Legal marijuana is having a dramatic effect on real estate in Denver, leading to the reinvigoration of the city's industrial areas while potentially making the rest of the city unaffordable for longtime residents. Commercial real estate firm CBRE tells the Denver Post marijuana "kick-started the recovery of the industrial market," leading to near-record high rents and low vacancies. Between 2009 and 2014, pot businesses accounted for more than a third of all industrial space leased in the city, and one in every 11 industrial buildings in central Denver is now associated with marijuana. "It's a new and disruptive industry, one that's making a huge impact—some positive, some negative—to mainstream businesses," says Jason Thomas, whose company specializes in real estate for pot businesses.
But while marijuana is being credited for helping bring Denver's industrial core out of the Great Recession, it's also being blamed for pricing residents out of the city. The New Republic reports housing prices in Denver are up 17% in the past year, and the city is lagging in everything from affordable to mid-price housing. Real estate broker JP Speers says millennials are moving to the city to smoke pot, while entrepreneurs are moving there to start pot businesses. “I do believe that there has been a huge amount of individuals who have moved out here specifically for the marijuana industry, and it has affected the housing market,” he tells the New Republic. (If you need to brush up on your marijuana knowledge, Snoop Dogg has you covered.)