The Cannabis Industry has seen an increased need for security over the last five to ten years, particularly in California. From video surveillance to panic buttons, and everything in between, Sonitrol has a security system that can transform your dispensary into a safe, secure place of business. An Overview of the Cannabis Industry
If you didn’t already know, California is now the largest market for legal cannabis. The Cannabis Industry has impacted the California economy and culture in ways.
Here are some quick facts about the market in California:
Incidents of theft could severely diminish not just the bottom line, but the professional reputation of a cannabis business, especially when you consider the product’s rapid history– it’s public view, it’s legality, and it’s commercialization– in California in the last 9 years.
The risk of crime within and toward cannabis dispensaries is higher than many other categories of retail. So the importance of effective surveillance cannot be overstated!
The use of video surveillance for cannabis distributors or retailers is the law. You need video surveillance to protect your business and the state agrees. Now more than ever, dispensary compliance is strictly enforced. Aside from it being the law, the cannabis industry is a target for criminals and the likelihood of crime occurring is higher than other businesses. You need top of the line surveillance to keep your business, products, and staff safe.
Because theft for any business can have devastating effects, video surveillance is still one of the most effective ways to halt or deter criminal activity. Did you know there is a greater probability of employee theft at dispensaries? Video surveillance is one of the primary ways to manage this problem. It allows you to more easily identify an employee problem while preventing other employees from being falsely accused.
When it comes to video surveillance, we at Sonitrol believe in offering only the best of the best. The best quality, the most reliable product, and the most comprehensive. You can be anywhere in the world and still able to keep an eye on your business.
Our internet-based digital video pairs immaculately with our audio detection system and managed access control. When the audio detection system is activated, our video surveillance immediately starts recording and capturing every detail of what is happening at your property. Additionally, our Sonitrol team is watching and informing officers of every detail going on. With us, you have a full security team protecting your most valuable assets.
The main objective of installing this system into your dispensary is to protect your product and restrict unauthorized people from entering physical places inside of your business.
Benefits of The Sonitrol System
One of the benefits of having access control in your dispensary is protecting your employees and yourself as a business owner. Access control promotes employee safety by limiting unauthorized personnel or intruders from coming inside. Another benefit is securing your products, which grants only authorized personnel from coming in contact with certain assets and maintaining high level security at all times.
An automated access control system will eliminate the need for mechanical keys, reducing the need to make copies, recover lost keys, and even carrying them on you for security purposes. When an employee moves on to another job, you can save money on re-keying by simply ordering another access card. Lastly, a key benefit of having access control inside of your facility is having an accurate audit of incidents, access, and action- easily allowing you to see when, where, and how things occur.
Our managed access control system will be aware of any movement occurring inside your building, restrict access to certain people/time to your products, and save you money from buying expensive locks. You can control your activity 24-hours a day from our central office through security professionals- meaning you will never go a second without being protected.
We can track your employees, visitors, and outside personnel as well as their use of your facility at any given time. In addition, our managed access control system manages HVAC, elevators, and lighting systems too. Anytime that you request an outline of opening and closing times, employee attendance, or access to all of the areas of your facility- we will provide them right away. We understand the importance of feeling secure and our job is to make you and your business as protected as possible.
Some of the basic access control components include:
Another aspect of our managed access control system used within the Cannabis Industry is panic buttons.
Panic Buttons, often referred to as Hold-up buttons, are common electronic devices used for security that alert authorities when pressed of a threat of harm or danger. A panic button will typically set off an alarm either within the building or send an alert to a monitoring center. The alert can be sent to local law enforcement, security, or emergency assistance services. Although panic buttons are commonly used in schools, offices, stores, and other public places, we are seeing a rise in numbers and need of panic buttons in Marijuana Dispensaries.
Having panic buttons located inside of your place of business will give you not only a physical source of protection if you sense a threat or actual danger presents itself, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing you have a backup safety plan. When emergency strikes, it can be difficult to remember safety measures you would typically practice because fear can take over your instincts. Panic Buttons give you a way to call for help if a robbery or break-in occurs. It will likely go unnoticed that you even pressed the button and likely to keep you safer during an emergency.
As the marijuana industry continues to grow and the number of states that have legalized marijuana use rises, all employers, employees, and customers need to be aware of the risks and statistics of crime at dispensaries.
It is found that the use of drugs and alcohol, burglaries, thefts, and aggravated assaults, are associated with dispensaries- the most common being burglaries and thefts. If any of these crimes happened, wouldn’t you want to feel prepared and have a security system in place to keep you, the employees, and product safe? This is where the need for panic buttons in dispensaries comes in. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and whether you are a customer, employee, or employer at a dispensary, you want to feel protected if emergency strikes. Other emergency situations that may require the need for a panic button include: fires, injuries, medical emergencies, disorderly conduct, etc.
Due to the growth of marijuana legalization across the nation, the industry is becoming a target for cybersecurity crimes. Cannabis business owners need to consider ways to keep their data and their customer’s personal information protected from the dark web. The industry already has strict rules and regulations regarding the growing, harvesting, packaging, and selling of cannabis products and now there are new security weak spots to consider.
