Cannabis Design and Construction are Team Sports

Basketball, football, cannabis. What do these things have in common? They are all team sports. With the rigorous requirements for dispensary and grow facilities as well as the massive boom in the cannabis industry at the moment, “much like the complexities of operating a cannabis company itself, construction is no simple undertaking. Projects move like freight trains: There are thousands of decisions to make, and once you gain momentum, it’s difficult to stop on a dime.” Cannabis Facility Construction Principal Andy Poticha and Robert Spence of 4Front Ventures/Mission Dispensaries and Mission Calumet City Cannabis Dispensary break down fielding the right team for the job to cover your bases and produce the winning result in this Cannabis Business Executive article.

Pot shops are starting to resemble Apple stores

Our Principal Andy Poticha was featured in an article for Crain’s Chicago Business where he discussed how design in the cannabis dispensaries are becoming more high-concept and starting to resemble Apple stores and how COVID-19 has influenced that design, “You have to think about a separate place to have preorders filled versus having people shop in the store. You might come in one way, go out the other. I’m not sure the size of stores will change much. You’ll need more back of the house than floor space.” Andy said.

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/marijuanacannabis/pot-shops-are-starting-resemble-apple-stores

 

Cannabis Facility Construction Completes Construction of New Flagship Dispensary for Greenhouse Cannabis

NORTHBROOK, IL (OCTOBER 5, 2020) – Cannabis Facility Construction (CFC), a national, full-service, cannabis design-build construction firm based in Northbrook, IL, has just completed construction of a new recreational and medical cannabis dispensary for Greenhouse. The new flagship dispensary, located at 755 Skokie Boulevard in Northbrook, IL, opened to the public on September 29 and offers 9,982 square feet of finished space.

“It’s been an honor working with Greenhouse on this new flagship dispensary offering an enjoyable, high-quality customer experience,” said Andy Poticha, Principal at Cannabis Facility Construction. “As their design-build partner, our team has delivered dispensaries for Greenhouse across multiple states over the past six years and we are tremendously excited to deliver yet another, this time right in our own backyard.”

Construction commenced in May, revitalizing the site and the surrounding area that had been vacant for quite some time.

The location’s sleek, modern, industrial design represents a new look for the Greenhouse brand and features an open floor plan with high vaulted ceilings, skylights, abundant natural light. The point of sale stations, consultation areas and easy-to-browse product displays provide ease and comfort for social distancing and complement the wood and masonry structure.

In order to create a differentiated and welcoming customer experience, careful consideration has been given to both customer traffic flow, and the reality of social distancing with all points of sale six feet apart, so transactions take place with proper space between people at the counter. In addition to the retail space up front, the location also includes back office space, a secure, oversized vault for substantial inventory storage and a highly advanced security system.

CFC’s work complements exterior infrastructure improvements that happened simultaneously, revitalizing the surrounding area with natural landscaping, a retention pond, large parking lot, and new turn lane from Skokie Boulevard.

A leader in serving the construction needs of the cannabis industry since 2015, Cannabis Facility Construction has built more than 30 cultivation centers, processing laboratories and retail dispensaries customized for the needs of medical and recreational cannabis clients in 10 states.

For more information on CFC or to connect with principals Andy Poticha, Ira Singer, and Mike Frazin, please visit www.cannabisfacility.net.

Cannabis Facility Construction Starts Construction on New Mission Dispensaries Location in Calumet City, IL

Latest Project Represents Multiple Projects with 4Front Ventures in IL, MI and MA

CHICAGO, IL (SEPTEMBER 23, 2020)Cannabis Facility Construction (CFC), a national, full-service, cannabis design-build construction firm based in Northbrook, IL, is excited to announce the start of construction on a new Mission Dispensaries recreational and medical dispensary for 4Front Ventures Corp. in Calumet City, IL.

“As their preferred design-build partner, Cannabis Facility Construction has delivered multiple dispensaries for 4Front Ventures in Ann Arbor, MI, Georgetown, MA, and on Chicago’s South Side,” said Andy Poticha, Principal at Cannabis Facility Construction. “We value our continued relationship and are excited to revitalize this new building and create a beautiful space with great street presence in Calumet City.”

Construction on the new dispensary, located at 1330 Torrence Avenue, across from River Oaks Center in Calumet City, commenced in early September and is expected to be complete by mid-December.

This new location for the brand offers plenty of parking and approximately 3,000 square feet of finished retail space, back office space for processing, a secure, oversized vault for substantial inventory storage, and a highly advanced security system.

According to Robert Spence, Director of Facilities at Mission Dispensaries, “Cannabis Facility Construction has been an incredibly collaborative partner during the construction process, working seamlessly with our team on the design and zoning process on this and multiple projects across the country.”

