Legal marijuana shops could boost nearby properties: experts

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Legal marijuana shops could boost nearby properties: experts
FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2017, file photo, James MacWilliams prunes a marijuana plant that he is growing indoors in Portland, Maine. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, privately signed the state's marijuana bill into law, making the Vermont the first in the country to authorize the recreational use of the substance by an act of a state legislature. The law, which goes into effect July 1, allows adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, two mature and four immature plants. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

TORONTO:  While Ontario landlords are looking to ban marijuana use in their rental units and several municipalities don’t want legal cannabis stores in their neighbourhoods, a U.S. study suggests that pot could lift property values.

Property prices for homes in Colorado close to shops that converted to recreational marijuana from medical marijuana in 2014 saw a roughly eight per cent boost, the study by professors based in Wisconsin, Georgia, and California found.

Experts say it’s too early to tell if Canadian homeowners can expect a similar effect, but note that retail locations could benefit neighbourhoods by driving foot traffic to merchants, as well as reducing crime.

The president of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations said Monday that landlords should be allowed to prohibit marijuana usage in their properties in Ontario, where proposed provincial law will limit pot consumption to private residences.

That comes after the Ontario government in December appeared to backtrack on its earlier statement that municipalities could not opt out of hosting marijuana stores as a City of Richmond Hill committee unanimously endorsed a statement saying it was not willing to host one.

Queen’s University real estate professor John Andrew says a legal cannabis store could potentially drive more customer traffic to nearby retailers, boosting interest in the surrounding area that may eventually spillover into the residential neighbourhood.