Cannabis has become a real estate selling point

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Americans spend a whopping $40 billion every year shopping under the influence. But there’s a new high-dollar twist to that trend that realtors are hoping will be a billion-dollar bonanza for them.  

According to the latest Drunk Shopping survey, more than a quarter of Americans admit to shopping under the influence of alcohol. That’s some 53.4 million people making purchases under varying degrees of inebriation.  

The survey finds that 79 percent of alcohol consumers have made at least one drunk purchase, with clothing and shoes being the most common acquisition. Of course, it’s easier and preferable to shop under the influence online, and that results in purchases of everything from pets and vacation packages to furniture, and even cars.

Now, imagine that on a much larger scale ...

The real estate industry, which has used alcohol to lubricate potential buyers for decades, is turning a “new leaf”.

Due to certain legal issues, there is no official study on people’s spending when under the influence of marijuana, but here is some data on people grocery shopping under the cannabis influence.

And then this summer, Rodeo Realty partnered with Society Group PR and the Mota Group — a members-only club for cannabis creatives — to hold what they say is the first-ever "cannabis open house" in California.

Alexander Alic, founder and CEO of Society Group PR, told Business Insider the idea to “brand an entire house with cannabis” originated with him. 

“We’ll put cannabis plants in the MLS photos, we’ll have a trimming open house where brokers can get up close and personal with a cannabis plant and learn how to trim and cure it. And then we’ll throw a huge party where we have a bunch of cannabis activations from all these new brands and show people the evolution of cannabis.”

Some 100 invited guests gathered to enjoy cannabis-infused chocolates, gummies, and other edibles, and vape pens. They even took time out for CBD cream massages in between tours of kitchen cabinets and tubs. At the event, dubbed “The Greenleaf Cannabis Laboratory,” there was even a marijuana plant included in the home's listing photos.

The idea was to host a cannabis open house to lure more buyers to the $3.5 million home for sale. And apparently it worked. The agent got an offer on the home three days later, and it went into escrow within two weeks. That got everyone else thinking, of course. 

Real estate agents and developers are just beginning to use cannabis to appeal to buyers of luxury properties. Eleven states and Washington, DC, have now legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over 21, so the market is still limited. 

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Los Angeles for two years now and it seems that realtors and real estate developers are lining up to join forces. And their cooperation extends far beyond a simple Cannabis Open House. 

In July, Los Angeles luxury developer Ramtin Ray Nosrati announced five "marijuana mansions" to be finished by the end of the year. The homes will come with a cannabis conservatory featuring a ventilated, hydroponic cultivation gallery with a secret entrance. They will cost between $30 million and $40 million.

Not everyone will be thrilled with the cannabis-themed open houses, so realtors for now have to tread carefully. They risk alienating other potential buyers. 

According to the Gallup poll, 13% of Americans say they "regularly" or "occasionally" use or smoke marijuana. Even though the rate is significantly higher among the 18 to 29 age group, they are not exactly the perfect target group for multi-million-dollar homes.

Either way, just being in the news is a great PR move. Case in point: A recently sold house in Philadelphia featured a “sex room” in the basement. While the attention angered the neighbors, the listing had half a million visits in the first 24 hours.

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