Unity Rd. is bridging the two previously disconnected worlds of cannabis and franchising, as the first to bring the cannabis dispensary franchise model to the U.S. Built up from a collective 200 years in the legal cannabis industry and franchising, the company helps eager operators enter the complex industry with ease. The marijuana franchise pioneer offers its partners the knowledge, resources, and ongoing support needed to compliantly and successfully operate a dispensary.

 Unity Rd., the cannabis dispensary franchise from Item 9 Labs Corp. is opening its first franchise shop this week in Boulder, Colorado. The Boulder franchise is locally owned and operated by father-son-duo Bruce and Nate Wetzel; Nate relocated from Iowa to Colorado in 2020 to pursue the cannabis business opportunity.

“Our team has been waiting for this moment – this launch has been years in the making,” shared Unity Rd.’s Chief Franchise Officer, Mike Weinberger. “We founded Unity Rd. – a cannabis dispensary franchise – with the mission of keeping dispensary ownership, and the wealth that comes along with it, local. We want to educate and empower owners, while also pumping revenue right back into their communities, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s no secret that opening a dispensary is a lengthy process, and that’s exactly why this opening means so much to our team – it’s a reflection of a lot of hard work, creativity and dedication. Here’s to the first of many.”

Unity Rd. offers the safest route for cannabis entrepreneurs interested in staking their claim in an industry that’s bursting with potential. The dispensary franchisor’s time-tested Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and veteran team, with a combined 120+ years of cannabis experience, guide 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.

“We had been looking at the cannabis space for a few years, trying to determine our best entrance that would mitigate the high risk,” said Nate. “We knew that by partnering with a solid franchisor we wouldn’t have to go through the School of Hard Knocks and dug into cannabis franchises. We found a few that were just selling a business plan, no long-term support, and then discovered Unity Rd. The team has a depth of history on both the retail and cultivation side with awards to back them up. We felt most comfortable with Unity Rd. versus other routes into this nascent industry.” 

Colorado Franchise Development Plans & Corporate Acquisition Strategy
The shop is primed for immediate success as Colorado’s cannabis sales recently hit the highest point the state has ever seen, bringing in $2.2 billion in 2020 alone. While it was the first state to legalize cannabis seven years ago, Colorado is still ripe with opportunity. In fact, several cities in Colorado have recently made new dispensary licenses available. The Unity Rd. team is ready to help industry newcomers navigate the licensing process and notoriously complex industry, as well as partner with existing dispensary owners via its Local Alliance Program – providing access to the buying power, resources and supportive network normally reserved for multi-unit operators.  

Unity Rd. is also seeking corporate acquisitions of existing dispensaries throughout the state, primarily in Denver as well as front range and compelling mountain towns. The cannabis dispensary franchise plans to convert the stores into Unity Rd. shops, operate them internally and sell them to an existing or future Unity Rd. franchise partner. This offers a turnkey solution for entrepreneurs seeking immediate entry into cannabis.

“Our corporate acquisition strategy eases hurdles for newcomers looking to acquire an existing dispensary and keeps ownership in the hands of local owners,” Weinberger said. “We’ll get the stores fully converted into a Unity Rd., train the shop team and oversee operations so franchise partners have a seamless transition to ownership.”

Already, Unity Rd.’s Director of Franchise Operations, Jennifer Zarezadeh, has relocated to Denver to support the Wetzels and oversee future Unity Rd. operations.

The cannabis franchise is actively seeking qualified franchise partners throughout Colorado and the U.S. who would benefit from the systems, processes and ongoing support the franchise offers. As it stands, Unity Rd. currently has multiple agreements signed with more than 15 entrepreneurial groups who are in various stages of development nationwide.