Cannabis businesses will benefit from design expertise

Today, Minnesota joins 22 other states — plus the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories (Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands) — in allowing recreational use of cannabis. The new law raises many questions — and elicits many strong opinions. But regardless of how anyone feels about legal cannabis, the fact is: New businesses related to the product are going to launch in Minnesota. They’ll have specific needs for their facilities. And design will be key to their success.

We’re naturally curious about the challenges — and opportunities — those new spaces will present. After all, many of our past commercial projects have been similar to them in size, scope and/or function. For example:

Independent retail shops: Unlike cookie-cutter mall tenants, these community gems display wares in unique settings that exude charm and convey distinct personalities. With limited square footage, it’s crucial to find efficient ways to accommodate a sales floor, inventory storage, security systems and point-of-sale operations.

Brewery taprooms: These establishments serve products that may only be sold to adults, welcoming customers with a friendly, creative vibe. They blend production facilities with onsite consumption spaces — so, in order to open (and remain in business), they must clear an array of regulatory hurdles associated with health, safety and cleanliness.

Our role on these kinds of projects — and others — often includes helping clients navigate complex application processes necessary to secure assessments, permits, certification and/or licensing. In many cases, government regulating bodies want a business to submit design documents to ensure compliance with statewide industry and commercial requirements.

“We’ve walked through those mazes before,” notes Shelter partner Kurt Gough. “Having a design professional on your team early — as you create your business plan — helps you satisfy your technical needs in ways that support a positive customer experience.”

Got questions about design for a cannabis-based business? Want to engage in conversation about this emerging topic? Contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

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