Shares of marijuana industry focused landlord Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR) rose 19% in December according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. That’s a pretty heady gain for a one-month span, but it wasn’t actually all that surprising for this real estate investment trust (REIT), which was up an incredible 141% in 2020.
The backstory here is that the marijuana industry continues to expand as more and more states move toward legalizing the drug. Innovative is, at its core, a landlord, owning grow houses and other marijuana related properties. But that’s only half the picture, since what it often provides its tenants is access to capital. Using sale/leaseback transactions, Innovative allows companies to get property off their balance sheets, freeing up cash that can be used to pay down debt or to invest in growth initiatives.