Cannabis extraction and processes are blooming at unprecedented rates. Some contributing factors to this rapid growth fall heavily on the extraction of concentrates and the many health advantages offered to consumers. More and more people seek alternative methods of overall health and wellness and often turn to extracted concentrates to find comfort.
Mood disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic illnesses affect millions, and finding comfort through things like tinctures, topicals, and edibles is becoming more common. With the industry moving at light speed and more people seeking the benefits, starting a lab and catering to the market may be right for you. Here is a complete guide to starting a cannabis extraction lab to help you plant the seeds for future endeavors.
Regardless of intentions when considering your own lab, this is an investment of a lifetime that will blossom with the right components. There are various factors to consider before you open a shop, and many of these must abide by local, state, and federal guidelines. For proper due diligence, you must consider the following:
- What are the consumers in your local market buying the most?
- Take the time to understand your ideal target audience.
- Thoroughly review all restrictions and guidelines.
- You will need to source your materials and supply agreements.
- Invest in quality systems to produce quality products.
- Build connections with your local government.
- Acquire all necessary permits.
Thinking about running an operation is one thing but putting in the work to operate a fully-licensed business is another. To receive the most return on your investment, take the time to commit to the groundwork and build the foundation with these successful first action steps.
Research Your Market
The first step to success is a thorough, well-manicured action plan. Many startups fail to thrive due to a complete absence of planning and adequate research or knowledge of a business model. You and your business partners must consider several things like who your market is, an ideal location, the extraction laws for your site, and the licensing process.
It would help if you also researched the accessibility to necessary supplies and how these supplies will contribute to your process. If supply becomes an issue, the entire operation will stagnate or fall behind. Also, consider your niche and your desired business outcome.
If you’re looking to produce quality tinctures, this is essential to understand when beginning to build supply. The same goes for edibles, topicals, inhalants, or any product you wish to produce. Once your business plan is thoroughly mapped out, you can begin to take the necessary steps in the licensing process.
Prepare All Licensing Applications
Declaring your location for operation possessing a clear business plan means you can begin the licensing process with your local municipality. You will apply for the license first, which is subject to an approval process, thus making market research and planning ahead critical. Though it may sound like a nightmare, it is relatively simple to go through the licensing process.
Consider holding multiple copies of your business plan, as the city will request one before following through on an application. A good rule of thumb is to overprepare. By doing so, you show your municipality and city officials your level of seriousness and commitment to your plan. Each municipality will request varying levels of paperwork and research, and because of this, it’s better to obtain as much information as possible before proceeding.
A municipality could seek a few things from you: engineering documentation, personal references, and codes or standards in your facility. Some startups consider employing a legal representative because of their connection in the community and overall knowledge of local laws. It’s essential to note that legal aid is unnecessary for this process.
Real Estate and Construction
Another area people fail in the extraction industry is purchasing their real estate before understanding regulations and local zoning requirements. A facility must adhere to all zoning specifications, and the local municipality must provide consent to the facility. It’s paramount you make a real estate purchase contingent on the licensing process.
It’s advisable to seek architects and engineers to help facilitate the construction of your space as they are knowledgeable in codes, standards, and compliance. A common many make in extraction startups is not adhering to the guidelines.
Another thing to consider is the modular aspect of your operation. Some choose to invest in labs and grow rooms that are relocatable due to their flexibility in design and mobility. Should you find yourself needing a relocation, you can avoid a reconstruction or demolition situation. If this entices you, partner with modular construction specialists and ensure you continue to follow all municipality standards when considering a move.
Ordering Lab Equipment
You cannot run a successful business without quality equipment. This investment is the operation’s entirety, and you must get this aspect correct. When researching your market and product goals, always consider the equipment demands and explore the best avenues to obtain the necessary machinery.
Beaker & Wrench offers high-end GMP equipment for all extraction operations and upholds all standards and guidelines in operational demands. We offer several core components to an extraction business from decarboxylation reactors, wiped film evaporators, digital PID temperature controllers, solvent recovery pumps, and vacuums.
Upon obtaining the best equipment for your ideal production needs, the municipality can inspect the facility and ensure all equipment abides by the guidelines. A relatively common demand of the municipality is having a qualified field engineer sign off on verification of all installed equipment.
Various municipal inspectors must also visit the facility and carry out inspections. The final step is having an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) examine the engineer’s verification and ensure all equipment meets compliance standards, safety, and local regulations. The AHJ is the final approver of the lab setup and facility.
Ready for Extractions
Once you make your way through the verification and inspection phases, you’re ready for extraction. It’s best to test your equipment and train your staff before producing for-profit results.
Ensure they follow all safety guidelines when working in the lab and make sure you possess the necessary experience to operate machinery. A costly mistake is usually an inexperienced operator, which can have long-term damage to the business.
Following this complete guide to starting a cannabis extraction lab can ensure you meet all actionable steps and adhere to a well-thought-out business strategy. For information regarding equipment installation, good manufacturing practices, and delivery arrangements, reach out to us today!