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Nearly half of Americans would prefer to live in a state where weed is legal, according to a new survey conducted by real estate company Redfin.
This August, Redfin surveyed 1,023 Americans who moved to a new home within the 18 months prior to the survey. Interest in relocating to a new home has surged since the pandemic began, as the freedom of online work has allowed people to prioritize affordability over having a shorter commute to work. This summer, about 30 percent of people who were looking for homes on Redfin said they were looking to move to a different metro area, up from 26 percent before the pandemic.
"People take the politics of a place into consideration when deciding where to move, but the truth of the matter is that other factors including housing affordability and access to jobs and schools take priority," said Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr in a press release. "Oftentimes this means someone will move from a blue state to a red state (or vice versa), but choose a home in a neighborhood where most people hold the same political views as they do. Austin — a liberal Texas enclave that's attracting scores of left-leaning folks from pricier coastal cities — is just one example."
To get a broader picture of what factors influenced peoples' decisions to relocate, Redfin asked participants whether individual state laws on abortion, discrimination, or adult-use cannabis impacted their decision to choose one state over another. Overall, most people said they preferred living in states with more liberal laws. Most respondents (55 percent) said they wanted to live in a state with voter protections, 49 percent said they preferred states that prohibited discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, and 40 percent wanted to live in states where abortion is fully legal.
Most Americans also consider the legal status of weed to be an important factor when considering a cross-country move. A solid 46 percent of respondents said they wanted to live in a state where cannabis is fully legal, and out of that total, 12 percent said that they would only live in an adult-use state. Less than a quarter of all respondents said they would rather live in a state where weed remains prohibited, and around a third of participants said they didn't care whether pot was legal or not.
Beyond the obvious perk of being able to buy legal, safety-tested cannabis from a local business, there are many other great reasons to live in adult-use states. Despite prohibitionists' claims to the contrary, legal-weed states tend to have higher property values and lower crime than states where pot is still illegal. One research study reports that home prices in Colorado and Washington state climbed by as much as 15 percent after those states legalized adult-use sales, and a study from Denver found that homes adjacent to pot shops are worth 7.7 percent more than homes that are not near dispensaries.
Several studies have also found that violent crime has decreased in states that have legalized weed, especially in states that border Mexico. Other research demonstrates that cannabis dispensaries do not attract crime, and that police actually solve more crimes in states where pot is legal. And a new study released this month suggests that these earlier studies even underestimate the impact of legal weed on crime reduction.