With a wave of states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use in recent years, interest in launching a business to serve patients and consumers has skyrocketed.

However, the process of preparing for a grand opening requires more intense attention to detail than a standard food manufacturer or retail food establishment requires. This blog from ImEPIK will focus on the steps needed to build a solid business plan for cannabis edibles, whether a dispensary or processing/manufacturing plant for edibles, from gummies to cookies and other baked goods.

Preparing Your Cannabis Business Plan

As with any business, you must conduct market research and ensure you are up to date on state and local laws. A patchwork of state agencies governs the changing landscape of the expanding cannabis market, many of them recently established. Even in states that have allowed medical cannabis for years, the addition of the adult-use cannabis market (aka recreational marijuana) is creating new regulatory structures for both markets.

For example, New York state passed medical marijuana legislation in 2014 and put the New York Department of Health in the regulatory driver’s seat. But when the state legalized adult-use cannabis this April, the law stipulated that a new entity, the New York Office of Cannabis Management, would oversee both medical and recreational programs.

Take Advantage of Cannabis Market Research Experts

It will add to start-up costs, but working with companies specializing in the unique cannabis markets – both geographic and product-specific (edibles, smokable flower, vape products) – can avoid missteps when choosing a retail or production facility location or deciding what products to manufacture.

According to recent research, cannabis edibles and CBD edibles made from hemp have a bright future in the U.S. and global market.

According to Boulder, Colo.-based BDSA, provider of market research solutions for the global cannabinoid industry, edibles are a driver of legal cannabis sales, with 15% of total spending at dispensaries at the end of 2020. That number is expected to climb from $16.2 billion worldwide in 2020 to $34.5 billion in 2025.

A Data Bridge Market Research deep-dive into the global CBD edibles market projects sales to reach $51.6 billion by 2027. The firm credits the rising production of hemp, legalization of cannabis, and rising demand from the healthcare industry as drivers of that growth.

Many states have also funded research into how a legal marijuana market could affect economies, projecting both sales and tax revenues.

Keep Cannabis Safety Top of Mind

There is more to serving a specific clientele than knowing how to market to potential customers. For example, medical marijuana dispensaries must keep in mind the heightened food safety concerns of immunocompromised clients.

All companies that process and manufacture cannabis edibles must also ensure that product labels highlight each of the major allergens identified by the Food and Drug Administration. Products that fail to warn consumers of milk, soy, nuts, and other allergens risk triggering a recall, even if no health issues have been reported.

The FDA requires allergen preventive controls to prevent allergen cross-contact through Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), hazard analysis, and the risk-based Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule.

Facilities must build a strong culture of food safety to ensure regulations are being followed and employees at all levels are engaged in promoting good manufacturing practices.

Secure Your Cannabis Food Safety Training Online

Turning to ImEPIK will make food safety management easier when entering the cannabis edibles market. Whether you’re working on a new product line for an established company or are helping a start-up that’s learning the ropes, ImEPIK’s food safety courses will fulfill the regulatory mandates that will soon be a crucial part of your cannabis business plan.