New Jersey voted to legalize recreational marijuana Tuesday, setting the stage for a wave of cannabis-focused real estate investment in the state.
The ballot measure, which passed with 67 percent of the vote, paves the way for establishing rules related to regulating and testing cannabis and issuing licenses, including how many permits to grant and to whom, the New York Times reported.
The state legislature will need to act before dispensaries can legally sell to the general public, but New Jersey State Senator Nicholas Scutari told the Times that they’re “anticipating moving very quickly” on laws related to the ballot measure.
As more states have either legalized recreational marijuana or considered doing so, real estate investors are eying cannabis as an up-and-coming sector. As of 2019, there are around 10 REITs and private funds exclusively focused on the marijuana industry.
The cannabis market is also one of the few retail sectors to remain steady amid the coronavirus pandemic, with production facilities and dispensaries outperforming expectations.
New Jersey’s move also puts pressure on neighboring states, like Pennsylvania and New York, to make the push for legalization. Gov. Andrew Cuomo had identified it as a priority in his State of the State speeches earlier this year, but the pandemic upended that.
“I’m going to cheer on New Jersey,” State Senator Liz Krueger of New York and the author of a legalization bill pending in Albany told the Times, “and hope that it helps us beat them to the punch.”
[NYT] — Sasha Jones