In 2017, Erich Rubio took his experience as a California cannabis business owner and applied what he knew to real estate, a transition he’s called “life changing.” He co-founded Cannabis Real Estate Consultants (CREC), a real estate company in California, with partner Rick Payne. Since then, they’ve built an innovative, technology-driven company specializing in location intelligence to meet the unique real estate needs of the cannabis industry. Today, CREC is the number one firm in the space, earning the nickname “The Zillow of Cannabis.”
CREC is comprised of four divisions—in-house brokerage, compliance, technology, and government affairs. Together, they offer a veritable one-stop shop for operators and investors assisting them in securing properties, licensing, equipment, financing, regulatory compliance, and legal issues. To help people focus on building their businesses and teams, instead of getting stuck in the complexities of laws and zoning, and regulations inherent to cannabis real estate, Erich saw the opportunity to build a system—and a network—to meet their many needs.
“The cannabis industry is very complex, and there is not a lot of support when it comes to understanding what a city is doing or where cannabis is allowed,” Erich explains. “With our synergistic divisions, we’re able to provide wraparound services to those just entering the cannabis market to large multi-state operators looking to expand their licensed locations.”
And while, of course, Erich and his team are happy to help clients from beginning to end, clients may also select á la carte services as needed. “It’s a mixture of consulting and utilizing our brokerage and proprietary technology.” CREC’s innovative mapping tools allow them to take into account zoning laws, which can vary greatly from state to state or even city to city, while also finding the most viable and profitable properties for their clients based on that data.
Compiling years’ worth of research and information, they offer the CREC Portal, a subscription-based database available with the same information that their own agents use every day, including real-time maps, property listings, and information on regulatory laws. CREC has also developed a vast network of cannabis agents, something necessary in a nascent market, and provides them an invaluable resource with support, services, and opportunities. “Our agents work with other seasoned agents who have experience in transacting real estate, businesses, and conducting due diligence,” Erich says. While currently licensed with the department of real estate in California, CREC’s presence extends nationwide, and they send lead referrals to agents across the country and support them on getting the deal done through their CREC Network and infrastructure.
As he leads a growing enterprise, Erich’s favorite part of it all is watching the landscape of the cannabis industry emerge. “People relate it to the gold rush, but the cannabis industry has as much need for common services as other industries,” he says. “Building things that support a brand-new industry is exciting. If this is the gold rush, we’re providing the picks and shovels. It is amazing to be able to pave the way for cannabis.”
CEO & Co-Founder — CREC