What matters when selecting a site for your medical cannabis dispensary?

May 9th, 2018
medical cannabis dispensary site selection

– by Tiffany Haile, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, Manager, Planning + Strategy

Selecting an appropriate site or building helps start your project off right – and keeps your budget on target.

Whether a new property or renovation of an existing building, the location you select can impact your business in many ways.  Here are four things to consider in your selection of a site or building for your dispensary:

  1. Compliance:  Regulations often require strict considerations related to appropriate distances/setbacks from schools, day care centers, churches, and other child-related and community uses, based on the State you are located.  
  2. Access:  Locations that support multi-modal access (mass transit, rideshare, biking, walking) provide better access for the community your dispensary is serving.  Adequate parking for staff and patients is also an important consideration. Inadequate parking can impact everything from hiring qualified staff to patient access and convenience, all of which can hurt your business.
  3. Community:  Given the relative newness of this use in many States, possible challenges could include neighbors who aren’t supportive of your business, perception of the location as either undesirable or unsafe, and concerns about property value based on lack of awareness of the use.  Understanding the immediate community where you are considering locating your business is a critical part of the site selection process given potential local approvals.
  4. Existing property conditions:  The condition of a building or site directly impacts your building project budget and time to market.  Additionally, thinking of the long-term viability of your business, expansion opportunities are important to consider. For example, having too much space could require additional capital that you aren’t prepared to expend.  

Finding a “fit” with the right location can position your business for long-term success while also meeting compliance requirements and maximizing your budget.  

Whether renovating an existing structure or constructing a new building, AE Works can support all phases of your project from pre-application and site selection to opening day. Contact us at aeworksinfo@ae-works.com or 412.585.2273 to see how we can help you with your medical cannabis project.

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