People Prefer to Live in Cities with Legal Cannabis by a Wide Margin According to New Redfin Survey
Whether or not a city has decriminalized cannabis plays a tremendous role in where people choose to live.
Last November, Gallup released the results of a poll revealing that support for legal cannabis is at a record high. With more than 2 in every 3 Americans backing it up, it’s no surprise that more people are now using its legality when determining where to live, or their preference for it.
In October 2021, a survey by Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm, revealed that 46% of respondents said they would “prefer to live” or “will only live” in an area where cannabis has been legalized. Meanwhile, 22% of respondents said they “would not” or “prefer not to” live where cannabis was allowed only for adult use. Redfin adds that cannabis policies are indeed significant factors considered when people decide where to move to but there are also other considerations. “People take the politics of a place into consideration when deciding where to move, but the truth of the matter is that other factors including housing affordability and access to jobs and schools take priority,” explained Taylor Marr, Redfin Deputy Chief Economist
Legal Cannabis Drives Home Values Up
However, living in a place with legal cannabis also means that housing is pricier. Research from the US Census, Zillow, and other resources reveal that “home values increased $6,338 more in states where marijuana is legal some form, compared to states that haven’t legalized marijuana.” Additionally, the study found that home values jumped $470 for every million dollars in tax revenue taken from cannabis sales.
“Between April 2017 and April 2021, property values rose $17,113 more in states where recreational marijuana is legal, compared to states where marijuana is illegal or limited to medicinal use,” they found. In the case of states that have already legalized cannabis but have not yet started selling it, “home values are predicted to increase by an average of $61,343.”
“Home values increased $22,090 more in cities with recreational dispensaries, compared to home values in cities where recreational marijuana is legal but dispensaries are not available,” said the study. “With each new dispensary a city adds, property values increase by $519.”
“When we controlled for other factors, we found that home values in areas that have legalized recreational marijuana leapt by $17,113 more than places where marijuana is illegal or only allowed for medicinal use. Even when we limited the comparison to recreational versus medicinal legalization, this disparity persisted. Places that legalize recreational marijuana saw home values increase by $15,129 more than those that only legalized medicinal use.”
“This demonstrates that it is not simply the benefits of increased tax revenue, but also the existence of the dispensaries themselves, that is driving the price increases,” explain the researchers. “The dispensaries act as commercial amenities that the public puts a premium on being nearby.”
Legal Cannabis Benefits The Economy
The housing cost increase linked with legal cannabis may be justified when you consider that places with legal cannabis are safer to live in. Research shows that crime rates have been reduced when cities legalize cannabis.
June 2020 research by the National Institute of Justice on the Effects of Marijuana Legalization on Law Enforcement reveals that “legalization has apparently coincided with an increase in crime clearance rates in several areas, suggesting that legalization may result in a net positive redistribution in police human resource allocation. In addition, fewer persons are being processed by the criminal justice system on nonviolent marijuana possession offenses.”
On top of that, enforcing federal cannabis laws is already costing law enforcement as much as 7 billion dollars annually. When more states legalize marijuana, law enforcement would have to worry about spending significantly less because the costs associated with enforcing cannabis laws would be less. There would also be way less court cases that involve cannabis, with less people going to trial, less people going to jail, and all of these only result in benefits – especially in the form of money that has been saved.
Meanwhile, living in a cannabis-friendly destination can also provide better access to jobs. These jobs are not limited to the cannabis industry, but also for many others. A study conducted by the Marijuana Policy Group and RCG Economics shows that in Nevada alone, legal recreational cannabis could be responsible for supporting more than 41,000 jobs through 2024, while generating over $1.7 billion through labor income. Additionally, the ICF says that there are at least 81,000 additional jobs, including direct, indirect, as well as induced jobs, available in California because of legal cannabis sales which have also contributed to a minimum of $3.5 billion in labor income.
Furthermore, legal cannabis can significantly improve investment portfolios around the country and beyond. At the moment, cannabis is illegal federally but cannabis companies are already trading on various public stock exchanges. Once cannabis is legal nationally, cannabis companies will be able to list all their stocks on all kinds of US exchanges which would improve liquidity and open up access to investors anywhere.
There is still a lot of uphill battles to fight when it comes to legalizing marijuana. But when you see the impact that it makes, seeing the small picture and even the big picture, you’ll see that the benefits outweigh the risks. You’ll have a nation of healthier, happier people with more access to jobs, reduced violent crime, and a better healthcare and justice system.