Marijuana law, what does the latest legislation surrounding pot do to affect the Maine real estate listing, selling process?
Since the state legalized marijuana at the polls, lots of balls to juggle went sky high up into the air. A few have dropped but many remain still hanging in mid air waiting. For clarification on how does Maine and its muncipalities actually move forward with legalized marijuana.
Back in 1999 Maine started allowing medical marijuana prescribing and limited possession of personal grass.
But much more to tackle and do's and don'ts on just how to administer such a marijuana program was needed.
To shape the policy for growing, licensing, testing, packaging, marketing, distributing and policing pot. For both sides of the coin. The medical care taker kind and the recreational adult marijuana regulations variety of eat or smoke. The statewide approach and then from a home town perspective to be hammered out and applied.
Over the years, in our day to day as a Maine real estate broker, what used to be hush hush and behind the scenes has suddenly become out in the wide open.
For so long, "Reefer Madness" and the evils of the saw tooth edge leaf plant caused much debate but its actual use was hidden. In high school I remember seeing a class mate wearing an orange jump suit, playing Frisbee with inmates. He was held behind bars at the local Aroostook county jail for possession of quantity of marijuana.
The few in my class that did smoke the left handed cigarettes kept to themselves and were pretty much out of sight. At the same time, legal alcohol consumption, drinking was voted in for eighteen year olds. Locally, there was a large back to the land movement that built their geodesic domes, had the dancing color bear stickers on their VW microbus bumpers. Listening to C,S.N & Y, the Mamas and the Papas, lots of folk music with healthy appetites for organically grown veggies.
In college at the University of Maine at Orono, twisting a marijuana joint or seeing a water bong out in plain sight on a coffee table was not so hit or miss or below radar.
Still not legal but campus authorities seemed to look the other way like they did for fraternity parties where alcohol was served. When kegs of beer were tapped, consumed seemingly without the needed 8 x 10 club license behind glass hanging on the wall.
Now marijuana in Maine has become a big cash business causing lots of issues. That conflict with federal laws and the work arounds to avoid arrests.
Handled below radar because banks are FDIC federally insured and and pot, the profits are not legal in the eyes of Uncle Sam who does not partake.
Reporting is needed for dank "stinky cash" that tellers catch a whif of when counting the stacks at the counter of Maine banks.
Many out of state real estate buyers are looking to cash in on indoor grows and outdoor cultivation of pot. States where it is now legal for marijuana are watching each other's models. Studying places like Colorado, Amsterdam, etc where it has been legal for some time.
Like gold rush fever to stake a claim or the Western race for farm land to homestead.
You sense the mood, the restlessness.
Many local and out of state growers, retailer wannabees are hoping to get in on the ground floor.
The state of Maine itself is considering the money to be collected that could roll into the coffers. Hoping to fund other areas of state government with taxes and fees levied on marijuana sales and administering the program.
Like the state lottery creates moneys for school education, the sin tax on pot sales is already being mentally earmarked for spending in many other state department budgets.
It is hard to miss in the news. Lots of propaganda about local control and fear of outside companies reaping the benefits of weed sales across state lines. It has all caused a considerable buzz in the main stream and social media outlets. Remarkable fast, the objection to pot in the media and public comment that lessened has led to statewide voter approval behind the curtain at the polls. But what to do on the local level if anything is what's on the table for debate and implementation or the wait and see do nothing.
Last week, during a state of Maine REALTOR convention and trade show held at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, one of the continuing education credit course offered was on medical and recreational marijuana.
It is complicated and evolving and a three instructor course, all lawyers stood upfront to run the slide show. The trio from one law firm and involved in shaping and educating communities on compliance.
Opting in, licensing, zoning, distribution, cultivation all discussed. One by one what different cities and towns around Maine are doing to set up the local component of legalized marijuana growing and selling were discussed. Where we are today in the Maine marijuana program is complex.
But back to the blog topic headline about how marijuana affects a real estate listing and sale in Maine.
Just a few years ago, I remember trying to unsuccessfully set up a showing on a house for sale in Littleton near Cary Lake. It was rented by a tenant that I inherited from the property owner when listed. Lots of phone calls, notes left at the premises failed to come up with a convenient time for the tenant to allow me to show the place to a prospective real estate buyer.
When the tenant did finally move out, during a showing I noticed in one bedroom closet there was an awful lot of tinfoil. Lining the walls from top to bottom on all three walls and the back of the closet door too! With reflective silver and an electrical plug receptacle added to run the electric heater parked on the upper closet shelf. The power outlets were I figured out to let there me light. Lots of growing light to help the no doubt young potted marijuana plants to grow big and strong with plenty of heat to similiar a warmer southern country climate.
The lack of a good time to show the property was not because the tenant did not want to have someone like it that would cause an eviction notice to be served.
It was the small personal illegal at the time grow detection in the bedroom closet that was his worry. For his "I hear you knocking but you can't come in" reaction to my requests to do a walk through real estate showing.
During our three hour seminar on marijuana and its impact on the real estate transaction, lots of questions were asked and answered.
The panel trio of attorneys each took a portion of the marijuana topic. Each well versed in what was presented from different angles.
