Cannabis Security: Keeping Things Under Lock, Key & Camera
As with most big opportunities, cannabis businesses of every size face risks. However, a robust cannabis security system – if it is set up properly – mitigates some of those risks while doing more than meets your security camera’s eye.
Cash and cannabis create targets that necessitate heavy lifting for loss prevention and compliance. States have strict regulations for inventory tracking and control and harsh consequences for missing or unaccounted-for plants and products, so things can get real in a hurry if your count comes up short.
Whether loss occurs via skylight, back door, or backpack, the shock can leave you scrambling to make repairs and submit compliance reports and insurance claims.
A holistic approach will help protect your business against losses that affect your bottom line and attract negative attention from the press, regulatory agencies, and law enforcement. Learn what a successful security plan entails and how an ounce of loss prevention can be worth many times its weight in cannabis security.
Cannabis Security Starts With a Plan
States, along with some counties and cities within legal cannabis markets, have their own, often extensive, cannabis security regulations.
The licensing board will need to see your floor plan with an overlay illustrating your proposed security schematics. Everything from window tint to access points and landscaping may be up for review – shrubbery, for example, can be seen as cover for lurking would-be robbers.
Throwing money at high-end equipment won’t necessarily get the job done. Instead, you’ll need to factor security into your budget and develop a cohesive and compliant overall plan at the outset. Your cannabis security system is an indispensable utility, like heating and air conditioning, that is most effective when it meets the needs of your space.
Applicants are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of security requirements and the technical fluency needed to develop a compliant security plan. Investing in a cannabis security consultant to help you nail an airtight application may be well worth it.
Be Camera Ready to Protect Your Operation
Most security camera regulations revolve around video quality, camera placement, retention of footage, and law enforcement access. You’ll need to meet image resolution requirements (in pixels) along with a standard number of recorded video frames per second.
Position your security cameras to cover entrances and exits. They need to capture every square foot of your operation – and every plant in a grow. Cannabis security monitoring must operate 24/7 without interruption and extend to perimeter areas that include gates and parking lots.
When choosing video surveillance, keep in mind that some states do not permit the use of analog cameras and instead require internet protocol (IP) cameras. Always be prepared to provide requested footage to law enforcement. Depending on your state, you’ll be required to save data for anywhere from a few days to many years.
Access Control & Alarm Systems
Access control can be as basic as a standard door lock or as sophisticated as biometric recognition. Door cards and keypads are also effective for limiting access to areas where cannabis is cultivated, processed, and stored.
An alarm system is critical for ensuring cannabis security. Look for a system that will integrate with electronic access control and notify you of any unauthorized access attempts. Ideally, you should look for a system that allows for remote alarm monitoring, too.
We’d also advise carefully considering who has access and to what. Despite a few large-scale cannabis heists and smash-and-grabs, Marijuana Business Daily reports that the majority of shrinkage in cannabis businesses is internal.
Even employee background checks can fall short of telling the whole story – good or bad. An employee who engages in cannabis “micro-theft” for personal use or funnels product to the booming black market is not only robbing you of profit but also exposing you to risk.
Unplugged Security: Armed Guards
For the safety of your customers and employees, you’ll want licensed and bonded armed guards standing vigil at your dispensary during business hours. Make sure they serve as both friendly faces and keen observers of all store activity. In some states, you can even hire a security team of military veterans.
Unfortunately, when it comes to your banking needs, you may face a few hurdles. Despite cannabis researcher New Frontier Data’s estimate that the legal cannabis market will bring in about $30 billion by 2025, banks are hesitant to work with cannabis businesses, thereby limiting your payment methods to cash only.
Carrying around that much cash puts you in a vulnerable position. Instead, you can hire licensed and bonded transporters to move large sums of cash in a safe or vault.
Transporting the actual cannabis, though, is much simpler: State and local licensing bodies issue specific licenses to qualified cannabis transporters.
Purchasing & Scalability
When purchasing your cannabis security equipment, vet carefully. What seems like a sweet deal today may turn sour upon closer look at details like warranties, service, and updates.
Security is a multilayered process. To save time – and patience – you may benefit from hiring a cannabis security consultant handle all your security tasks. From the security portion of your application to the installation of your equipment, expert help can free up your schedule so you can focus on growing your business.
A healthy cannabis security system protects your assets and employees from loss and harm. Failure to follow security regulations may lead to fines, license revocation, and worst-case scenario, jail time. By planning well and keeping your security system fully operational, you can breathe easy knowing your business and your products are safe.
Have questions about your cannabis operation’s security? Reach out to us at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting to schedule a free consultation.