Cannabis in Our Communities: The Positive Effects of Legalized and Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has proven to beneficial to those that are sick and in need of helpful pain relief, but there has also been some after-effects after its legalization in a number of different states.

As Washington for weed points out, it has been an arduous route to legalization in the Evergreen state, but the anticipated launch of its recreational cannabis program, means that another state has declared a level of tolerance and acceptance.

Could marijuana represent a new form of retail growth?

There have been a number of high-profile retail casualties during tough economic trading conditions, and plenty of independent retailers have also fallen by the wayside.

There is no question that some local economies could witness a detrimental impact on their local economy and infrastructure, following the closure of some big-box retailers, but thanks to a raft of recent changes in legislation, marijuana could turn out to be an unexpected savior and provide some much needed rent and turnover.

As a growing number of states are authorizing the sale of legalized cannabis in some form or another, this is helping to create a retail phenomenon that can offer some serious growth potential.

If you take Colorado as an example, the first year sales of marijuana for recreational use were an impressive $699 million, followed by a virtual doubling of that figure the following year. Compare that sales growth with the fall in warehouse vacancy ratios in the same period, and you can see that marijuana has the unexpected potential of boosting a local economy.

Good for taxes

You could also construct a reasonable argument to suggest that there is a positive benefit to legalizing recreational marijuana, from several tax-related perspectives.

The most obvious benefit would seem to be the fact that the states who have taken the step of legalization, have witnessed an increase in tax revenues as a result.

There is also another potential positive aspect to consider, which is that not so many tax dollars might need to be spent applying policing resources to chase individual users and petty dealers, who would no longer need to operate in the shadows of the law anymore.

If the retail growth figures for certain states can be replicated elsewhere in the country, this does have the potential to create a growth industry that will be a boost to employment and other areas where tax revenues may well benefit from the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Investment opportunity?

There have been reports of tenants in the marijuana industry agreeing to pay rents that are as much as two to three times above the average paid by tenants in an alternative mainstream industry.

This has prompted some investors to look at ways to get involved in these lucrative leases, with the launch of a REIT for example, which holds a portfolio of warehouses that are now being used for the production and distribution of legalized marijuana.

When you look at developments over the last few years, you could argue that there are definitely some positive effects attached to legalizing medical and recreational marijuana.

Karen Martinez is studying journalism at college. As well as her essays for college, Karen also writes articles which appear online; often focusing on topics which are in the news.