Denver weed entrepreneur: My leases are for three times going rate

More than 4 million square feet of Denver warehouse space is occupied by cannabis growers, a property boom that comes with more than a few quirks.

“Traditional tenants don’t want to be next to marijuana businesses,” CBRE broker Paul Kluck said last week during the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Denver. “The real issue is odor.”

What’s more, big institutional landlords won’t rent to weed growers because of the federal ban on pot. And properties with mortgages typically have loan covenants that forbid cannabis businesses. That means only a tiny percentage of Colorado’s commercial property is open to pot businesses.

“Every space I lease is probably three times market rate,” ganjapreneur Pepe Breton said.

What’s more, landlords don’t pay for tenant improvements, leaving tenants to pay for any renovations.

Breton, for his part, is one of the new breed of cannabis entrepreneurs. He doesn’t partake in pot; he says he got into weed because it’s a business opportunity, not because he’s a reefer aficionado.

It’s unclear if any of this will apply to Florida’s budding marijuana industry. Unlike Colorado, Florida is heavily regulating pot, and opening access only to people with serious medical issues.

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