A leader in serving the construction needs of the cannabis industry since 2015, Cannabis Facility Construction has built more than 30 cultivation centers, processing laboratories and retail dispensaries customized for the needs of medical and recreational cannabis clients in ten different states.

For more information on CFC or to connect with principals Andy Poticha, Ira Singer, and Mike Frazin, please visit www.cannabisfacility.net.

Building Your New Dispensary: Avoiding Common Design-Build Mistakes as a New Licensee

So you’re planning a new cannabis dispensary – congratulations! Whether this dispensary is your entrepreneurial dream come true or you’ve been down this road before, once you confirm your license, you’ll want to begin building out your location as quickly as possible. Our teams, currently building dispensaries across Illinois and other States, can help steer you through the unique maze that is the cannabis construction process.

Building a new dispensary is not as simple as it sounds. Dispensaries must offer the security of a bank branch, the compliance of a pharmaceutical company, and the aesthetic of a high-end retailer.

As experts in the design-build construction of cannabis facilities, our teams have been in the trenches building dispensaries, cultivation centers and processing labs since 2015, including a national flagship dispensary in Northbrook, currently under construction. We have been involved in more than 30 dispensary, cultivation center and processing lab projects in nine states since 2015. Currently, we are leading renovation projects that offer more than 35,000 new square feet of cannabis cultivation and dispensaries customized for the needs of both medical and recreational cannabis customers.

Here are a few ways you can jump ahead of the curve:

Differentiate the customer experience. Buying cannabis in a regulated dispensary should feel easy, welcoming and natural. Designing for the customer experience, creating welcoming sales environments, while remaining compliant with regulations, is where dispensaries differentiate themselves from the competition. One reason this is so important: with strict supply chain rules in place, many cannabis products are highly commoditized. If your product is a commodity, the customer experience becomes even more important.

Prioritize compliance or suffer the consequences. To maintain product supply and operational retail sales, stick to strict protocols and carefully follow building codes related to the handling, storage and distribution of cannabis throughout the supply chain. In Illinois, building code inspections are unique to each municipality, with enormous differences from one community to another. Be sure your design-build construction partner knows the right questions to ask, and the pitfalls that could come up at each inspection milestone.

Use a design-build approach. Design-build integrates your design and construction teams from the beginning, reducing surprises and streamlining your budget throughout the process of envisioning and construction your dispensary. When your architect and contractor are working together, you’ll find you have more time to focus on running your cannabis business, with less time spent in meetings about your space. In addition, a design-build model allows for a single point of accountability. At CFC, we use our four-step design-build process to ensure alignment and high-touch customer service throughout your project.

Your contractor shouldn’t be learning on the job. Your design-build construction partner should be respected in the industry and be able to speak to ‘tales from the trenches.’ While legalized recreational cannabis may be new to Illinois, there are companies like us that have been building for both medical and recreational cannabis for many years. You should never have to hear ‘let’s learn this together.’

Don’t let the pandemic get you down. As an essential business, construction has been building cannabis facilities throughout the COVID-19 shut-down period and continues today. With the right protocols in place, there’s no reason the construction of your dispensary can’t press forward. To understand more about how our crews stay safe, you can read our National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) blog post from June 2020 on how to expand or renovate your cannabis facility while observing social distancing.

Choose a contractor with experience. For nearly five years, CFC has worked with numerous cannabis companies, including vertically integrated multi-state operators (MSOs). “Partnering with CFC, we have been thoughtful about connecting the design/build process with our customer experience and compliance objectives,” said Mitch Kahn of Greenhouse Cannabis. “Together, we identified and solved potential issues early in the design/build process, so that the build-out is supportive of sales, security, and being good neighbors in our communities.”

Need more resources on the design-build dispensary construction process? Here are a few suggestions:

NCIA PODCAST:

https://thecannabisindustry.org/podcasts/cannabis-facility-design-and-construction/

KNOW BEFORE YOU GROW:

https://rejournals.com/know-before-you-grow-secrets-of-successful-cannabis-facilities/

KEY SUCCESS FACTORS:

https://www.areadevelopment.com/construction-project-planning/Q1-2020/key-success-factors-for-building-cannabis-processing-center.shtml

While cannabis continues to be a fast-paced industry with changes on a daily and weekly basis, it’s no longer brand-new. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have a guide who knows the right questions to ask and can keep you from repeating mistakes of the past.

For more information on working with our Cannabis Facility Construction experienced teams, you can request a consultation here and one of our team members will get back to you immediately.

Construction On Cannabis Dispensary Begins

Greenhouse Northbrook Rendering

Northbrook Patch | Jun 17, 2020 – Construction is underway on a new recreational and medical dispensary at 755 Skokie Blvd. in Northbrook. Cannabis Facility Construction, a national, full-service, cannabis design-build construction firm based in Northbrook, announced the news Tuesday. The facility will be run by Greenhouse Group LLC.

