You’re on your way. You’re about to secure your licensing and permits for a new dispensary. But what steps do you need to take before you can open your business? What should you expect when planning your launch timeline? How soon can you open?
After working to manage the license to market process for many new Cannabis businesses, CannabisIT has developed a proven six-month process to go from license to market. Following are our recommendations – month by month – to efficiently get to business launch.
Month 1 – Dispensary planning and discovery. At the early onset of your business, you need to understand your licensing and permitting status and timelines. As part of the initial permitting phase, a security layout must be developed and submitted for approval at the onset of any dispensary or cultivation project. The remainder of planning and discovery will follow after the video surveillance, access controls, etc., are submitted to the permitting authorities. Here you need to carefully navigate complex local, state and federal regulatory requirements so you can avoid unnecessary delays. This will drive your early discussions and planning steps and set the framework for ongoing success.
Once you captured your framework, be sure to document each component. By mapping out your business processes, hours of operation, and business scope you can get more granular in your planning. This will help you with vendor selections, technology criteria, identifying how many employees you’ll need so you can scope IT discussions for your PoS system, devices, phones and more. This portion of your discovery phase will ultimately set expectations of “when” your opening can take place with a clear project timeline.
Month 2 – Construction critical components. Into your second month you need to address key construction milestones. Initially you’ll need to define your technology requirements based on your property type. Ground up new locations will require different processes compared to building out an existing business. Existing businesses will have different needs based on a full “rip and replace” versus just some business modifications. In each instance you’ll need to define which IT assets are reusable and what new technology requirements you have based on your business needs.
Once the plan has been adapted for the property type, you’ll need to communication with key stakeholders to get granular with your plan. Take into account your site access protocols (i.e., safety, Covid-19, etc.), identify access control locations, your IT room location, HVAC and power components, etc. Here, knowing your state compliance requirements is critical. Be sure to get a clear directive from your compliance team to determine if your security network needs to be isolated from your IT network, which is different by state. With careful collaboration between your network and security partners, architects, general contractors and project managers you’ll achieve a master plan for the construction phase implementation.
Month 3 – IT buildout. Going into month three you’ll be ready to provision your voice and data circuits. It may take months to deliver, so plan early. Circuit delivery and IT room power availability are key critical path items. The IT room houses critical networking and security infrastructure that must have power and critical data and voice circuits available. You should also be designing best practices for unified communications solutions – from VoIP to SDWAN.
Month 4 – Security Implementation. Once your connectivity and unified communications infrastructure is set you now need to work closely with your security team to build infrastructure for your cameras, access controls and alarms. Close attention to power requirements based on device load and security cabling requirements should be given to ensure adequate infrastructure support across your business.
Month 5 – Inside wiring. As you get closer to launch, it’s time to scope your low voltage wiring needs. At this time, you will identify “heat maps” for wireless access point install locations, run wiring for your PoS stations and network drops for offices and phones and install your patch panels for ongoing management. This process should be closely managed with your general contractor, architects and wiring contractors to ensure proper alignment to your site design.
Month 6 – Network implementation. As the last milestone of your site build, you’ll conclude with the successful implementation of your IT network. Physical components – from your network firewall to switches, wireless access points, PCs and more – will be installed, activated and tested. Full monitoring should also be implemented across your network for ongoing management and secure remediation when required.
At CannabisIT we’ve perfected this six-month process to deliver seamless coordination and oversight across all your IT, security, networking and low voltage cabling partners to achieve your business objectives with minimal delay. We proactively communicate with key stakeholders, ensuring projects are completed on schedule at the lowest possible cost. We are deeply experienced in providing solutions that will meet and exceed your Cannabis industry compliance requirements to ensure that regulatory roadblocks don’t slow you down.