Pioneering the construction of cannabis facilities in the DMV

Bob Pizzano

The legalization of recreational cannabis continues to gain momentum across the United States. Maryland recently legalized recreational sales and Virginia is slated to follow suit in 2024. The market for cannabis in our region shows a substantial amount of demand – within the first weekend after the legalization of recreational sales, Maryland recorded sales above $10.4 million. That level of demand shows little signs of slowing anytime soon.

The team at Pizzano Contractors has worked on cannabis facilities in recent years, both in cultivation and retail. There are many factors to weigh when constructing a cannabis space – from legislation and environmental requirements to site selection, location, and logistical workflow.

The Washington Business Journal published an article, excerpted below, highlighting what the Pizzano team has learned is vital to ensure your facility is operating successfully in this increasingly competitive space.

What are some considerations for grow facilities and dispensaries?

When seeking locations for a dispensary or cultivation center, consider proximity to related parts of the supply chain – growing, processing and distribution.

Next, you need to consider whether to seek a new or existing space. For growers, retrofitting an existing facility might seem like a cost-effective way to secure an ideal location, but it can be challenging given the extensive infrastructure requirements necessary for optimal production. Dispensaries, however, have more flexibility. Pizzano’s projects include converting spaces like a Comcast service center, a restaurant and a medical office into sleek, welcoming retail storefronts for cannabis consumers.

For grow facilities and dispensaries, security is a chief concern. Pizzano’s cannabis projects feature significant physical and electronic security measures – including exterior security, as well as internal vaults within each building – to ensure all funds and products are secured.

Grow facilities: Decisions, decisions, and more decisions

There are numerous factors to consider in exploring and/or operating a grow facility venture. Strict standards need to be met as part of the cultivation process – think of it as operating a large-scale laboratory, which requires designated, regulated “clean rooms” for processing, among other requirements.

There are also complex environmental factors. The grow space has to calibrate and control everything within it – lighting, humidity, air circulation, plumbing, irrigation and even pest control. If any these environmental factor goes wrong, even briefly, it could be catastrophic for the entire harvest – and the entire investment behind it.

Dispensaries: Retail experience matters

Modern cannabis users aren’t the stereotypical hippies from decades ago, and today’s dispensaries need to reflect that reality. Think Apple store, not apple orchard. Style matters and the goal is to impress customers by exceeding their expectations from the moment they enter. By creating a high-end space – using lighting, layout and finishes to set the tone for customers to learn, linger and look forward to their next visit, customers know they’re not just in a dispensary – they’re in an immersive brand experience. Imagine foodies, coffee snobs or wine lovers, and imagine a retail experience that’s tailored to that sophisticated customer base.

The 6,820-square-foot dispensary that Pizzano Contractors worked on for their client, Jushi.

There are numerous factors to consider and important decisions to be made, but the business potential of cannabis is hard to ignore. With the U.S. cannabis market expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 14.2%, the opportunity continues to attract new participants every day. If you’re considering a cannabis construction project, the team at Pizzano is ready to help grow your idea into an enterprise.

Read the full article.