“No one wants to think of robberies and burglaries, but they are a reality for all businesses, particularly retail operators. Even if your staff or employers are not talking about robberies, they are thinking about them. Most robberies are premeditated and depend on an element of surprise and confrontation. This means that robbers are looking for weaknesses in a business’ security that would make the operation a tempting target. ” – Americans for Safe Access (ASA)
Here are some pointers to improve cannabis security
Recognize the Local Requirements
Each state has its own set of requirements and regulations for dispensaries or cultivation facilities. Additionally, local governments may have other requirements on top of state and federal laws. Regardless, licenses are required to develop and maintain an adequate security plan that must be approved by the Cannabis Licensing Official. The purpose of the plan is to prevent unauthorized diversion of cannabis, material, protecting the health, safety, and welfare of workers and the public, restrict access to legal consumers, and deter trespassing and theft of cannabis products. By extension, the security plan should include additional strategies for on-site protection from power outages, fire, chemical spills, and address other applicable issues such as storage, access control, credentialing, security officers, cameras, alarms, and internal theft.
Ensure the Surveillance System is Visible
Visible cameras work as a deterrence, especially when they are visible to the public. When potential thieves or criminals see the camera system, they may think twice about breaking in. The surveillance camera should clearly view the exterior of the building, the floor, and the backroom area.
Hire Cannabis Security Guards
It’s important to ensure that the security guards are especially trained for cannabis dispensaries. Having a security guard can ensure that only qualified individuals may enter the facility. If a dispensary has a check-in system, the security guard may help facilitate that process.
Keep an Eye Out For Inside Jobs
Many crimes committed within the cannabis industry are perpetuated by employees. It’s important to keep track of the on-goings of the backroom area where products are scaled, packaged, and disposed of. Many things could potentially go wrong at the crops, processing facilities, or logistics stage. To help mitigate these issues, it’s important for organizations to complete through background checks on the individuals they’re hiring. Additionally, in the state of California, all individuals handling cannabis projects must pass a background and Live Scan at an authorized facility.
If fencing is a part of your security plan, you should consider details such as location, fence type, and height. Fencing should protect the dispensary or crop while ensuring there are no blind spots for intruders to conceal themselves.
Having adequate lighting is an excellent deterrent for trespassers and intruders. Consider having motion-detectors to work in tandem with lighting. Check with your city or county for local ordinances. Nonetheless, install enough lighting to minimize shadowy areas where intruders may hide.
It’s recommended that camera systems are operating 24/7 to eliminate any gaps in coverage. Surveillance recordings should be kept for at least 90 days as they’re subject to inspection by cannabis licensing officials. It’s also a good idea in the event that management needs to review any breaches in security. Keep all cameras in locations that minimizes any blind spots. Also, it’s recommended that cameras have clear views of all doors and entrances.
Floor plans should be designed to reduce security risks. The floor plan should identify the activities that will take place in each area, including limited-access areas. Video systems should allow for the identification of visitors, unlocking doors, broadcasting of emergencies and announcements. It’s also highly recommended to have alarm systems that detect movement in all enclosed areas within licensed premises. Panic buttons located throughout the facility, which once pressed, will alert appropriate personnel and send notifications of an emergency situation. Some systems are set up so that an audible alarm will sound. Other systems will trigger a silent alarm while notifying local law enforcement. In the event of a burglary, employees may enter a duress code, which will also trigger a silent alarm and notify law enforcement.