A new drug store in town: Medical marijuana dispensaries - by Ron Koenigsberg

October 02, 2018 - Long Island
Ron Koenigsberg,
American Investment Properties

More and more people are saying no to heavy painkillers and prescription medications and instead opting for organically grown cannabis to relieve chronic pain and anxiety.  This shift in mentality towards more natural medicinal remedies is beginning to have an impact on the drugstore landscape from a real estate point of view specifically with marijuana dispensaries popping up across L.I.

New York’s Medical Marijuana Program

These cannabis dispensaries that are operating like traditional pharmacies and wellness centers are supported by NYS’ medical marijuana program. The program includes a number of chronic conditions such as cancer, AIDS, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy and more. Additionally, just over a month ago, the state health department also approved the use of medical marijuana for any condition in which an opioid could be prescribed.

Long Island Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

New York is one of 30 states with legal medical marijuana programs, and with new talk at the state level of legalizing marijuana for recreational use this could be a very robust market driving high-demand for real estate space. To date, there are already two medical marijuana dispensaries on L.I.: MedMen in New Hyde Park (Nassau County) and Columbia Care in Riverhead (Suffolk County), and more to come with already four more dispensaries already approved by the state, two in Nassau County, and two in Suffolk County. Massachusetts-based PalliaTech has tapped a 3,000 s/f Carle Place office building to house Nassau County’s second dispensary. This specific property was chosen for its accessibility and proximity to the Northwell Hospital system.

Long Island CRE: How Will Marijuana Impact the Market?

The impact on the real estate market will only continue to grow with state approved medical marijuana and as talks regarding legalization of recreational use of marijuana continue. With an increase in demand for cannabis products comes an increase in the need for production facilities and dispensary locations Marijuana retailers in the eight states where recreational marijuana is legal have reportedly been seeking high-end storefronts to sell their product. However, due to the process of obtaining licenses to operate dispensaries and the amount of local and federal regulations involved, the biggest demand has instead been for cultivation space. Indoor marijuana cultivation in industrial space allows for a year-round crop, eliminating the issue of difficult environmental conditions. Industrial space has been the highest demand due to both cannabis growers and manufacturers seeking out industrial warehouses to cultivate and process the product. Although there is certainly risk involved, warehouse and industrial property owners will likely benefit greatly from the new marijuana business.

Ron Koenigsberg is the president of American Investment Properties, Garden City, N.Y.

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