As legal frameworks are evolving, many growers are faced with permitting rules and compliance requirements that need to be resolved under new laws. While different rules regarding licensing apply to states, counties, and cities - building, construction, and equipment regulations are somewhat standard across the US at least.
If it looks like this, it's probably not to code
Sure, that's probably a bit extreme, but even minor issues can trip up your permitting process. When you want to do it right, there are generally three areas to watch out for:
We talk to growers every day who have land use permits that will expire under new regulation. This is happening in Oregon, for example, right now. Growers who previously could grow under Medicinal permits on their land will now be out of compliance as of December 31 2016. Many of these growers have invested in real estate and tenant improvements - sunk cost which will be hard or impossible to recoup.
Building permits and regulation
As more dispensaries want to ensure they are compliant with state and local rules, they no longer buy product from unlicensed growers. For growers, this means your overall distribution channels narrow and you have two options: (1) Make sure your grow operation is fully compliant, or (2) serve the black market. Smart growers chose the better long term option - compliance.
For growers, maximizing legal market access is critical and that means growers should comply with building regulation, invest in proper equipment, safety, and quality control. Running your grow operation out of a shed or barn is no longer a viable option. As a grower, to minimize your own risk, you probably want to hire quality designers and engineers who can ensure that you won't have serious permitting and compliance issues. When the fire department goes through your facility to approve your certificate of occupancy, you want to make sure you pass the inspection!
Does your equipment meet the permitting standards for the new or current legal framework in your state and county? If not, you may need to invest in new and better equipment and materials. Before you do, you'll want to ensure that the equipment or materials for your facility meets the requirements from your local permitting office.
The bottom line is this: What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. If you want your product in the hands of buyers, you'll need to ensure that you can sell to the most successful retailers. Those retail outlets will be professional, clean, and fully compliant with State law. They will require that you, the grower, also is running a tight and professional operation.