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Cultivation Design in the Cannabis Industry


The need for a well thought out design is vital for the success of an organization, particularly for entrepreneurs.  Starting any new business can be fraught with challenges and the potential for failure, but also presents tremendous opportunities for success.  For a cannabis entrepreneur, the design for cultivation, processing, and dispensary operations can be one of the most crucial pieces to the formation of a successful organization.

Utilizing Capital Efficiently

As you begin your organization and start the design process, investors will want to examine each dollar, and how it’s being spent.  Having an accurate assessment of initial capital expenditures will provide a more realistic picture for actualizing solvency.  Knowing that dollars are being spent wisely will help to ensure that obligations are met, and fulfilled throughout the process.  Having to approach investors for more money after the initial design process could potentially cause investors to withdraw their initial offers.  It’s important to ensure that each aspect of the operation is accounted for, and accurately portrayed to interested parties.

     Changes to existing plans can be costly.  Architects and engineers will spend a great deal of time crafting the design of your facility.  Each aspect of the operation is spelled out in great detail for the final construction documents, and having to change those plans can be expensive to say the least.  Experienced engineering firms can help an organization avoid these costly mistakes through the use of software such as BIM, which helps find potential conflicts in the design process.  Knowing that electrical lines aren’t going to run into duct work can help avoid expensive adjustments during the construction phase.  Make sure you work with a skilled engineering firm to avoid these costly mistakes.

High Stakes Game

Depending on the location of your facility, the stakes can be particularly high.  States that have adopted restrictive regulations for licensing, tend to limit available permits.  While tight regulations create a comfortable sense of stability in the market, they also present more opportunities for design errors.  Each state has a different framework for cultivation requirements, and these differences can be nuanced.  It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the regulations to ensure your facility will be within accepted guidelines.  With organizations spending upwards of $1,000,000 pre-licensure for a chance at a permit, the stakes will undoubtedly be high.  Working with an experienced law firm will help to ensure that every aspect of your facility aligns with your state’s regulations.

    While poor design from a regulatory standpoint can be destructive to your company, failing to account for horticultural factors can be just as devastating.  Catastrophic crop loss can happen at any time, and having the foresight to design systems that minimize risk will pay off in the long-run.  Whether it’s pest incursions, equipment failure, or natural disasters; accommodating problematic occurrences can help ensure a successful operation. 

Increased Competition

As the industry continues its expansion, the level of competition becomes ever more fierce.  In order for an organization to maintain its presence in the long-run, it will be necessary to scale production as demand grows.  With wholesale prices dropping, it’s important to maximize output, while reducing overhead costs whenever possible.  Cannabis had been restricted to the underground for decades, and as more and more cultivators scale-up, the need to apply large-scale agricultural practices has never been greater.  More and more firms are turning to the conventional horticulture industry to source talent, and the results are paying off.  Designing an efficient work-flow will help to minimize unnecessary expenses, and create a more streamlined approach to production. 

    Facilities that want to have a focused approach to production will need to design with the end-product in mind.  There are a lot of variables to consider when designing workflow and systems, and each can greatly affect the final outcome.  Prospective entrepreneurs will need to do a lot of due diligence to ensure they’ve accounted for all of the variables that will affect the bottom line of their operation.  As competition increases, the need for unique branding becomes essential for gaining market share, and your facility design should complement the brand as a whole.  Whether it’s implementing sustainability practices in an effort to fulfill a greater mission, to producing pharmaceutical-grade medicine in a laboratory environment, the end product is the greatest influence on facility design.  Make sure each part of your design is complementing your brand and product.

    The challenge for entrepreneurs is finding a design partner that will work to ensure your brand and product are realized.  While several firms can provide a cookie-cutter approach and design, it will ultimately be in your best interest to work with a firm that suits your needs; after all, your success depends on it.


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