The Northbrook location will be a national flagship location for the brand, according to a press release. The site, offering nearly 10,000-square-feet of finished space, is the former home the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The vacant Marathon Gas station at 430 Dundee Road will be consolidated into one lot.

“As their preferred design-build partner, CFC has delivered multiple dispensaries for Greenhouse over the past five years in various states across the country,” said Andy Poticha, principal at Cannabis Facility Construction, in the release. “We are now especially excited to have this opportunity to build their largest flagship location right here in our own backyard.”

Read more at Northbrook Patch

Cannabis Facility Construction Commences Construction on New Flagship Greenhouse Dispensary

Greenhouse Northbrook Rendering

NORTHBROOK, IL – Cannabis Facility Construction (CFC), a national, full-service, cannabis design-build construction firm based in Northbrook, Illinois, is pleased to announce the start of construction on a new recreational and medical cannabis dispensary for Greenhouse. Located at 755 Skokie Boulevard in Northbrook, IL, the new dispensary will be a national flagship location for the brand, offering almost 10,000 square feet of finished space.

“As their preferred design-build partner, CFC has delivered multiple dispensaries for Greenhouse over the past five years in various states across the country,” said Andy Poticha, Principal at Cannabis Facility Construction. “We are now especially excited to have this opportunity to build their largest flagship location right here in our own backyard.”

Construction commenced in May, revitalizing the site and its surrounding area that had been vacant for quite some time.

The location’s sleek, modern, industrial design will represent a new look for the Greenhouse brand. An open floor plan with high vaulted ceilings, skylights, abundant natural light, and easy-to-browse product displays will complement the wood and masonry structure. To create a differentiated and welcoming customer experience, careful consideration has been given to both customer traffic flow and the reality of social distancing. The design ensures all points of sale are six feet apart so transactions take place with proper social distancing in mind and create a sense of ease.

In addition to the retail space up front, there will also be back office space for processing, a secure, oversized vault for substantial inventory storage, and a highly advanced security system throughout.

CFC’s work complements exterior infrastructure improvements happening simultaneously to revitalize the surrounding area with the addition of natural landscaping, a retention pond, large parking lot, and new turn lane from Skokie Boulevard.

A leader in serving the construction needs of the cannabis industry since 2015, Cannabis Facility Construction has built more than 30 cultivation centers, processing laboratories and retail dispensaries customized for the needs of medical and recreational cannabis clients in nine different states.

In 2020, Cannabis Construction Must Offer Security of a Bank, Compliance of a Pharmaceutical Company, Aesthetic of a High-end Retailer

Legal recreational cannabis is a new industry in Illinois—and it’s in dire need of customized facilities. The first month of recreational cannabis sales in Illinois amounted to nearly $40 million. Sales figures spell opportunity both for cannabis companies and for experts in building special-purpose facilities for the industry’s stringent regulations and experience-driven customers.

Andy Poticha, Principal at Cannabis Facility Construction (CFC) has been involved in more than 30 cultivation, processing center and dispensary projects in eight states since 2015. He’s leading renovation projects that offer Illinois more than 35,000 new square feet of cannabis cultivation areas and dispensaries customized for the needs of recreational cannabis customers.

“To become recreational cannabis users’ preferred dispensary, new cannabis license holders must prioritize both compliance and customers in their facility design,” Poticha observes. The design/build process must support two core objectives:

  • Prioritize compliance or suffer the consequences. To maintain product supply and operational retail sales, stick to strict protocols and carefully follow building codes related to the handling, storage and distribution of cannabis throughout the supply chain.
  • Offer a differentiated customer experience. Product commoditization and restricted in-state cannabis sourcing leads to stiff competition between dispensaries.

“Cannabis companies need to offer the security of a bank branch, the compliance of a pharmaceutical company, and the aesthetic of a high-end retailer,” said Poticha. “Designing for the customer experience, creating welcoming sales environments that are compliant with regulations, is where dispensaries can find true opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition.”

For nearly five years, CFC has worked with numerous cannabis companies, including Grassroots Cannabis, a vertically integrated multi-state cannabis company. For co-founder Mitch Kahn, CFC has helped Grassroots embrace these seemingly competing objectives into a cohesive customer experience.

“Partnering with CFC, we have been thoughtful about connecting the design/build process with our customer experience and compliance objectives,” said Kahn. “Together, we identified and solved potential issues early in the design/build process, so that the build-out is supportive of sales, security, and being good neighbors in our communities.”

 

What’s New for America’s Most Popular Cannabis States?

2019 has been the year of the cannabis plant in the United States. New states have joined the recreational cannabis club, young medical programs are exploding, mature ones are diversifying, and the Northeast is inching along. Here is the latest on the nation’s most popular cannabis states.

