When Loans Go Wrong: Washington Cannabis Property Foreclosures

It is difficult to talk about Washington cannabis grows without considering real estate issues for the many companies and individuals that lend or want to lend funds to cannabis businesses. As indoor cannabis growing facilities sprout throughout Washington state, a growing issue for both private and institutional lenders is which method of foreclosure to pursue when the borrower defaults on the loan—judicial or non-judicial?   

Generally, when a lender lends money, the borrower must provide the corresponding real estate as collateral to the lender so that in the event of the borrower’s default, the lender can foreclose on the real estate. A deed of trust with the power of sale is usually prepared to secure a lien; and, at the time of default, the lender can choose to foreclose judicially or non-judicially.      

In Washington state, the predominant form of foreclosure is nonjudicial foreclosure. The corresponding statute can be found under the Washington Deed of Trust Act, chapter 61.24 RCW.  Nonjudicial foreclosure is considered more lender-friendly because it is a more efficient and speedier method to foreclose on real estate.   

However, lenders be beware! If the real property is used primarily for “agricultural” purposes

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