Cannabis and Real Estate

Since being legalized at the beginning of this year, the marijuana industry has seen a gigantic boom in the city of Chicago, surrounding areas and the state of Illinois. Michael Malcolm, broker at @properties and owner of, and Holly DuPart, broker and owner at RealtySmarts! Investment Services LLC and founder of the Common Sense Cannabis Foundation and Spark Clubs, shared insights on what to know about marijuana legalization now and for the future.

Understand the Legalese

Both DuPart and Malcolm stressed the importance of clients, REALTORS®, tenants and landlords knowing their rights when it comes to marijuana growing and use. “Recreational is different from decriminalization,” DuPart said. Marijuana is legalized, meaning it can be used for recreational purposes, but that doesn’t mean it’s decriminalized, as there are still laws about how much a person can have in their possession, where consumption can take place, restrictions on age of use, and more.

Anticipate Any Questions or Concerns

DuPart made it clear that it’s more important than ever to understand a clients’ desires, especially when it comes to marijuana use. If you walk down the hallway of a building and smell marijuana being used nearby, it could positively or negatively impact the showing and sale, depending on your clients’ perspective. A National Association of REALTORS® study from earlier this year showed that only about 29% of REALTORS® in the U.S. have experienced issues with selling a grow house — and those concerns were highest in areas where solely prescription marijuana was legal. “Many people who grow in their homes are now making investments to do so, including tents that eliminate any issues with lingering smells or other long-lasting issues,” Malcolm said. What if a dispensary opens on your block? Reassure your clients’ fears. “It’s not an issue about consuming on the property,” Malcolm said. “It’s more an issue of lines.” Legally, any product sold within a dispensary may not be consumed on the property — and in Illinois, may not be consumed on public property. The main issue for those in proximity to dispensaries is the potential for long lines outside of the building. Plus, according to the NAR study, 75% of residential property values and 67% of commercial property values near dispensaries were not impacted by the business’ opening or operations.

Look to the Future

Be prepared for industry growth in the future. “The industry is estimated to be between $2 billion to $4 billion annually once it matures,” Malcolm said. “There are tons of opportunities. Just like real estate, there are tons of ways to make money in [the marijuana] industry. I see a boom coming for REALTORS® — we should be excited.” Download NAR’s Marijuana & Real Estate Report.