What is a Cannabis Processing Lab?
These kinds of cannabis labs aren’t answering theoretical questions like finding the health benefits of eating raw weed. They’re busy testing cannabis plants and products to help ensure quality and regulatory standards.
You can divide the function of these cannabis processing labs into two major categories. The first category is cannabis labs that work with state and local regulatory agencies to ensure that cannabis products meet standards defined by local law. The second category tests cannabis products for quality control as well as research and development so companies can ensure that their products meet their own standards.
Cannabis labs can also work with growers to help improve harvests year after year.
Different Laws in Different States
Which state did you open your cannabis lab in?
This is one of the biggest questions you’re going to face. Obviously, you want to pick a state where cannabis is legal, but there are a lot of questions within that. Each state has its own laws and regulations regarding cannabis processing. Local counties, and even some cities, can have their own regulations as well.
There’s also the differences in markets to consider. States with more established cannabis markets, like Colorado and California, have more robust industries and easier to navigate laws. However, those states are also highly competitive. States with newer cannabis laws are going to have less competition, but often harder to navigate legal systems.
Ultimately, you want to do your research and find the state, county, and city that have laws and regulations that allow your company to go where you want it to. This is all about meeting your company’s goals and finding the ideal market for your cannabis processing lab.
The Logistics of Your Cannabis Processing Lab
Now let’s get down to brass tacks of opening a cannabis processing lab. Whether you’re extracting cannabinoids or testing for regulatory agencies, you need to have a solid business plan in place. Here’s what you should start to think about.
Scale and Operation Size
Are you planning on extracting cannabinoid oils or answering does eating weed get you high? Either way, you should consider square footage for your operation.
The good news is that cannabis labs don’t need nearly as much square footage as grow operations and even need less than brick and mortar shops. Around 1,500 square feet will set you up for success.
The big thing to consider here is the scale of your operation? What’s the volume of work you expect to be handling? You can think about connections you already have in the cannabis scene, future plans for growth, and what physical locations are available to you.
Laws, Licenses, and Regulations
This is going to be one of the toughest things you face. Cannabis legislation has the difficult combination of being both incredibly strict and Incredibly inconsistent. States, counties, and even cities can have different laws and regulations when it comes to the sale, production, and consumption of cannabis products. This means you’re going to have to do your homework before you even start to put your business plan together.
You can consider consulting with a lawyer that specializes in your local area’s cannabis laws to get you started on the right foot. Nothing could jeopardize your business plan quicker than running afoul of these regulations when you’re just starting up.
Finding Real Estate
This is going to be another tricky area for opening up your cannabis lab. It’s common to find local regulations that prevent cannabis Labs from being opened up to close two areas like public transit hubs and schools. However, there are a few tips and tricks for lowering the cost for your cannabis lab real estate.
You can consider signing a long-term lease, such as five years, in order to negotiate lower monthly rents.
Products and Marketing
Cannabis retailers have marketing answering questions like what happens if you eat weed, but your lab’s marketing is going to be heading in a different direction.
You need to decide the products, services, and branding your company is going to put forward. This covers everything from what you’ll be selling it to the visual style of your company.
Your Physical Layout and Plan is Important
Some state regulations require approval of the physical layout of your business. Put some extra effort to end it by making sure you layout not only works for your business needs, but it also stands up to local regulations.