Little did he know, but Brian Anderson spent two decades preparing for work in the cannabis space.
When Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana in 2012, Anderson quickly discovered many of the specialty projects he had worked on as a founding partner of the architectural and design firm Anderson Porter Design aligned perfectly with the needs of the burgeoning cannabis industry.
Early in his career, Anderson designed retail stores across North America for Levi Strauss, so he was familiar with the needs of dispensaries. His firm also designed buildings in the medical space, where clean rooms and standards like ISO 7 and ISO 8 are common requirements, so medical cannabis manufacturing facilities were an easy transition. And following the events of 9/11, Anderson Porter responded to calls for greater security as the architects for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
“As a result of that, we have a deep, deep background in both physical and electronic security,” Anderson says.
Cannabis now accounts for about 75% of Anderson Porter’s business, including work with clients in various stages of approvals in 14 states. In addition to the design work, Anderson Porter often plays an important role as a liaison between its cannabis clients and city officials.
“In 2014, nobody in the cannabis industry east of the Mississippi had ever spoken to a chief of police or a fire marshal,” Anderson says. “We were comfortable speaking to the police chief and the fire marshal and I had an entire career of making presentations to planning boards.”