Breaking Down the Cannabis Market: an Interview with Cannabis Specialist, Matt O'Boyle

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At Phase Zero design, we specialize in six different market sectors: academic, workplace, retail, residential, hospitality and, most recently, we welcomed the cannabis market to the firm. Focusing on the new cannabis market sector is our Project Manager, Matt O’Boyle.

Tell us about your background.

I came to Phase Zero Design after working in both public works and high-end residential business’ in Boston. After deciding to transition into private work I finally found my niche as a project manager here at Phase Zero Design. In early 2018, I was fortunate to be able to get the opportunity to work on a retail cannabis project in Holyoke, and through that project I established a great relationship with the client and found my passion for cannabis design.

How are you helping cannabis facilities through application, permit and design?

Not too long after the first project, more cannabis projects came my way and that’s how this niche retail market sector came to life at Phase Zero Design. By previously working on public work projects, I had experience with the special permitting process and working with town officials to get all types of projects approved.  This made for a seamless transition into the cannabis permitting process. Knowing the retail cannabis process from start to finish, helping my clients through the application and permit processes and not just being there through the design process, adds value for my clients and the projects that I guide them through.

Given that retail cannabis is such a new concept, how can you help companies expand their presence nationwide?

As a national firm, we have years of experience working with a wide range of retail clients that have programs spanning across the country. Given that experience, Phase Zero Design understands how to help clients expand into several units and into different markets. There’s a huge cost-saving, value-add for existing and new clients to work with us on all of their dispensary locations. Being able to contact your architect to mobilize on a new project with our full team of consultants across the country saves a ton of time and money. Also, as a company, we have experience with retail roll-out and branding. We’re able to identify your brand and your product, and coordinate your design to match. We can create branded retail cannabis experience Nationwide — which is huge.

What are you most excited about the potential of work in cannabis market sector?

I’m most excited about the potential of future work within this market sector as the cannabis industry continues to grow. The point-of-sale area in dispensaries are some of the most interesting spaces to work with in both the interior design and architectural industries. The variance in styles, approaches and ethos’ is incredibly wild and no project is nearly the same.


Matt will be authoring a series of blog posts on everything you need to know about opening a recreational marijuana dispensary or manufacturing facility both in Massachusetts and [where legal] nationwide. Subscribe below to get notified first!