Unity Rd., the cannabis dispensary franchise from Item 9 Labs Corp., expects exceptional growth with new franchise partners, acquisitions and openings for an optimistic 2022. After a successful year of eight signed agreements for expansion into six new states, the brand is well-positioned to build off this performance.
Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, South Dakota and Virginia were some of the states to see franchise growth in 2021 — and the industry itself grew with five more states legalizing either medicinal or adult-use cannabis last year. With several states preparing to legalize cannabis through legislative bills and ballot measures this year, more opportunities will soon be available, and market forecasts show U.S. cannabis sales will reach $50 billion by 2026.
“Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and we are at the forefront, as a pioneer leading the charge,” said Andrew Bowden, CEO of Item 9 Labs Corp. “Heading into 2022, we believe all our efforts will accelerate as we see licenses and permits go through and new Unity Rd. openings taking place nationwide.”
A major brand milestone was hit in June with the opening of Unity Rd.’s first cannabis franchise shop in Boulder, Colo., owned by a father-and-son team. Stacked with a roster of strong development, Unity Rd. also solidified deals in New Jersey and Virginia, while announcing its expansion throughout Maine, and most recently signed its first agreement in South Dakota.
Another success the franchise company saw last year was the launch of a national dispensary acquisition program which offers a solution for prospective entrepreneurs seeking immediate entry into the cannabis industry. Through corporate acquisitions, this program converts dispensaries into Unity Rd. shops that can be sold to an existing or future franchise partner. This initiative allows for another avenue to keep cannabis dispensary ownership local, which is at the core of Unity Rd.’s mission and will be a key focal point this year.
In October, Item 9 Labs Corp. executed an Asset Purchase Agreement for the first shop in this program, an existing dispensary license and storefront in Adams County, Colo. The company is currently awaiting regulatory approval by Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) and expects the shop to be operational in the first half of 2022.
“We truly strengthened our foundation this past year, and now we will continue to educate and build awareness of our franchise opportunity,” added Unity Rd.’s Chief Franchise Officer Mike Weinberger. “We have seen increased interest from prospective franchise partners and are starting to open more shops, but we are not taking our pedal off the gas because more entrepreneurs need to know that the complex cannabis industry and franchising can exist as one — and that is Unity Rd.”
Unity Rd. offers a guided route for cannabis entrepreneurs looking to enter and navigate the complex cannabis industry. The dispensary franchise’s time-tested Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and dedicated team, with a combined 120-plus years of cannabis experience, direct franchise partners through every operational function of the business, whether it be securing a license or assisting with cash flow, product selection or changing regulations. The marijuana dispensary franchise is actively seeking qualified partners who would benefit from the systems, processes and ongoing support the franchise offers. Currently, Unity Rd. has multiple agreements signed with nearly 20 entrepreneurial groups who are in various stages of development nationwide.
Item 9 Labs Corp. is a vertically integrated cannabis operator and dispensary franchisor delivering premium products from its large-scale cultivation and production facilities in the United States. The company offers a dispensary franchise model through the national Unity Rd. retail brand. Headquartered in Arizona, the company is currently expanding its operations space up to 640,000-plus square feet on its 50-acre site.