Last month, Sports Authority and Aeropostale became the latest major retailers to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announce store closures. While local economies can be negatively affected by the closure of big-box retailers, there is a budding business that, following a wave of legislative changes in many parts of the U.S., could stand to gain from the travails of retail: the marijuana industry.
One of the less-discussed impacts of the so-called retail apocalypse is that, with fewer stores in which to sell their goods, some retailers who get into financial hot water could decide to put warehouses or storage facilities on the market. In some states that have relaxed their marijuana laws, there is already a shortage of warehouse space due to the high demand for space to grow legalized marijuana. Could failing retail businesses provide the cannabis and warehouse industries with an unexpected spark?
On November 6, 2012, residents of Colorado and Washington voted in favor of becoming the first states in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Since 2012, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., also voted to legalize recreational marijuana and seven states have legalized medical marijuana, raising to 24 the number of states in which it is legal to use cannabis. In 2016, 11 states are slated to vote on lightening their marijuana restrictions.
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