Top 10 Dispensary Design Considerations

Congratulations on being awarded a Dispensary License.  You have researched the product you want to sell, have an awesome logo for your business and now you need to get your dispensary designed and built. As a full-service architecture and interior design company specializing in the design of spaces for the alternative medical community, we would like to share our Dispensary Top 10 Design Considerations.

  1. Location.  Location.  Location.  Those three words are the mantra of real estate professionals.  And yes, your dispensary location is important.  But frequently it can be the things you don’t see while walking a prospective site that could impact you the most:  local building codes and ordinances that dictate the size, location and layout of your dispensary.
  2. “I’m calling securité!”  The rules and regulations for maintaining the security of the cannabis product, by controlling ingress and egress of delivery vehicles, employees and customers very often dictates the design of a dispensary.  
  3. Branding is more than your logo.  A brand isn’t just an identity. It is your culture, exemplified by your space.  Your dispensary needs to do more than just sell product.  It should inspire and connect. We work with clients to translate their brand to create dynamic and meaningful dispensary environments that engage and energize.
  4. First Impressions are lasting impressions. The saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is right on the money when considering dispensary design.  The increased acceptance regarding the medical properties of marijuana has diversified the demographic of your customer base.  The design of your dispensary needs to offer a positive environment for customers ranging in age and experience so that they feel comfortable in their exploration.
  5. Accessible means reachable. With a medical marijuana license, many of your customers may be in pain and require wheelchairs or crutches.  The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) dictates the minimum width requirements for ingress/egress, but the counter layout and flow of the space should support an enhanced accessible experience, including counter level for customers in wheelchairs.
  6. Decoding Deliveries.  Most states require a secure product delivery environment.  We recommend an attached pull in garage to for deliveries. This will allow delivery drivers to pull their vehicle completely into the facility and allows the external door to be closed and secured.  This adds an additional layer of security and makes your vendors feel more comfortable when delivering.
  7. Give them a break.  Your employees are your front-line staff and you will need to invest time to train them.  A dispensary is tough on employees, they are standing all day interacting with the public. If you want to keep your employees happy, consider a small break room for them to take a moment for themselves.
  8. Take a meeting.  Many dispensary owners often forget to include a conference or consultation room in their facilities.   This space can be used as a patient consultation room for new patients trying to obtain information on cannabinoid therapy and delivery methods. It is also a space where you can meet with vendors without bringing them inside the secure area of your facility.
  9. Let there be light!  Proper lighting is critical to dispensary design.  Don’t just depend on your florescent ceiling lights to sell your products.  Track lighting and focused down lighting helps bring out the texture and color of your product.
  10. Retail therapy. Your product is valuable – so remember to display it in a way that conveys that value by incorporating lessons learned from other upscale retailers such as jewelry, optical frame and perfume boutiques. 

There are a lot of decisions that go into designing a successful cannabis dispensary.  Having the expertise of architects and interior designers on your team who know the “ins and outs” of dispensary design will help you get up and running more quickly and profitably.