Before you build

Three key real estate tips for cannabis entrepreneurs


architecture and home renovation concept - builder with blueprint shaking partner hand

Real estate is one of the most important considerations if you are going to be operating a cannabis business. It is one of the first factors entrepreneurs should consider before applying for a business license.

Currently, the market is very competitive. Cannabis is a multi-billion-dollar industry that will continue to grow at an exponential rate. When I opened my first dispensary in 2009, all I had to do was fill out a one-page sales and use tax certificate and I was in business. Today, applications can be thousands of pages, and often there are 10 times as many applicants as there are available licenses, so finding the right property is essential to your success.

Here are three steps to turn your property investment into a prosperous endeavor.

number-1Assemble Your Team

A knowledgeable real estate agent and a local general contractor will have the expertise and the connections to help you find the right property. Their comprehensive understanding of local building and zoning department processes will prove invaluable in getting things done quickly. This might not save you any money, but it will save you the legwork and put you one step closer to building a successful cannabis business.

Realizing the value of real estate in the cannabis industry, Tom Buggia set up Columbia Valley Farms in Othello, Washington, which now houses 16 licensed grow operations. Photo by Ken Pedevilla.

Realizing the value of real estate in the cannabis industry, Tom Buggia set up Columbia Valley Farms in Othello, Washington, which now houses 16 licensed grow operations. Photo by Ken Pedevilla.

number-2Research State Rules and Regulations

Even before real estate regulations have been released, there are some good rules of thumb to follow to ensure your location meets requirements.

number-3Invest in the Community, Win as a Business

Real estate is much more than a property; it is your community connection as a business. You can have the perfect location with all your desired features, but you still need community support to succeed. Here are some innovative ways to make a positive impact in your neighborhood.

The cannabis industry is not just a new industry, but a new kind of industry. It originated in grassroots advocacy and is deeply connected to a diverse community of patients, activists, consumers and entrepreneurs. If you are serious about joining this industry as a business owner, start out on the right foot with the right plan.

Diane Czarkowski is a founding partner of Canna Advisors, a cannabis consulting firm with a track record of serving businesses in competitive, emerging markets. An industry leader and insider, she owned one of the first dispensary and cultivation operations in Colorado and has more than a decade of experience in real estate development. She can be reached at


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