Canadian real estate and Importance of 420 (Weed)
As a Canadian real estate investor or home owner, having “420” attached to a house is a stigma. 420 is the police code for marijuana, and Canadians intend to light up on April 20th at 4:20 PM weed and celebrate it as a tradition. As a real estate investor we do not want to own a piece of property where there is a major issue of weed, drugs or crime.
Marijuana, as we all know it is one of the most popular drugs in the world, and today is April 20th, also known as 4/20 or 420. It is a common practice to smoke marijuana at 4:20 on 4/20 but have you ever wondered how it all started?
The story behind 420:
In the 1970’s there were a bunch of high school students who believed that there was a stash of marijuana hidden somewhere in their school lot. After school ended at 4:20 PM the group would search for this stash of weed, but never found it. Eventually 420 was adopted as a code word for smoking marijuana, and in Vancouver on 4/20/1995, people held a day long gathering to promote the legalization of weed.
Some people believe that smoking weed is perfectly fine because it is such a common practice, but just because a lot of people do it doesn’t mean it is right. Penalties for smoking weed are generally fairly mild. For growing marijuana the penalties have a minimum of 2 years if you are growing more than 500 plants and can only increase from there.
Grow operations in houses can happen and sometimes even occur in houses that are being rented. According to the civil forfeiture law which is in effect in 8 provinces in Canada, the police may seize any property which has a grow op in it, even if you didn’t do anything wrong, you will lose your property.
Let’s say that you suspect the tenant of the property you invested in smokes marijuana, you may think that your property is fine but most likely it isn’t. Marijuana is a plant, and like many plants it needs a lot of moisture. Moisture usually results in mold buildup in the house and if mold has grown in the walls, it can affect electrical wiring, and can break down the dry wall.
Grow ops can contain houses that have holes dug in them to steal electricity from others, and even let the gasses released from the water heaters to get into the house to allow the plants to grow faster. The roof could be damaged by condensation and part of the house can be ruined by fertilizers and other chemicals.
As an investor, if you suspect anything suspicious is happening in one of your properties, it should be the most obvious on 4/20. 4/20 or 420 is a day where people celebrate the smoking of marijuana, but is also the day where it is the most obvious. If on 4/20 obviously some parts of the city will be smoking more than others, and it will be very easy to spot.
Any families looking to buy a home do not want it to be in a neighborhood linked with drug dealers and growers. Having crime linked to a home immediately decreases its value and along with all of the other factors mentioned earlier almost guarantee the property is not profitable. If the house you are planning to invest in is in an area of the city where you hear a lot of talk about weed on 4/20 it is most likely not a sound business decision. Just to bring awareness to Canadian real estate investors, here are 20 slang terms for marijuana, so if you hear them you know what they are talking about.
Blaze: Marijuana needs to be lit to smoke, thus creating a blaze
Blunt: Marijuana is rolled in a piece of paper and smoked, this comes from the Phillies Blunt brand of cigars
Broccoli: The marijuana plant looks like broccoli after it is harvested
Bud: The bud of the marijuana plant is smoked
Cannon: A cannon was used to fire marijuana over the US border
Doobie: Shaggy from the cartoon Scooby doo looks like he smokes marijuana.
Endo: The bottom part of the marijuana plant that have the most resin after it is dried
Fatty: The chemicals in marijuana are easily absorbed into the fatty tissues in many organs
Ganja: This is the Indian word for marijuana
Grass: Marijuana is green like grass, and looks somewhat similar
Left-handed cigarette: In Harlem New York, people called it a left handed cigarette
L Pape: The shape of the paper it is rolled in looks like an L
Mary Jane: Mary Jane sounds like the Spanish name Maria Juana, so it sounds like marijuana
Magic Dragon: The song Puff the Magic Dragon was thought to be about smoking marijuana
Pinner: A smaller roll of marijuana than a blunt and is rolled very tightly
Pot: Short for the Spanish “potoguaya”, which was an alcoholic drink where marijuana would be put in
Roach: The end of a marijuana roll used to hold it so the smokers fingers do not burn
Skunk: Marijuana has a very strong smell like a skunk’s spray
Spliff: A high quality marijuana roll
Weed: The US outlawed marihuana, and called it weed, like something unwanted in a garden.
It is the responsibility of a Canadian real estate investor to do proper due diligence before you invest in any neighborhood 4/20 is a great tell tale sign which can make it obvious for you that certain neighborhoods are more prone to drugs and weed. The appreciation of those areas which are infested with drugs and marijuana are a lot less and not desirable by decent tenants.
As a Canadian real estate investor use every possible legal means to investigate the neighborhood, crime & drug stats, as well as history. Local police, provincial police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police may have some information which can be helpful to do your due diligence.
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