At the height of lockdowns and quarantines, it quickly became apparent that what was considered essential expanded far beyond first responders and hospital staff. Truck drivers working long shifts to get goods to supermarkets, and the employees stocking shelves with those products quickly rose to the top.
Another business that quietly made the essential list was medical marijuana dispensaries. In many states where medical marijuana is legal, including Florida, the dispensaries were allowed to remain open through the shutdown.
In fact, many dispensaries expanded their operations to get products to regular and new clients, many of whom were diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety linked to the stay-at-home orders, via delivery services and drive-thru windows.
Getting to that point, though, was no easy task, primarily because the cannabis business operates in a grey zone. Although some states have legalized medical marijuana, the substance remains a controlled one on the federal level—and how stringent the feds follow that law depends greatly on who happens to be inhabiting the White House and who is Attorney General.
While there are indications in many regions around the country that the medical marijuana business is steering property values upward, there’s a fair share of risks and considerations for landlords looking to lease space to dispensaries and growers.
For a CRE owner to get involved in the marijuana business, it’s imperative to make sure that all T’s are crossed, and I’s are dotted.
One of the first issues is if the owner is carrying a mortgage. If so, it’s imperative to review if there is a clause in the terms of the loan that stipulates that the borrower, the property, and its use will comply with “all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.”
Because there is a disparity between how marijuana is viewed at the federal and state levels, and because federal law technically preempts state law, many banks are less likely to allow a borrower to lease to any party involved in the marijuana business. The cannabis-related leasing deal may be dead before it is even on the table.
Similarly, the property owner may have to seek alternative funding sources for the property as long as the lease with the marijuana business exists.
Even without a mortgage, there are some additional issues, outlined by the American Bar Association, that the landlord should consider:
If a property owner is interested in leasing to a marijuana-related business, there are a few clauses to consider within the lease terms. While many of these may seem obvious, putting them in writing indicates the owner has taken steps to ensure the lease is following the law and eliminating any grey areas or misinterpretations of the landlord’s position.
Although the road to legalized medical marijuana in Florida has been a long and rocky one, its presence is seen as a boom for the commercial real estate market. Still, there are key areas of concern that all parties must examine before entering any leasing agreement. The pros at Morris Southeast Group can help both landlords and tenants negotiate the legal twists and turns.
To learn more about what Morris Southeast Group can do for you now and in the future, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.