Our last blog provided a high level outline of the various phases involved in the successful planning of a cannabis production & processing facility, from the Initiation Phase, through to the Planning, Implementation, and Closing Phases.  We will break each of these phases down into a bit more detail, “one blog at a time” so there is clarity on the expectations and nuances within each step of the process. We will start at the beginning, with the Initiation Phase.

The Initiation Phase is where it really all begins and is considered to be the most crucial phase as it sets the stage for future steps in the process. The overview of the project objectives, scope, purpose and deliverables are identified in this phase and the project team(s) are assembled and hired. It is only with a clearly defined scope and a suitably skilled team that success can be ensured. In this phase, the ownership team begins with exploring the the idea of developing a cannabis facility, elaborating on what the primary goal(s) are for the project and further examine the feasibility of the project by answering a number of key questions:

  • Why this project?
  • Is it feasible?
  • Who are possible partners in this project?
  • What should the results be?
  • What are the boundaries of this project ie: what is outside the scope of the project.

When it comes to the discussions and decisions required during this phase, the ability to say no is an important quality in the project leader. Projects tend to expand once people have become excited about them and people keep adding objectives. These additional objectives are nearly certain to have the project go off schedule, and the ownership team is unlikely to achieve their original goals. To prevent the development of false expectations concerning the results of the project, it makes sense to explicitly agree on the type of project that is being started:

  • a research and development project
  • a project that will deliver a prototype or proof of concept
  • a project that will deliver a product

The choice for a particular type of project largely determines its results. For example, a cannabis research and development project examines the feasibility of a particular product and its benefits to the public. A project in which a prototype is developed delivers all of the functionalities of a particular “application”, but they may not be suitable for use in a particular context (e.g. by hundreds of users). A project that delivers a product must also consider key factors of regulatory compliance and public safety.

Many misunderstandings and conflicts can arise if members of the ownership group that are involved in the project are not clear on these matters. Customers may expect a medicinal product for consumption, while the members of the ownership/project team think they are developing a research and development product. A sponsor may think that the project will produce a working prototype, while the members of the ownership/project team must first examine whether the idea itself is technically feasible.

Decisions on all of these matters need to be made concerning who is to carry out the project, which party (or parties) will be involved and whether the project has an adequate base of support among those who are involved within the ownership team. It is during this this phase, the current or prospective project leader writes a proposal, which contains a description of all of the key components of the project and may include business plans and grant applications. The prospective sponsors of the project typically evaluate the proposal and, upon approval, provide the necessary financing. The project officially begins at the time of approval.

Next month we will further explore the PLANNING PHASE.


By Robert Mulyk – Director of BenchmarkBUILD for TheraCann International.

For more information on  the Cannabis Facility Building design and our services,  please contact Robert Mulyk, Director of BenchmarkBUILD for TheraCann International.