upside. In the US, legal sales of cannabis reached $17.5 billion last year — up 46% from 2019. To put it in perspective, that’s 4x the value of US sales of bourbon, rye, and whiskey — which have also been on a tear. According to BDSA, a cannabis market research firm, marijuana sales in the US will surpass $24 billion in 2021 (another 38% year-over-year increase), and could hit $47.6 billion by 2026.
But, as with everything, investors should choose carefully. Look for companies with experienced and proven management, sound business strategies, and market capitalization that isn’t wildly out of step with the rest of the segment.
In other words, take your time and do your research, and be cautious of the high flyers.
Danilo Diazgranados is an independent investor in the global food and wine, financial services, real estate, and the hospitality sectors.