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Finding a property for the purpose of selling, growing or manufacturing marijuana or marijuana goods is not like finding a space for your average retail location, according to Klein. A number of factors play a role when finding a location, including zoning and what is located nearby. For the cities of La Mesa and San Diego, city guidelines require a buffer zone between approved dispensaries, so, if a property is purchased in the right zone it can cancel out any other applications in the area.

Klein showed NBC 7 Investigates another property, located on the 8200 block of Commercial Street in La Mesa. Klein said the property was recently purchased with the intention for marijuana cultivation.

“For a traditional use, it should be a million dollar property but for medical marijuana, because it’s zoned and situated appropriately, [it’s worth] probably somewhere in the 2.5 to 3.5 million dollar range,” Klein said.

Klein said one of his clients, who is from Morocco, hopped on a flight to come to La Mesa, just to look at properties like the one on Commercial Street for the intent to start a marijuana business.

“I think a lot of people have the misconception that these businesses are run by a bunch of stoners and what we are seeing now is that these businesses are being run by professionals,” said Michael Cindrich, a San Diego attorney who has specialized in medical marijuana defense and representation for nine years.

“The money coming in isn’t money that was earned from illegal operations, this is institutional money, these are investors from hedge funds, people from Wall Street are coming to California to invest in this industry,” Cindrich said.

After La Mesa voters passed Measure U, the city held a workshop on January 9 to explain the application process for the public. The room at the workshop was packed with standing-room only.

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