There’s no better time to invest in Cannabis real estate than now. The Cannabis industry is booming, and more operators are searching for compliant zones to establish their Cannabis businesses. This has led to increasing demand for the limited supply of green zones.

However, just like every real estate investment, there are crucial factors to consider when engaging in Cannabis real estate investing to save your investment from loss, fraud, and government sanctions.

If you’re ready to buy Cannabis real estate but don’t know how to, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll clear the smoke in the air and show you the factors to consider and the step-by-step process required to acquire your own green zone.

Before we dive into that, it’s essential to understand what counts as Cannabis real estate and why you must exercise caution or work with an expert in this journey. If you’re looking for expert guidance, speak with our industry-leading Cannabis real estate professionals to secure your investment today!

What is Cannabis Real Estate?


Cannabis real estate is real estate used for the cultivation, sale, or distribution of Cannabis products. It’s that simple, but is it easy? No. A lack of federal legalization of Marijuana and state and local regulations have made it challenging to find these properties. 

This scarcity of compliant zones has led investors to buy regular properties based on speculation that they’ll become compliant areas in the future, and then they can lease to tenants or sell at higher prices. While this looks like a good strategy, it has more shortcomings than benefits.

The thing is, buying into Cannabis real estate goes beyond just finding compliant land. There’s so much more to establishing a business than just finding a suitable property. It is a highly regulated industry that is not in the same asset class as regular real estate and may not react to economic downturns like other real estate classes do.

You want to ask yourself, “What type of Cannabis business am I aiming for?” “Is this space good for business?” “What is the community’s acceptance of Cannabis like?” “How accessible is the Cannabis market from here?” “What about labor costs and accessibility?” All these must be considered if you want to invest in a real estate property that promises good ROI.

Nine (9) Steps on How to Buy Cannabis Real Estate


So, you’re ready to become a Cannabis real estate. Here’s a step-by-step guide to see you through this process and keep your investment safe from state and federal trouble.

1. Understand the Legal Landscape of the Cannabis Real Estate Industry

Although Cannabis has gained widespread acceptance and popularity in the past few years, it’s crucial to understand that, as of late 2023, it is still a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. It remains illegal federally. 

This conflict between federal and state laws has birthed stern rules and regulations that make it challenging for anyone to acquire Cannabis real estate or even establish a business in the industry. Some regions require you to prove your residency before owning Marijuana businesses. 

With that in mind, before you dive into buying Cannabis real estate, gain a deep understanding of the local, state, and federal laws governing Cannabis. Be aware of the legal status of Cannabis in your target location and ensure compliance with all relevant laws.

2. Define Your Investment Goals

Why do you want to invest in commercial Cannabis real estate? What do you want to do with the property? Are you trying to start a Cannabis business of your own or just looking for long-term income generation, property appreciation, or diversification?

Your goals will pave the way for your investment strategy, determine what type of real estate you buy, and ease up your property search.

3. Understand Local and State Zoning Requirements

Zoning is critical when investing in commercial real estate (CRE), especially for Cannabis-related businesses. Every state and municipality that has legalized and approved the sale and use of recreational and medical Cannabis has rules and regulations guiding where and how a Cannabis business can be situated before it can operate legally.

Sensitive uses include schools, daycares, parks, playgrounds, and youth centers, for example. Every municipality will have its interpretation of where these businesses can be located and how far they need to stay away from some of these Sensitive Uses. Some states’ Cannabis regulations also disqualify properties where certain animals, waterways, or vegetation may exist. Some regions also regulate the type of Cannabis activity that can be done in some areas.

These Cannabis laws are constantly evolving as Cannabis continues to gain more acceptance in more states. Work with an expert Cannabis real estate development agency to ensure your property is safe now and in the future.

4. Carefully Select Your Location And Property Type

Like any real estate venture, location is a top priority. For Cannabis real estate, it is even more vital to consider the location you’re buying, as this will influence other business decisions you’ll make in the future. 

