So, you’re looking to claim your own piece of the cannabis industry pie and need a cannabis lab to do it.
While this is certainly doable, it does require careful planning and attention to detail. As with any lab setting, your cannabis lab will need to follow strict standards of cleanliness, be appropriately licensed, and be built for an efficient workflow.
Once you’ve dealt with the paperwork and secured a building that has been properly outfitted for cannabis production/testing, however, OnePointe Solutions can handle the rest! With the experience of countless lab projects under our belts, we’re industry veterans.
You shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than the best in your new lab, and we make sure you won’t have to.
Before breaking the ground, there are several legal matters you’ll need to settle first. Naturally, you’ll need the standard building permits, and depending on where you’re setting up camp, you may need a separate laboratory license as well.
In addition, you’ll want to carefully design a lab layout before starting. To keep things running smoothly, you’ll want your lab to have enough room to move around naturally in.
You’ll also want to design for the future, as rules and regulations change with the times.
If your lab is inflexibly designed and clashes with updated guidelines, it’ll be a long and expensive process to get things back in line. A flexible lab design, however, will be much simpler to adjust, and won’t require a complete overhaul.
Finally, consider what type of lab user you plan to be, and what type of lab would be best suited to you as a user.
Types of Cannabis Labs and Lab Users
The typical cannabis lab can be placed into one of two categories: in-house or third-party. An in-house lab will typically be used for basic product tests, and tend to be less strictly regulated.
However, many legally required tests for cannabis products can’t be performed in an in-house lab.
For these tests, there are third-party labs. Third-party labs have to be certified by a government-approved organization, and as such are subject to much stricter practices.
However, for the mandatory cannabis product tests, you’ll have to get in touch with one of these labs.
The lab you’re planning on building will most likely be classified as in-house, as this is the most common type of lab to be used as an add-on for other cannabis facilities. You’ll probably want features in this lab that make it more compatible with the rest of the growing facility, and these features typically take priority over the testing equipment that would be found in a third-party lab.
Choosing a Location
Though regulations are extremely important for consumer safety, they can be difficult for you to navigate when designing your lab. As such, the location you decide on should be one whose local laws you feel confident you can work with.
The popularity of cannabis in a given area is worth considering as well. Though the cannabis industry is booming across the nation, states such as California and Colorado stand out as major hubs for cannabis sales.
Ultimately, your decision here comes down to personal preference. Setting up shop in a larger cannabis state is certainly safer, but you won’t have to deal with as much competition in areas the industry has overlooked.
Having obtained the necessary paperwork and settled on your locale, you’re ready to start planning and construction.
To meet the safety and cleanliness standards that are expected of a lab, you’ll need to implement certain features and carefully plan your layout. Tools such as eye wash stations, emergency showers, and fire extinguishers are an absolute must in the event of a mishap, so you should be sure to have them readily available throughout the lab.
As for the lab design itself, you’ll want to place an emphasis on proper ventilation, containment, and decontamination systems. In the event that fumes from harsh chemicals escape into the air, you need a way to shut off portions of the lab to keep them from spreading, ventilation that will get rid of the hazard quickly and completely, and decontamination features to ensure nobody is unknowingly carrying hazardous materials out with them.
Finally, you’ll need to implement the proper security measures. Security should be extremely tight at your cannabis lab, which means you can’t afford to take any half-measures.
Surveillance cameras, alarm systems, key-card locks at every entrance and exit, the works. This will ensure that your employees are adhering to the rules and regulations that keep things above the board.
Due to the differences between the conventional lab and your new cannabis lab, there’s some unique equipment you’ll need to keep things running smoothly. For example, you’ll need equipment to test the THC concentration in your cannabis products, as well as check for pesticides and other potentially dangerous chemicals or heavy metals present.
If you’re planning to produce medical cannabis products as well, you’ll need to install machinery to scan for the necessary chemical compounds as well.
The necessary tests change depending on where your lab is located, so be sure to read up on local requirements beforehand, and invest in technology as needed. When making purchases, consider what the manufacturer will provide. Is there tech support available in the event of a malfunction?
Will the profits gained from the new technology outweigh the initial costs to install it? Does the technology have all the features you’ll need?
If the prospective new device checks all these boxes, it’s an excellent purchase that will contribute greatly to the functionality of your cannabis lab.
Once you’ve reached the casework stage in the lab design process, you can count on OnePointe Solutions to do work of the utmost quality, ensuring your casework will be done once, be done well, and stay done for decades to come.
As for casework elements you’ll want to add, there are several, each suited to a unique and important purpose. Aside from the obvious storage spaces to keep things organized, you’ll need to get lab casework done for purposes such as waste disposal and containment, hazardous or flammable material storage, and other such features to increase safety and ease of use for your lab’s facilities.
Though it seems like implementing the countertops would be an open-and-shut process, there’s actually a fair amount of consideration that goes into selecting the material you want to use. While most common materials will perform well in any lab setting, some may be better suited to your work than others.
First of all, stainless steel countertops. It’s a durable material commonly used in medical settings and strongly resists corrosion.
If you’re dealing with an environment that’s humid or has the potential for corrosive chemical spills, stainless steel countertops will be perfect.
Though not as durable as stainless steel, it has great chemical resistance and is still more than able to take a beating and has absolutely no risk of rusting. In addition, it’s far, far cheaper than stainless steel, so as long as it’s not subjected to more extreme conditions, you’ll barely notice the difference.
Perhaps the most important factor in creating an efficient workflow is your choice of lab furniture. Aside from the aforementioned lab casework, there are a number of furniture pieces that will make your lab vastly more efficient just by being there.
For example, utility carts will allow for the easy and safe transportation of materials in as little time as possible. Rather than having to make a number of back and forth trips to move materials from place to place, employees can simply load whatever they need onto the cart and move it all in one fell swoop.
Additionally, strong overhead lighting will improve efficiency and safety alike. By ensuring that visibility is high throughout the lab, you’ll be able to ensure that lab employees are able to see where everything is, as well as any spills or potential hazards.
As for safety, be sure to invest in a fume hood! Designed to negate the risk of toxic gasses in a lab setting, fume hoods more or less close off certain areas of a lab, preventing any gasses from spreading beyond a small area.
Need Help Designing Your Cannabis Lab?
If you want to leave the work of lab design to the industry’s best, you can’t go wrong when you hire OnePointe Solutions. We’ve designed countless labs for a variety of industries and purposes, so you’ll be leaving your prospective cannabis lab in good hands.
Whether you’re renovating your lab or starting from scratch, we can provide everything from casework to lab furniture, so whatever you need for your lab, we’re ready and willing to provide. Just contact us today, and we’ll handle all the heavy lifting.