CANNABIS TESTING LAB DESIGN TIPS FROM A SPECIALIZED ARCHITECTURE FIRM
We recently caught up with Satto Rugg who, with business partner Nicole Delmage, launched MerJ Architecture last year. His firm is a cannabis-specific architecture firm specializing in the design of testing labs, retail dispensaries, plus facilities for the growing, cultivating and processing of cannabis. Satto is an established architect with 20 years’ managing a general practice architecture firm that provides services for commercial, residential and other more traditional projects.
Satto recognized the potential of providing services for the rapidly growing cannabis industry in his home state of Colorado after it became the first state in the U.S. to legalize the sale of marijuana for non-medical use in December 2012.
Currently, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, cannabis is legal for medical use (with a doctor’s recommendation) in 29 states. Another 17 states have laws allowing for the medical use of a THC-limited version which is non-psychoactive. Another 13 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized it for recreational use.
Described as the “fastest-growing industry in the U.S.” by the Huffington Post, the cannabis business is expected to continuing its impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26% thru 2021, according to Arcview Market Research/BDS Analytics. Or, in dollars terms, the industry that reached $6.73 billion in sales in North America in 2015 is projected to reach $21.6 billion by 2021.
Beyond sales, growth in the industry has translated to jobs as well. The job website ZipRecruiter notes that jobs posting for cannabis industry positions increased 445% in 2017, significantly more than the 18% growth rate reported for 2016. In the U.S., the cannabis industry now employs from 165,000–230,000 full- and part-time workers.
Satto has already established credentials in this expanding industry. MerJ Architects has existing or pending projects in several states — including Colorado, Iowa, Washington, Oregon and California.
He notes: “Cannabis facilities is where our expertise lies — the industry presents an array of highly technical challenges that present a steep learning curve for architects. Regulations from local and State jurisdictions are often very confusing to clients. We’ve been through it before, and we know how to design within the parameters and get you up and running as quickly as possible.”
We dug a bit deeper into the potential business opportunities in the economic juggernaut we call California. The state legalized the recreational use of marijuana on January 1st of this year and the California State Finance Department is projecting recreational use retail sales of $3.4 billion in the first year a 22% annual growth rate. However, industry experts suggest this figure might be an underestimate. Recreational use of marijuana in the first year grew by 40% in Colorado and by 50% in Washington, as reported by The Hill.
“While we are receiving inquiries from California, there is a lot of uncertainty as kinks in the new regulatory process are worked out, and that is making it difficult for new businesses to get started,” Satto noted, adding that he believes cannabis industry expansion opportunities are not limited to just that state. “Over the next five years or so, a lot of states will be coming online.”
His prediction will likely match reality. In 2018, seven more states will see legislation on legalizing cannabis for recreational use, and five others for approving it for medical use, reports the Medical Marijuana, Inc. News.
And MerJ Architects is poised to be at the forefront of this facet of the growth related to the cannabis industry.
Cannabis Testing Laboratories Revenues Projected To Explode
Cannabis testing laboratory revenues in the U.S. alone are expected to reach $850 million by 2020, according to independent investment research and advisory firm GreenWave Advisors that focuses on the industry. Worldwide, that figure rises to an estimated $1.4 billion per year by 2021 at a projected year-over-year growth rate of 10%, according to the global research firm Markets and Markets.