Will pot shops really harm Massachusetts property values?
Some are worried, but the numbers in towns with medical marijuana indicate that fears may be misplaced.
Bryan McGonigle [email protected] @GtownRecord
As towns across Massachusetts debate how to handle the newly legal recreational marijuana industry – whether by zoning restrictions or outright ban – one topic that often comes up is the potential impact of marijuana facilities on local home values.
North Andover recently placed a ban on recreational marijuana establishments after Massachusetts Innovation Works proposed a large-scale cannabis grow and research facility for Osgood Landing, the former Lucent manufacturing plant. Opponents of that facility expressed concerns that local home values would plummet if it were approved.
But that has not happened where pot businesses are already open.
“It seems to be the big bad wolf that wasn’t. No one is running away from the pot,” said Lisa Sevajian of Bentley’s Real Estate, who handles property sales across the North Shore and southern New Hampshire. “The pot shops haven’t caused an uproar where people are saying, ‘Oh my God, get me out of here.’”
There’s no data on recreational pot businesses, since those haven’t yet opened. But medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts in 2012 – after a debate that also involved fears for home values – and dispensaries started popping up in 2014.
So we looked at some data from the past few years in towns that have medical marijuana businesses and compared them to similar towns that do not, using average list price per square feet and number of days on market, before and after those marijuana businesses opened.
Town officials in Georgetown first gave the green light for Healthy Pharms to open a medical marijuana cultivation and dispensary business in the spot of what was once an envelope factory on the edge of town near Rowley