Has Real Estate Gone to Pot?
It's been very interesting following the news over the last few years, watching various states wrestling over the legalization of marijuana. Some people have moral issues with this while others favor it, but my focus is whether or not the legalization of marijuana is good for a state's economy, Ohio real estate or any state's real estate for that matter.
Personally, I think it should be treated like any other controlled substance or alcohol, but apparently so many people want it and push for weed to be legalized it may be happening here in Ohio. Let's take a look at what it's done for Colorado.
Schools definitely affect house values, and now Colorado's schools (thanks to marijuana taxes) have been given $1.1 million dollars to Colorado's BEST program (Building Excellent Schools Today) which prior to the state legalizing pot had been floundering. Much of the funding has also gone to hire quality health workers and counselors for schools for substance abuse prevention where 95% of children are at risk.
The funds are given to schools through grant programs which has actually hampered some of the funds making their way to schools, but change takes time and the state's program continues to evolve.
More marijuana taxes are expected to make it to Colorado schools in the years to come, having only been legalized for less than a year but now that the program for school funding is underway the floodgates are expected to open. Colorado made so much money of marijuana taxes that the state is actually having to refund residents over $30,000,000.
That being said, if the legalization of marijuana is improving schools, which in turn help keep neighborhood's house values up it can be argued that legalizing pot is good for real estate in the long run. But what about living near a pot farm? Ohio has 11 such locations being targeted should the Buckeye State pass this controversial change.
To my mind, if the state has more revenue for schools, fixing freeways, city beautification programs, projects to attract more business, funding for removing abandoned eyesore properties etc. it should have a positive effect on real estate. I think in the end, it's just like "hate is an old idea" or consider how long it's taken this country to change it's thinking about race, religion, sexual orientation, and takes time, even decades for perception and thinking to change.
I'd ask people to keep in mind, this issue is an evolving one, as are the programs directing the tax funding's usage. If pursuing this means help for schools, and economic improvements in general expect to see growing support.
I also think of this way; how much less will taxpayers spend prosecuting legal adults over possession or usage? I think there are far more serious issues for law enforcement to deal with like heroin, crystal meth and other man-made narcotics. I love what Colorado is doing to get more quality health workers into schools to counsel and prevent substance abuse. It may seem strange but legalizing the infamous weed may in turn keep more children off serious drugs, and perhaps it's time cannabis sativa was treated like alcohol; not until you're a legal adult or have an Rx for medical usage.
Dayton, one of Ohio's largest metropolitan area's has a few "eyesore" communities with seriously distressed and abandoned or soon to be abandoned homes. A couple year's ago, Dayton proudly announced a $300,000 program to fix properties back to "livable condition", but come on; how far does $300k really go? Not far. Funds for marijuana taxes could not only help our schools, but help pull entire neighborhoods out of decline.
Interestingly, some are hotly contesting a marijuana farm site near Middletown, and I'm sure if you're from around SW Ohio you've heard about the humongous issue with heroin and overdose deaths, citing this would make it worse. If more children were properly educated about substance abuse via pot taxes and health care employees for schools, and funds spend on combating heroin and cleaning up the neighborhoods most affected by heroin we could see marked improvement. Personally, I don't see the heroin problem getting any better the way officials are currently going about it.
There are a ton of pros and cons to this idea, and the challenge is looking at both sides of the coin. Some say it would hurt venture capitalism and others say it's just immoral, but make no mistake; the movement is growing and not going away and I'm following this issue with great interest.
For or against, I would love to hear some thoughts and comments, feel free to leave one here.