Cannabis security plans are a meaningful contributor towards the overall points in applications for medical, leagalized adult-use dispensaries or craft growing facilities. All of these cannabis businesses are heavily regulated state-by-state which require signficant security process, planning and specific detail on your security polices as it relates to customers, employees and emergency situations. The security systems the applicant chooes to go with can make or break the security plan exhibit.
Choosing the right partner who has the technical apptititude along with detailed commercial experience with security policy combined with Industry Experience in the Cannabis Industry is vital. This partnership will pay dividends in the application process and beyond by establishing the right security system specfications, policies and culture for your cannabis business.
To outline our perspective we are going to take Illinois as an example. Here we breakdown the regulations cited by the Illinois Department of Financial Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
The attention to detail for any cannabis security system is critcillal for compliance.
“Provide a plan that, at a minimum: (i) accounts for the prevention of theft or diversion of cannabis, (ii) demonstrates safety procedures for dispensing organization agents and purchasers, (iii) establishes procedures, equipment, and designs that provide for the safe delivery and storage of cannabis currency, and (iv) demonstrates that all security procedures, equipment, and designs are and will be kept compliant with all applicable laws and administrative rules, including and in particular those set forth in Section 15-100 of the Act .”
So here is why we believe the security plan (exhibit h) has set such a high precedent?
Why does it account for so many points (26%) in the application?
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.
How will Law Enforcement Adapt
There is no roadside sobriety test or ‘Weed Breathalyzer‘ to detect the specific quantity of marijuana usage like breathalyzer tests used by officers who suspect a driver is impaired by drinking alcohol
Prohibiting the sale of Cannabis to under age youth is a high priority.
Cannabis has been known to be a ‘gateway’ drug for youth as a bridge to experiment with other highly addictive and illegal substances. The bottom line is keeping kids safe long-term as states begin legalizing the sale of Marijuana.
The Monitoring of Packaging, Sales and Storage
Every step in the chain-of-custody must be accounted for with video surveillance recordings.
Robberies at dispensaries or craft growing facilities, while transporting marijuana and products for distribution is a high-risk business. Stolen products while the staff is distracted or a customer is in a blind spot can be a massive issue. Burglaries during hours of operation or after hours are happening a lot. If you get a second Google this “Dispensary robberies Oklahoma between 2017-2018” and tell me what you find. The statistics are high, and it’s growing. It’s a high-risk cash-business and it needs to be treated that way. That’s why the security plan is such an important and meaningful area.
Having the right security technology, the right training, the right process, the right people in place is hugely important. Having a higher and more sophisticated security system can reduce your overall insurance cost. It can improve so what happens if some somebody accidentally breaks a very valuable machine or assets in your facility, or piece of inventory, you have to file an insurance claim if you don’t have the proper security technology to audit what actually happened, then you might be out of pocket for it.
“Traditional security system providers, in my experience, tend to shy away from the cannabis industry. Umbrella has done consulting and security for the federal government, the Chicago Transit Authority, the United Center, the National Football League, Retail Businesses and manufacturing facilities. I see this as a growing emerging industry, but the reality is when you work with a lot of law enforcement, perception can be miscued and anything that’s new, some people aren’t super comfortable with. So there is a stigma still in the security industry as it relates to helping out cannabis businesses.”
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.
There should be 5 Sections to your Cannabis Security Plan
1.) Security Compliance Narrative
This section should be between 20-25 pages and consist of all the check-boxes of compliance as it relates to securing your cannabis dispensary. It should include all of your security processes, procedures, safeguards. Including but not limited to:
Emergency operating procedures
Active shooter response plan
Crowd control plan
Information Security Plan (cybersecurity plan)
Security System Maintenance & Backup
Employee Background Checks and Additional Safeguards
Restricted Access Areas
Community Security & Outreach Program
Security Equipment Maintenance Program
Vault & Theft Prevention plan
Cannabis Goods Display Security
Dispensary Site Access and Capacity- What is the customer flow upon entrance & exit
Site Construction and Notification- how are you going to handle changes in the security plan after you get your conditional license.
And Much More...
Free Advice on your Cannabis Security Plan
2.) Security System Descriptions
This section should be in the 8-12 page range. It is a system by system breakdown of all your security system types. This should cover your video surveillance systems, access control systems, and intrusion and alarm systems. It should cover what your dispensary’s security standards are within each system description. Cover all security compliance definitions & outline a system diagram for each layered security system.
3.) Security System Floorplans
These are security system engineering designs that are an overlay to your established dispensary floor plan. You need to account for the following sections. This doesn’t count towards your 50-page limit.
- Interior Video Surveillance
- Exterior Video Surveillance
- Interior Access Control
- Exterior Access Control
- Interior & Exterior Intrusion Systems
4.) Description of Security Vendors
This section should be in the 5-8 page range. The desertion of security vendors section is an overview on all the selected private security firms who are not only helping you in the design of your dispensary security system but beyond into operations. This should be a break-down and profile of each organizations core capabilities, roles in the pre-construction, and post construction of the dispensary.
5.) Private Security Contracts
We anticipate this to be a highly misinterpreted clause for dispensary and craft growing facility applicants.
“Provide a copy of a contract with a private security contractor licensed under Section 10-5 of the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint, Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004 (225 ILCS 447/10-5”
Our interpretation: We’ve been in the security industry for nearly 20 years. We’ve never seen an alarm company that does fingerprint screening, a fingerprint screening vendor who installs locks or a Locksmith who does private investigations or supplies armed security guards.
Get the picture?
We believe it is advantageous for adult-use dispensary applicants to have a contract in-place we vetted security firms for EVERY license and core competency. Applicants should heavily conduct due-diligence in this area before signing a letter of intent to supply services conditional on the approval of their license.
Telling your Security Story and Proving your Commitment to Security.
In all exhibits, applicants should be providing detail on their compliance in every area. The other section is conveying why they should be the lucky ones to get a license. This is done by telling your story…
What is the fundamental framework of your culture of security? Security is much more than cameras, guards and guns. It’s how you’re training employees to interact with your customers. It should be a day one enforcement on how you’re engaging people from the beginning. If you’re not training your employees on the culture of security, I think you’re going to run into problems long term.
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.