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Setting up a cannabis operation? Avoid these Six Rookie Mistakes!

You’ve got your license. You’ve secured start-up funding. You are ready to GO! Before you charge into the process, make sure you’re prepared to meet the challenges ahead. Here are a few rookie mistakes you can easily avoid.

1. Buying equipment without third-party certification.

Of course you want to get started quickly and make the most of your limited capital, and getting your equipment cheaply seems like a no-brainer. It can backfire in a big way if you don’t take the time to make sure you are buying certified equipment. Using an extractor that is not certified means your whole facility will have a difficult, if not impossible, time getting permitted. Independent certification means a lab has conducted rigorous testing and the unit meets some very high standards. Fire marshals have a degree of trust in these products, about. Uncertified equipment can lead to hiccups or full-on stops in your permitting process, and replacement equipment adds costs to your already . It’s easy to avoid these problems by making a careful choice at the outset.

2. Not talking with decision-makers in your jurisdiction.

Building inspectors and fire marshals can be your best friends, or they can be terrifying specters in your nightmares. Get off to a good start by finding out how they interpret the local regulations. Codes are complicated. Make sure you understand where you want to build your facility.

3. Buying a building without considering all relevant factors.

The construction style of the facility is important, but it is not your only consideration. You need to be concerned with zoning, fire safety, egress, and a host of other items on a very long checklist. We know of one owner who leased space in a building housing a daycare, which made locating a hazardous process like extraction absolutely prohibited. That was a lot of money down the drain for them, and could have been avoided with a short phone call. The solvent you choose will also dictate some of the choices you make in your building. Of course, we recommend consulting an prior to making   decisions, but we think we have pretty good reasons for making that recommendation. Read on!

4. Underestimating the time it takes to go from start to production.

Being inexperienced can create a lot of unrealistic optimism. We don’t mean to be discouraging, The good news is that we’ve also learned how to anticipate problems and avoid slow-downs!

You can make the best use of your start-up capital by making sure you know all phases and processes you will have to go through to get up and running. This will include selecting solvent, equipment, fire protection, location, facility, insurance, and reporting structure. Yes, reporting. Which brings us to a fifth avoidable mistake…

5. Not understanding reporting requirements

Government regulations require you to report on hazardous chemical use. Failing to report in the right form, to the right people, at the right times, can get you into real trouble. Make sure you include reporting as a basic part of your business structure. It might even be something you include as a selection criteria as you choose the chemicals you will be using. Reporting is an ongoing cost of doing business, and you’ll need to factor it into your staffing and cash-flow plans.

6. Not talking to an experienced, professional designer

The cannabis industry is still a bit like the without a lot of experienced professionals around. They may be your key to avoiding some of these mistakes, but sifting through to find genuinely qualified firms can be a daunting task. Make sure that your prospective designer (that’s mechanical systems, not fashion) has a significant list of projects and references. Check with other growers and processors to find out who they’ve worked with. Ask equipment manufacturers for recommendations.

If you have a solid facility design prior to making buying commitments, you will save time and money. That means your revenue stream will begin earlier, and you’ll soon be in the black and rolling in green!

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