Daniel Walker gave a good historical synopsis of early legisaltion and how it evolved into what we have today. Kristin Collins took over to discuss what the towns and cities she represents are doing to come up with local orginances to zone and handle licensing of marijuana growing and distributing.
It was interesting to hear about how other Maine towns are trying to allow local marijuana grows and customer traffic to not bother neighboring property owners.
Do you have to live where the carefully tagged and tracked plants are growing? Is the permitted place to grow local marijuana in a town's industrial zone to be out of sight of residential home owners? Is there a moratorium and wait and see approach to care taker medical or adult recreational marijuana in the town?
Lastly Matthew Warner, also from the same PretiFlaherty law firm took over up front to finish out the power point course.
His topics on the Cole Memorandum, the Controlled Substances Act and other relevant legislation is on the books or being modified.
Maine towns have to opt in and come up with the rules to play by with marijuana.
Hemp fields without the higher levels of THC are not so uncommon in many parts of rural agriculture Maine these days.
The towns or cities define the options to opt in or stay on the sidelines and still be in legal compliance with current legislation.
Attorney Warner also explained how hard total cash is to work with when a licensed marijuana grower wants to make a local bank deposit. Stinky cash is the term for what bank tellers have to be on the look out for whenever a big deposit of bills shows up in the lobby.
As a Maine real estate broker, when a property buyer wants to put $10,000 or more down, it causes all kinds of extra paperwork to track drug or terrorist enterprises. For both us and the bank where the earnest money deposit in cash comes through the front door of a real estate sale.
How to oversee the legal possession, distribution and compliance with state laws while knowing Uncle Sam, does not federally recognize pot as legal to grow and sell.
It has meant lots of public hearings. The subject is delicate like politics and religion in a conversation. To come up with a program that is state friendly but knowing federally not legal.
No matter which side of the fence or if you stradle both or are Switzerland for an opinion on marijuana in Maine, you have to know the law. When listing a place that had a grow or is licensed for one now. What is legally possible today and what has happened at the property that needs to be disclosed makes it one by one municipal discovery. To know everything is in compliance for the buyer and real estate property owner affected by the current marijuana legislation.
Buying a home when your income is solely from the growing and sales of marijuana makes for a problem if the purchaser needs bank financing. How do you prove you pay into the IRS income taxes based on a salary of a substance that is not federally legal?
How does a bank using FHA and VA federally backed and insured lending take in an occupation that is still deemed illegal by Uncle Sam?
Special lending credit unions and other financing sources for investors wanting capital to built up their marijuana enterprise is slow to be implemented. Because how far can you go and how creatively as a care taker or adult recreational vendor is not all crystal clear.
Marijuana, maybe lots of folks grew it in the back forty for their own personal consumption. But rolling out the red carpet to now make it a for profit, commercial enterprise adds lots of wrinkles. New jobs for lawyers helping towns set up the regulation process.
Marijuana. It's farming and your profit is in your expenses for the materials, the electricity for creating it. The licensing is part of the cost of doing business. Quality control, making sure you consistently get this or that strain out in the public as the end user that is ideal for this or that condition. What's your take on legal marijuana cultivation and resale for medicine or recreational use or both?
On the way back from the REALTOR convention and trade show of five hundred of my fellow agents and brokers, lots of hemp farm fields were observed.
Hemp is a whole other topic for another real estate blog post at a later date.
On the way back from Franklin and Somerset Counties to Aroostook, I also noticed retail outlets with catchy names for Easy Twist, Natural High, etc. Also in stores, displays for CBD oils that will cure what ails you. The roadway signs were obvious to peddle 420 friendly products to highway motorists that might like to turn here. Get off the road to get out and stretch their legs to come into the shop.
Stay tuned for more developments on marijuana legislation town by town opt in or stay out parked. Waiting, watching.
The added stress of implentation if a community opts in to medical or adult recreaiton marijuana dispensaries, cultivation licensing, testing, extractibles, edigbles, etc. It affects our real estate job when a buyer of a building wants to know if this is zoned for marijuana growing or retail. If it is not, where in your town is it okay and where are the rules on the size and running of a dispensary? And property disclosures if who is licensed for what is made public surrounding some element of local marijuana industry.
What if the neighboring property owner is a care provider for five clients or patients with medical marijuana?
Better let a buyer of a home know before the home sale.
Rather than find out about it a couple weeks after the SOLD sign has been riding on the sign in the front yard. Who bought, sold, used marijuana when it was illegal was a deep dark secret. With medical marijuana card prescriptions, with who you buy your lab tested CBD oils is from a list of nine providers in your Maine home town limits being publicly known.
There is no real season an agent or broker selling a property listing would not know what is going on with what's for sale or what is next to it surrounding the marijuana issue.
it's legal but ooh ooh that smell like the Skynyrd song croons. The smell of a marijuana grow is not all roses for the neighbors tapping into the exhaust fans two doors down in an area legally zoned for such a use. A neighbor who torches them, lights up a couple blunts during cocktail hour or all day long on the patio next door. That tid bit of information, the grass toking habit might change who buys the home for sale next to it. Just saying.
There is a lot of clear and not so worked out rule making for the marketing standards or limitation of how many a town or city offer.And where is this or that part of the marijuana law legal or taboo. Hope this blog post on Maine marijuana, where we have been, are now, and town by town headed is helpful!
MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton ME 04730 USA