Colorado’s Cannabis Program Adds Versatility
Changes are coming to Colorado’s medical and recreational cannabis programs. House Bill 1230 will allow legal social consumption at businesses like dispensaries, restaurants, hotels, and music venues. Home-delivery of medical cannabis can begin in 2020, followed by recreational in 2021 thanks to the passage of House Bill 1234. In response to the state’s opioid epidemic, Governor Jared Polis signed the MMJ for Opioids Bill, which allows doctors to recommend medical cannabis as an alternative to opioid medications. The medical program also added autism to its list of qualifying conditions. Finally, House Bill 1090 opens Colorado’s cannabis industry to out-of-state investors and capital, including publicly held companies and large venture funds. Per Westword, “The bill would also permit investors to own smaller stakes (less than 10 percent) in a cannabis business.”

Illinois Hits a Snag
According to the Illinois Regulation and Tax Act, the state’s 55 existing medical dispensaries would have first dibs at applying for a recreational sales license at the same site, plus a second license for one at a different location. However, recently, The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, the agency in charge of issuing those initial recreational-use licenses, announced a different interpretation: “…if a medical dispensary wishes to relocate for any reason — whether it’s for more space or if a home municipality bans recreational sales — it forfeits its right to also sell recreational marijuana,” per the Chicago Tribune.

This has created chaos for companies like Green Thumb Industries (GTI), which was awarded a retail license by the state in its Naperville location before the city council opted out of the program. “Naperville’s 6-3 vote on Tuesday, September 3 (2019) marks one of the first major roadblocks for Illinois’ marijuana industry as it prepares for recreational sales next year,” the Chicago Tribune added. “Whether GTI, or any other company, can open a store for recreational marijuana, could be reconsidered by the council after a potential non-binding voter referendum.”

Other municipalities in Chicagoland to ban recreational stores include Bolingbrook and Wheaton.

Oklahoma Medical Cannabis is Soaring

Previously, we wrote about the launch of Oklahoma’s medical program, and nothing is halting its trajectory toward a projected value of $250 million per year by 2025. 

As of August, 2019, there are 162,273 registered medical cardholders, a number that’s been growing by up to 10,000 per month for the last year. To put those numbers in perspective, that’s 4 percent of the state’s total population.

There’s a pretty easy explanation for this success: patients don’t have to meet qualifying conditions, and instead only need a referral from a physician. There are also no caps on dispensary licenses, which is why the current number is over 1,700. Additionally, the barrier to entry is low. According to the Arkansas Times, “The license to grow on a commercial scale or open a dispensary in Oklahoma is a flat $2,500 and a fare thee well, open to any Oklahoma resident who hasn’t had a felony in the past five years. Their law allows cardholders to possess up to a half pound of marijuana, and grow up to six plants at a time. Their law also made possession of up to 1.5 ounces by non-cardholders a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $400 fine.”

Additionally, High Times Magazine put Oklahoma’s cannabis culture on the map when it held its renown Cannabis Cups in Oklahoma City in August.

Massachusetts Social Equity
As more recreational cannabis businesses come online in Massachusetts, the push for social equity is taking center stage. Real Action for Cannabis Equity (RACE) started in Boston in September, 2019 to address the dearth of minority-owned operators. Per Marijuana Business Daily, “Organizers say they’re frustrated that all but two of Massachusetts’ 184 marijuana business licenses were issued to white operators…black entrepreneurs in Massachusetts who say people of color are being shut out of the lucrative marijuana industry are joining forces to close the gap.”

New York Decriminalizes Cannabis
Though New York state failed to pass recreational cannabis during the 2019 legislative session, a last-minute compromise was reached on decriminalization. According to The New York Times,”Under the new law, possessing between one and two ounces of marijuana will no longer be considered a Class B misdemeanor. It will now be a violation, with fines up to $200. Those found with less than an ounce of marijuana will now face a $50 fine, compared with $150 previously.” In addition approximately 160,000 people will have cannabis convictions expunged from their records.


New Jersey Still has a Chance to Pass Recreational Cannabis

The Garden State saga to legalize recreational cannabis is back on. The state Legislature came up short on votes to pass a new law earlier in 2019, but the law-making body isn’t giving up, envisioning two scenarios:

  1. Holding another vote for the bill during the lame duck session at the end of 2019 or the first half of 2020
  2. Putting it on the ballot for the November, 2020 election

Governor Phil Murphy has voiced his preference of passing recreational cannabis through the Legislature versus relying on the ballot box. According to NJ.com, “Such a move would allow leaders to more easily mold and regulate the new marijuana industry. And waiting until next year’s elections means you likely won’t be able to consume weed legally in New Jersey until early 2021, at the earliest.”