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The Global Cannabis Industry Is Rapidly on the Rise

The accelerated legalization of marijuana over the past few decades in the United States has generated a spark in the cannabis industry. Judging by the numbers, that spark shows no signs of fading.

In July of 2018, Vapetrotter shared the findings published by Ameri Research, Inc., stating that the global legal cannabis industry held a value of $14.3 billion in 2016, with a projected growth rate of 21.1%, between the years 2017 to 2024. By 2024, the anticipated value of the industry is projected to hit $63 billion.

This robust growth rate is happening due to the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana over the past two decades. As of 2019, 33 U.S. states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana, and 10 states have legalized recreational marijuana.

While the market is largely concentrated in the U.S. at this point, many other countries are also adopting—or are considering adopting—this high-value trend. The United States’ northern neighbor of Canada recently legalized cannabis on the national level for both medical and recreational marijuana.

Marijuana Legalization Creates Cannabis Dispensary Entrepreneurial Opportunities and a Boost to the Economy

Forward-thinking entrepreneurs know a winning opportunity when they see it. With such a quick rise in revenue, and in such a short time since legalization—and not even full-scale legalization across all states—start-ups clearly consider launching a cannabis dispensary a sound endeavor.

Cashinbis notes that a whole new economy is growing to accommodate and fortify the cannabis industry. Many traditional business enterprises take years to become profitable in their industry, but nearly 90% of cannabis dispensaries report breaking even, or even making a profit as of 2016. These dispensaries included infused products companies, commercial cultivators and recreational marijuana stores, so all sectors are doing well. Just as importantly, marijuana sellers are creating new employment positions.

The Cannabis Dispensary Business Comes with a Variety of Security Risk Considerations

Entrepreneurs planning to launch a cannabis-related enterprise need to know that, although marijuana sales are perfectly legal in many states now, it is a business bombarded with various security risks, including the following.


The Cannabis Industry Is Largely Cash Only

An additional security factor involves the frequent need to operate on a cash basis since many banks fear running the risk of undergoing scrutiny for U.S. money laundering and other possible infractions until federal regulations catch up to marijuana legalization, notes Forbes. While more than 400 banks began working with cannabis businesses in 2018, there are still many cannabis dispensaries left to keeping large amounts of cash on their business’s premises.


The Role of Law Enforcement and Security Are Still Unclear When it Comes to Cannabis Businesses

Theft and damage to marijuana plants are among the foremost concerns that dispensary owners, warehouse storage facility operators and plant growers face. Even some of the safest regions in the safest states, such as Maine, are prone to threats of burglaries and robberies. Whether a bad character wants cash or product, they see independent growers with a healthy crop as easy prey. Sometimes these thieves bank on growers worrying about public perception, or that they may not receive fair treatment from law enforcement, based on the nature of their business.

In many cases and areas, law enforcement is doing its best to catch up on the public safety aspects of marijuana legalization, such as keeping people who are high off the road, which tends to push the security of cannabis establishments to the back burner for them. Therefore, this situation also leaves security responsibilities to solely up to cannabis dispensary owners.


Each State Features Its Own Unique Regulations That Require a Certain Degree of Security Compliance.

It probably comes as no surprise that various local and federal governmental bodies want to place regulations on cannabis access control and video surveillance measures, along with considerations like health and safety, product handling safety.

Each state has its own set of policies and regulations mandated by a local government entity, which is usually the respective State Department of Health, but some states have developed a specialized Marijuana Control Board that may address security concerns more directly.

Security for Cannabis Businesses Is Uncharted Territory for Many Security Firms

Even if a business has everything laid out, as far as the needs for their cannabis dispensary security plan, the next obstacle involves finding a suitable security firm.

The reality of cannabis dispensary security systems is that the rules and nature of security are still a work in progress for marijuana businesses and security firms.

This murky phase may leave cannabis business at the mercy of low-voltage companies, opportunistic start-ups capitalizing on a new trend, or anyone else simply trying to cash in on the highly lucrative cannabis market, without understanding the special needs of a facility or the regulations with which a cannabis business must comply.

On the other hand, there are many security firms that still shy away from the cannabis industry due to lingering stigma attached to marijuana. Even knowing that many marijuana sellers are doing so for medical use, some security firms consider the risk to their reputation too much. In this case, some of the best security firms that could handle the special requirements for cannabis access control might decline to becoming associated with the industry.

What Are the Prime Technologies Involved with Cannabis Dispensary Security Systems?

There are many ways to tackle a cannabis dispensary security plan incorrectly, such as choosing a security firm that uses low-quality video surveillance cameras. Any errors leave diligent marijuana business owners vulnerable to criminals and costly regulatory violations.

Here are a few ways that top security innovators approach security for cannabis enterprises:

Video Surveillance

Each state that has legalized marijuana has its own specific mandates for video surveillance, specifying minimum camera resolution, for example.

Here are just a few essential features marijuana business security leaders might keep in mind when planning cannabis video surveillance systems:


  • Quality low-light images that capture the whole picture without putting the health of the plants at risk.
  • Reliable video equipment means never missing a moment of viewing in the area under surveillance.
  • Scalable options with a security firm allow business owners to adapt to business growth, adding more cameras in new locations with a trusted business.
  • Integrates well with other aspects of security technology.

Access Control

Cannabis access control, usually in the form of keyless entry, is essential to delivering premier security to marijuana businesses. The top security systems offer low costs on hardware, utilization of active directory integration, inclusion of Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, simplified management of tasks and delivery of long-term operational improvement.

Here are just a few features and capabilities that respected security firms offer cannabis business owners:


  • Customizable unique access to specific areas in a facility, based on the individual’s profile.
  • Controllable event and alarm monitoring in a system.
  • Able to control threat level escalation and reporting from any mobile device.
  • Capable of preserving constant uptime through automatic system failover.
  • Scalable for businesses that start with two doors, going up to thousands of doors in hundreds of locations.

Most importantly, a cannabis dispensary security plan should focus on providing an operational system, attuned to the organization’s specific needs, as opposed to just security.

Notification Systems

Finally, security strategies mean little if no one gets the notification that something is amiss. Top security firms provide a variety of notification capabilities, such as text-to-speech. Innovative and human-focused notification systems improve emergency response times of personnel, management and law enforcement while also reducing panic in employees and customers.

Is Your Cannabis Business Secure?

The rewards for launching a cannabis dispensary are many, but it may draw risks for which you must prepare. Do you have a reliable cannabis dispensary security plan in place that keeps your plants safe and regulators satisfied?

Umbrella Technologies offers a full menu of high-quality security features to protect your business. Get in touch with us to talk to our elite security professionals about your cannabis dispensary’s unique security needs.

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