With the exponential growth seen in the past year alone, a massive amount of sensitive data collection has followed right behind it. Credit card numbers and customers’ identities are just two examples of what’s at stake. Ensuring that you remain compliant and proactive with your cybersecurity is critical. Here’s what you need to know.
Depending on how you allow your customers to buy your products may change the ways you secure your data. No matter if your customers can make purchases online, through an app, and/or in-store at point-of-sale systems, all of this data is likely stored on the cloud and require up-to-date cybersecurity measures as well as appropriate protocol for if and when a data breach occurs.
Thankfully, there are companies who exist to provide comprehensive data security specifically for the cannabis industry like 420 Cyber. Since it’s not just company data that’s on the line, but also cannabis customers, there are new and evolving consumer data privacy laws in California. If you don’t follow these laws, you could be facing stiff fines and potentially even worse, the loss of trust from your customer base which could end up tanking your business. Don’t let securing your digital assets be an afterthought.
According to a 2018 study published by IBM found that the average cost of a cyber attack rose from 3.62 to $3.86 million from 2017 to 2018. The study also found that the likelihood an organization will have one or more cyber attacks in the coming year. That’s why it is imperative that all businesses invest in cyber security.
For example, at 420 Cyber, when a threat is identified in real-time, their technology is able to identify it and alert the team who then takes action immediately to prevent data from being stolen by notifying the customer and making recommendations based on the severity of the breach. This is a similar approach that we have at Sonitrol when it comes to physical security.
While cyber security is vitally important, physical security cannot be put on the back burner.
Now that California is home to the largest legal marijuana market, there are new rules and regulations that farmers and business owners must comply with to ensure their products get on store shelves and stay there. Tests include how pure the product is and how accurate the label is. If anything is found in violation of these rules, products are pulled from shelves. Below are a few examples of how the California cannabis industry has not met the high security standards and ways you can prevent the same from happening to you.
Last July, many cannabis-infused products were kept from store shelves due to safety test failures regarding their potency and purity. A small amount of products failed due to “unacceptable levels of pesticides, solvents and bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella,” according to an AP News report.
When these strict testing guidelines were put in place last summer, about 18% of products failed to pass between July 1st – August 29th. Sometimes, it’s an easy fix that can be corrected with an updated label. Other times, more serious problems are found like contaminated products.
The foundation of all California cannabis dispensaries should be cultivating and/or purchasing the highest quality produce to, at minimum stay, compliant and, at most, establish your company as one that sells the best products.
As the legalized marijuana industry continues to grow, dispensaries are increasingly having to address, plan, and prevent crimes like burglary, theft, and potentially violent crimes. This is a problem across the nation and unfortunately employee theft has been a huge issue that requires dispensaries to enforce strict hiring and onboarding rules. See the following theft examples from the North East to the South West:
The high risk of crimes dispensaries face is two-fold. Since most major credit card companies aren’t comfortable working with these businesses yet, they run on and accept cash only. With the large amount of cash flowing into these companies daily, robberies are increasing. Secondly, the products they sell are in high-demand, which makes it appealing for employees to steal inventory.
It’s estimated that “90% of financial and product loss in the marijuana industry can be chalked up to employee theft” according to this article. To account for employee theft, dispensaries are increasingly conducting thorough background checks and employing physical security guards to mitigate theft. A fool-proof inventory management system is also necessary to prevent theft.
Employee theft and robberies aren’t the only threats to dispensaries. There are concerns regarding licensing, growing and selling quality products, trusted distributors, and more. As customers, you can ensure your preferred retail location is licensed and pays their taxes to support dispensaries that comply with all rules and regulations. For dispensaries, it might seem like there are too many hoops to jump through to become and remain compliant, but it will be worth it in the end when your company is leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors. If you’re in need of a monitored security system for your dispensary.
On the other hand, California dispensaries are thriving for the most part. Even though only 18 out of the state’s 58 counties permit cannabis to be grown or sold, the ones that are in business are doing well. In those 18 counties, it’s estimated that there are 261 dispensaries open for business. Read our last blog, Securing The California Cannabis Industry, for more about the economic impact the cannabis industry is having. Whether you’re a cultivator or a retail business owner, there are important regulations and requirements regarding the California cannabis industry from seed to opaque packaging.
The Department of Food and Agriculture oversees the licensing of all cultivation sites and provides several regulations all sites must follow from weighing to the water source identification. These rules are in place to maintain high purity levels and also ensure the safety of farmers and their produce.
The DFA provides the following regulations that all cannabis farmers are required to comply to:
Those are just a few of the many regulations that California requires cannabis cultivators to follow. You can see everything on the California Legislative Information page for all things cannabis related. These are necessary to follow to legally grow cannabis in California, but what about keeping the highly valuable and sought after product safe? There are regulations for that as well.
