Download our checklist for grow facilities and dispensaries.
The legal marijuana business is growing massively. Cannabis dispensaries, in particular, are highly profitable. In 2018, the legal cannabis industry in the U.S. generated about $10 billion in sales. These high revenues make cannabis dispensaries a target for theft.
A marijuana dispensary needs to have a security plan in place to protect the products on sale, the funds on site, and other valuable items kept in the facility. Having a marijuana security plan that’s scaleable is particularly important since the industry is quickly growing.
Dispensaries are in the spotlight frequently, and their security practices are heavily monitored compared to other businesses. Between the spotlight on the marijuana industry and the general security of your products and other assets, creating a security plan is a must.
Start by familiarizing yourself with the security regulations that are in place for marijuana dispensaries. Unfortunately, these can vary by jurisdiction; but they should always be part of your marijuana security plan. Cannabis possession and use are illegal according to federal laws but regulations are handled on a state-by-state basis. Many states have specific requirements for video surveillance, including the minimum camera resolution, frames per second, being in use 24/7, and storing the footage for at least 90 days, if not a year.
Your state may also require that you secure the entrances to prevent any unauthorized access and that you have storage requirements for the marijuana. You will have to research the specific laws in your state or jurisdiction to see what type of security is required.
Regardless of the legal requirements for marijuana dispensary security in your jurisdiction, there are some best practices that you should always follow when it comes to security.
Download our checklist for grow facilities and dispensaries.
One of the most important parts of any marijuana security plan is access control. As mentioned, many states actually require you to have a system in place. An access control system will ensure that only those who are authorized to be in the dispensary can enter the facility, it will track who enters using their credentials, and the system will provide protection during hours you are closed.
While the entire dispensary needs some sort of access control system, you should have additional locks and access control in place for the storage area. In Canada, you are legally required to store cannabis, that is not on display, in a storage room that is locked and has controlled access.
Video surveillance is a legal requirement for marijuana dispensaries in many jurisdictions, you should always ensure that your plan includes the best monitoring option. Opt for the highest-quality video you can afford and select a system that includes sound, if possible. This will not only help you comply with regulations but also serve as a deterrent for potential thieves. Remote monitoring is extremely important, so you want your access control system and video surveillance to work together to allow you to monitor access logs and visual reports at all times.
You should also have basic security systems in place, such as intrusion alarms that activate when you are not in the dispensary. Since it is unlikely that someone is there 24/7, you should make sure you have an alarm system of some sort that will notify you and the authorities if someone breaks in or attempts to.
The most common loss of revenue in the marijuana industry is a result of employee theft; therefore, don’t forget to include background checks of employees in your marijuana security plan. This is particularly important for a controversial industry like marijuana sales, particularly because the product was illegal until recent years. A background check can minimize the risk that you accidentally give someone with bad intentions access to your dispensary.
As the marijuana industry expands so will its customer base, revenue and the inventory within dispensaries. Transporting cannabis, cash or other items puts your business at risk; therefore, every cannabis security plan must include armored transport, also referred to as marijuana vans.
Using the services of an established cannabis security company maximises the security of the operations in your cannabis dispensary. You need to take into account various factors to decide what security services you need and which service providers to consider.
Top among these factors is your budget versus the level of security you think you need. The quality of the services should take priority over the cost because having the right level of security will safeguard your staff, products and revenue.
Carefully research all the available security companies and give preference to providers that have a lot of experience in securing businesses in the cannabis industry. Read reviews and testimonials from current and previous customers to get a sense of the quality of the provider’s security services. Likewise, find out what security experts and industry associations have to say about the security company.
Consider getting recommendations from owners of other cannabis dispensaries that have managed to successfully secure their operations. Just keep in mind that these recommendations are not a substitute for doing your own research on the cannabis security companies you are considering. You want to work with a security company that is adequately insured.
Established cannabis security companies offer a wide variety of services that can be tailored to meet the needs and budget of a specific business. In addition to their services and equipment, the provider should also offer to consult services to help you determine what specific services your cannabis business needs.
Many states require that cannabis growing operations and dispensaries have a video surveillance system. The exact requirements differ from state to state, but let’s look at California’s as an example. In California, individuals who own cannabis business must have a cannabis remote surveillance system that contains:
Other states may impose variations on these requirements; for example, in some states, you must store security camera footage for one year. Be sure to check what exactly your state requires before you purchase and set up your system.
Beyond state law, there are plenty of other reasons to invest in a cannabis remote video surveillance system. Protecting your assets is crucial in the cannabis industry. A surveillance system can protect you from theft and, more specifically, employee theft - a widespread issue among many cannabis businesses. If you have a large outdoor growing operation, then having a monitoring system can provide you with peace of mind. Your entire property is secured from all angles at all times.
You may also want to invest in a system as liability protection. If an incident ever occurred on your property, then having video footage can help you efficiently communicate with your insurance company and with law enforcement about the next steps. Furthermore, having a video monitoring system may even reduce your insurance premium.
Finally, if you run an indoor growing facility, a surveillance system can help you take better care of your plants. Many monitoring systems offer ways to attach additional sensors that can detect changes in growing environments like temperature, pH levels, and humidity. If conditions change, your system alerts you, so you can grow bigger, happier, healthier plants.
Compared to other methods of security, such as hiring a team of security guards, a remote monitoring system is fairly inexpensive. All you need to set up a system is an internet or WiFi connection and an electrical outlet. If your growing operation is located in a particularly rural area, then a cellular system may work better for you; all you need is a strong cell signal.
The cost of your new system will vary based on your business’s size and the layout of your facility. Many security companies will design a custom system to fit your needs and budget, so work with a specialist to decide on a price that you can both agree on.
If you are interested in installing an access control solution integrated with a video security system, request a quote here.
Cannabis dispensaries have a huge target on their back because they generate a lot of revenue most of which is in the form of hard cash. For that reason, it is imperative that you invest in the highest possible quality of cannabis security services to keep your staff, products and revenues safe from theft.