The first question you want to ask at this stage is, “What type of Cannabis operation do I want on this property?” This question is crucial because different types of Cannabis businesses require different types of environments.

Cannabis cultivation, for example, may be great in rural areas, but if you’re trying to establish a dispensary or lease your property to a distributor, you should be looking at more traditional retail areas where you can reach more customers.

5. Shortlist Properties and Contact Property Owners

Once you have conducted thorough due diligence and are ready to buy a new Cannabis property, you can reach out to sellers offering Cannabis properties in the locations you want. A variety of options are open to you, including:

  1. Private Sellers
  2. Real Estate Agents
  3. Real Estate Developers
  4. Cannabis Operators
  5. Investment Groups
  6. Online Listings: Check out our Cannabis real estate listings near you.
  7. Local Governments
  8. REITs and Cannabis Investment Funds

You can save yourself the stress, time, and uncertainty of finding Cannabis real estate by simply working with a Cannabis real estate company. A company that not only helps you identify compliant properties but also manages the deal pipeline from purchase to business opening. Speak with our team at Zoned Properties today.

6. Conduct Property Suitability Analysis

Cannabis businesses require various types of properties to support their operations, depending on their specific activities within the cannabis supply chain. The suitability of properties can vary based on the local regulatory environment and the intended use.

For example, as a grower considering indoor grow operations, you’ll be looking at controlled environments with specialized lighting, ventilation, and irrigation systems. You must also consider neighborhood compatibility whether you want to build a retail store, warehouse, or product testing facility. You want to ensure the environment supports these needs.

7. Negotiate the Price, Close the Deal, and Obtain Title Insurance

Seek out prices of comparable properties in the area to give you a strong foundation for your negotiation. Property size, zoning requirements, and the fact that it will be used for a Cannabis venture can also affect the price you’d be willing to pay.

Once you’ve secured financing for the purchase, also secure title insurance. If any issues arise in the future that were not detected during the initial search, the title insurance company provides coverage and financial protection to you (the property owner). This protection helps ensure you have a clear and marketable title to the property, reducing the risk of legal disputes or claims.

8. Proper Tax Planning and Risk Mitigation Strategy

By understanding the legal landscape of the Cannabis real estate market, you must also consider the tax implications of buying Cannabis land. Collaborate with tax professionals in the acquisition process to maximize tax benefits and minimize liabilities. Explore opportunities for deductions and credits available in the cannabis sector. 

Effective property management, stringent lease agreements, and compliance with local regulations can mitigate potential risks associated with cannabis real estate. Lease terms can also include provisions for addressing regulatory changes that might impact the tenant’s business.

9. Plan for Exit Strategies

Planning for exit strategies in cannabis real estate is a prudent step to ensure flexibility and adaptability in changing market conditions and regulations. Cannabis entrepreneurs understand that this is a crucial step in the acquisition process due to the industry’s uncertainty.

There are several exit strategies to consider, including the following:

  • Sell the Property
  • Refinance
  • Lease Buyout
  • Sale-Leaseback
  • Repurpose the Property
  • Tax-Efficient Transfers

Selecting the most suitable exit strategy depends on your specific goals, market conditions, and legal and tax implications. Ensure to work with professionals experienced in both real estate and the cannabis industry to navigate the complexities of these strategies effectively.


In conclusion, mastering the intricacies of cannabis real estate involves a deep understanding of the real estate market and the evolving cannabis industry. This ultimate guide has provided a roadmap to help investors, property buyers, and entrepreneurs make well-informed decisions in this burgeoning sector.

From conducting due diligence and understanding zoning regulations to managing risks and planning exit strategies, the multifaceted nature of cannabis real estate demands a strategic approach. 

As the legal cannabis landscape continues to evolve throughout the U.S. and beyond, a team of experts, including legal advisors, financial professionals, and cannabis industry specialists, is vital for navigating this dynamic market successfully. The good news is you can get all that in one by working with our experts at Zoned Properties.