The California Code of Regulations Title 16, Division 42 provides the security camera system requirements for cannabis farmers and dispensaries. Both cultivators and retail owners are required to provide the state with their procedures for allowing access to their site and how they will ensure that all access points are secured and give a description of their video surveillance system with where cameras are placed and how the equipment will be maintained.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control is charged with establishing minimum security requirements for the commercial distribution of cannabis. The transportation of cannabis and cannabis products has the following legal requirements:
The bureau also implements the following security measures to prevent unauthorized entrance into locations containing cannabis and theft of the plant or products including:
Whether you’re a cannabis cultivator or business owner, the industry requires specific security solutions that Sonitrol is uniquely equipped to cover. TotalGuard is the perfect solution for small businesses like cultivation sites and retail shops. It’s our all-in-one system that comes with video verification, impact-activated audio, glass break detection, and more.
There are around 300 dispensaries in California who have to stay updated daily on any changes that might affect their business. Following these regulations is crucial to keeping their doors open, but it’s estimated that employees are the ones who steal the most products from dispensaries. This leads us to the top 5 security precautions dispensaries should be aware of to maintain inventory and build a thriving business.
Not only is this a major precaution to address, state and local laws require dispensaries to have a comprehensive surveillance system in place. The benefits of this are innumerable, especially in the case that something does happen.
Once a system is in place, there may also be additional rules to abide by such as minimum storage capacity and keeping footage for 90 days. These vary from city to city, but all are good practices.
Our surveillance system features remote access so you can view footage in real-time anywhere, anytime, and on any compatible device. For even greater protection, our Central Monitoring Station guards keep an eye on video feeds 24/7 so that in case something does occur, they’re able to verify threats and alert the proper authorities.
Politico reported in February that “explosions and fires at cannabis factories are sending workers to the hospital with severe burns…” The process for extracting the oil from cannabis involves pouring highly-flammable butane into a cannabis-filled pipe. If this is done improperly or the tank of butane isn’t store correctly, an explosion is likely.
In response to this, the National Fire Protection Association stepped in to address fire hazards at facilities that grow and extract marijuana. The new code requires hazardous hash oil extraction process to take place in a non-combustible room that isn’t near a healthcare facility and doesn’t have children in it. Explosions like these are significantly decreasing, but the fire hazard will always remain.
Our fire alarm system detects smoke and fire early which significantly reduce losses due to fire. Regardless of the industry, all California small business owners should invest in a quality fire alarm system.
Not only is it important to have threat detection set up, it’s also important that you consider securing all points of entry and exit with security guards. To maintain loyal customers, it’s essential to communicate with all security staff the importance of the customer experience. While their job is very serious, their skills can still be respected while they ensure a safe and pleasant shopping experience.
With the industry growing so fast, things like safety and security can sometimes be put on the back burner when they should actually be getting more attention.
The industry’s growth and a high-volume of employee theft has created distrust regarding the transportation of products and money. To keep your product, money, and employees safe, equipping vehicles with mobile a security system is necessary.
Video surveillance isn’t the only thing suggested by major companies in the industry. The National Cannabis Industry Association recommends “bullet-resistant finishes, GPS tracking and streaming videos that feeds to your security “home base,” for starters.
It was just a few months ago in January that the Office of Administrative Law approved state regulations for cannabis businesses across the supply chain. With the new regulations, the doors opened wide for cannabis to be used in food products, for health benefits, and for any reason sold to adults 21+.
If you’re thinking about opening your own dispensary, catch up on the most updated cannabis regulations.
If all of the above sounds overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be with Sonitrol. Our security system can cover everything mentioned above and more.
It was just a few years ago, in November of 2016, that California passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act which legalized the use of cannabis in California. This act allowed recreational cannabis sales in the state. Since then, the presence of recreational cannabis dispensaries has exploded throughout the entire state. More recently, The Office of Administrative Law released permanent regulations for California’s cannabis industry.
Last year, it was estimated that there were 261 dispensaries in California. To us, we see that as 261 (and counting) opportunities to increase small business security.
Possibly the largest threat dispensaries face is shrinking, which is a reduction in inventory due to internal and external threats alike. Unfortunately, most dispensary losses come from employee theft. To mitigate this risk, measures taken at the beginning like a strong vetting process and background checks can ensure you hire and retain employees with integrity. Having on-site security guards can also diminish theft from employees and customers.
The best thing a dispensary can do is to invest in a surveillance system that features high-quality footage with convenient storage options. Our most cost-efficient security system is TotalGuard because it is a bundled package with must-have features including:
Proper installation is key to the success of any surveillance system. We send professional installers to your location to ensure that it is set up correctly and optimized for your dispensary’s security needs. With Sonitrol, business owners don’t have to worry about maintaining their system. With our 24/7 monitoring services, our security officers at our Central Monitoring Station keep an eye on your building when you’re not there.
We hope that you have enjoyed getting to know the ins and outs of security in the Cannabis Industry and how to keep your dispensaries protected. Contact our team to get your business secured today with our security systems at Sonitrol.
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