by Peter Dougherty and Shawn Cooney
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.
As part of that mission, the organization created its Facilities Design Committee, which is one of 14 issue-oriented committees made up of individual volunteers from the NCIA membership. These committees cover the breadth of topics facing the cannabis industry and work to help provide knowledge and resources to the NCIA community, lawmakers, regulators, and the broader cannabis space.
The cannabis market is growing fast and dealing with ever-changing state regulations as it prepares for eventual federal regulation and oversight. The Facilities Design Committee’s mission is to proactively provide NCIA members and regulators with a framework for and information about facilities design options through which legal producers can plan for GMP-level production. The committee is made up of members representing a broad spectrum of the industry with a breadth of experience including HVAC-D solutions providers, architects, GMP consultancy, vertical farming, consumer packaged goods, lighting systems, extraction technologies, fire protection, water treatment, equipment supplies, construction, business consulting, composites manufacturing, refrigeration, greenhouse solutions, operations management, energy efficiency tech, and cultivation monitoring and analytics.
The facilities design committee is broken up into three working groups:
- Standards working group, led by David Vaillancourt, whose goal is to develop a roadmap for a regulatory standards development process and draw standards into that process. This means finding the pathways to uncover regulatory holes and problem areas in the industry from a facilities design perspective and start the process of moving documented best practices into the regulation development funnel process.
- Design Matrix working group, led by Tony Vannice, whose goal is to populate a state-by-state matrix with design criteria specific to initial facility design. This is essentially a design framework that anyone considering building a facility in any state can utilize as a reference guide.
- Facility Design Best Practices working group, led by Shawn Cooney, whose goal is to provide facility design best practice guidance based on assessing current market requirements, available best practices assets, and determining what additional information will provide value to new and existing facility operators.
Over the course of 2021 and beyond, the three working groups are delivering a series of use-case-driven blog posts, concise guidance documents and podcast/webinar interviews that refine and distill the members’ industry expertise and promote it initially to NCIA members and then to the cannabis business community at large.
If you are involved in any aspect of cannabis facilities design or implementation, we strongly urge you to contact NCIA and its Facilities Design Committee for more information and potential collaboration as we move into the next stage of development for this vibrant and growing industry!