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.”