By Casey Mitchell, Vector Security
Member of NCIA’s Facilities Design Committee
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, security has become an increasingly important concern for consultants and business owners. From seed to sale, the cannabis industry faces a unique set of security challenges including permitting and compliance, systems design, theft, and inventory loss.
Add to these challenges a myriad of state laws and regulations that need to be followed. But, if you partner with the right security vendor, they can help you navigate regulations to make sure your business is compliant, as well as offer detailed security plans that integrate with your business goals.
Below are some benefits an experienced security provider can offer cannabis consultants and business owners, and tips on how you can choose a partner that’s right for you:
Dedicated Team with Experience in State and Federal Regulations
An important factor to consider when choosing a security provider is their experience in the cannabis industry as well as security as a whole. How long has the company been in business? Do they have a team dedicated to the cannabis industry? How well-versed are they in cannabis laws and regulations? Do they provide comprehensive support from seed to sale? Look for a security provider that has a dedicated cannabis team that understands the regulatory landscape.
Permit Application Support and Permit Drawings
One of the most challenging aspects of the cannabis industry is permitting and design. An experienced security provider can review your state application to verify regulations are met in order to maximize your score. They should be able to provide the narrative for the permit application related to your security plan. Consider if they are able to design a comprehensive security plan showing location of devices, rough-in, power requirements, standard operating procedures and network requirements. Look for a security partner that provides these services, and inquire if these services are free or if there is an additional charge.
There’s a lot of moving parts that go into getting a cannabis business up and running…and even beyond. A good security provider can coordinate with builders, construction companies, power companies/utilities, architects, and other partners for streamlined deployment of systems.
Enhanced Security and Asset Protection
Cannabis businesses tend to deal with large amounts of cash and valuable products that make them a target for internal and external theft, as well as other security threats. An experienced security integrator can design, install and implement a comprehensive security plan that includes video surveillance, access control, panic buttons, and monitored intrusion and fire alarm systems. Make sure your security provider can offer a range of products and services that will protect your business and your staff during and after business hours.
An essential part of security is protecting inventory from internal and external theft as well as environmental threats like fire. Rapid response and quick emergency dispatch are key should an incident occur. Look for providers that offer 24/7/365 in-house alarm monitoring, redundant communication capabilities, and ask if their monitoring centers are U.L.-listed. They should also have false alarm protocols in place so your business can avoid costly fines associated with false dispatch.
Increased Operational Efficiencies
Working with a security provider can help cannabis businesses increase their operational efficiencies. For example, with a comprehensive security plan in place and a security partner that can proactively advise on best practices, you can focus on running your business knowing that your people and product are protected. Additionally, video analytics can supply valuable data and reporting to help you optimize operations such as identifying areas for improvement, opportunities for growth or additional employee training; spotting violations to help avoid compliance and permitting infractions; and analyzing traffic patterns to maximize store layout performance and ensure adequate staffing during peak business hours.
Access to the Latest Security Technology
The security industry is constantly evolving with new technology being developed to address emerging threats. Working with a security partner gives cannabis consultants and businesses single-source access to the latest products. By leveraging these advanced technologies, you can stay ahead of potential threats. Choose a security vendor that has well-established relationships with trusted equipment manufacturers. Your provider should be able to offer curated devices that integrate with each other and that can be controlled via a single platform, such as a mobile app, so you can control all aspects of your security system anytime, anywhere. Some security providers even have dedicated in-house product teams that continually source and evaluate the latest technologies. Consider how your provider stays on top of new trends and technologies.
Ongoing Service and Support
Even if your business is operational, you’ll still benefit from the ongoing support an experienced security partner can provide. If the security vendor provides a single point of contact, it’s easier to schedule service, inspections, monitoring, and other critical
needs, ensuring your facilities remain fully functional. Ask if your security partner provides post-installation service and support including ongoing testing and inspections to remain compliant with the authority having jurisdiction.
Whether you’re a cannabis consultant or a business owner, look for security providers with industry experience; permitting, compliance and design expertise; customized security solutions; reliable alarm monitoring; and cost-effective solutions. By choosing the right security partner, cannabis businesses can mitigate security risks and ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.
Casey Mitchell is an enterprise account manager for Vector Security’s dedicated cannabis solutions team. He has more than 22 years of experience designing security and communications systems for the U.S. Department of Defense and other highly-regulated industries, like cannabis.