Many areas of the United States are going green, and we don’t mean just awareness of recycling. We’re talking about legalized cannabis use. There are now more states that have allowed marijuana use than not. Currently, thirty-seven states have legalized cannabis for medical use. Twenty of those have included legal recreational use. There are dozens of states with legislation on the docket to increase those numbers. In short, this cloud of marijuana acceptance shows no sign of thinning any time soon. So, now is the time to start thinking about dispensary security.
What some may not realize is how green this industry will make their state. According to a report by Fortune, legal sales of marijuana should teeter near $33 billion by 2022’s end. And according to that same article, it’s directly responsible for infusing approximately 520,000 jobs into our economy. Gone are the days of back-alley, dime-bag sales. Legal pot is a big, clean, legitimate business, and it’s coming to a neighborhood near you.
With this aggressively growing industry and its rapid swelling of a customer base, the marijuana world is exploding. And as regulations continue to flex, now more than ever it’s important for those on the inside to be staying on the right side of safety with dispensary security. Unfortunately, this industry is particularly ripe for danger.
What Makes A Dispensary So Vulnerable?
Cold, Hard Cash
Unique banking regulations dictate that most cannabis businesses need to operate predominantly in cash. To give you an idea of what that can look like, let’s use New Jersey as an example. On its first day of recreational sales of cannabis products, the daily gross sales topped 1.9 million dollars. That’s almost $80,000 per hour! That’s an insane amount of physical money. With that much cash on hand, it can make any dispensary a target for criminal intent.
On Hand Product
The reason for so much onsite cash is due to the demand for medicinal and recreational marijuana and its subsequent products. Using New Jersey as an example again, some reports noted more than 64,000 ounces of medical marijuana products sold in a month…and that was pre recreational sales. That was an actual product sold. Imagine how much is simply housed on the property. The amount of legal weed that is sitting under the roof of any given dispensary at one time can make your head spin. It also makes each one a target for nefarious elements.
Location, Location, Location
Zoning regulations typically require that these types of companies should be located in very specific spots in the city. These are usually outlying areas. These locations are usually less populated, which means that they can be considered more exposed. Not to mention, further away also means that it will take longer for police, fire, and emergency response teams to reach the location if there is any trouble. Think of these as exposed little islands…rich, green locations that need lots of coverage and security.
So, What Do Marijuana Dispensaries Need To Keep In Mind when It Comes To Security?
Ways In And Out
Because these locations are “little islands”, having all entry points (and blind spots) accounted for and covered is critical to the safety of your employees and customers. All points of access – both internal and external – should have security coverage.
All Eyes On You
For such a highly regulated industry, only the best in Big Brother should be considered. We’re talking about the full shebang: surveillance equipment, security cameras, motion detectors, electronic keycard/passcode access, alarm systems, fire safety, and any/all anti-intrusion steps you can take.
Your People Will Make Or Break You
The people you hire will make all the difference. With the nature of the industry, ensuring that you have the best team in place will be crucial to ensuring a safe and smooth operation. A great interview is only the first step. Thorough background checks, proper onboarding, and thoughtful training will position you for a successful and safe operation. You need to vet your incoming staff. Internal loss is also a significant contributor to profit hemorrhaging. So, internal loss prevention is paramount.
You’ll be dealing with highly sensitive information and that means a lot of digital footprints. You must keep your customer’s data protected. Safeguarding your client’s medical information is mandatory.
But The Number One Necessity For Every Dispensary…SECURITY PROFESSIONALS!
A physical presence is absolutely necessary for a legal marijuana dispensary. Visible, strolling patrols are mandatory both inside and outside your facility. You need key dispensary security personnel located in strategic locations.
All Points Of Entry
Every door needs coverage – including inside the facility. Backdoors and blind spots need to be covered.
Front Entry Before Any Guest Comes In
You need trained professionals to be checking IDs before any guests step foot into your store. Because your product is governmentally regulated, you need to ensure that guests are legally allowed to be there.
Patrolling The Parking Lot
Many of the dispensaries are turning to the convenience of curbside service. This increases the vulnerability and exposure of your staff and your customers. Ensuring the presence of trained and attentive security officers in the parking areas and curbside locations can help deter attacks.
Similar to curbside service, some dispensaries offer delivery services. This can easily put your team into exposed positions, completely away from the home base. Having a security professional during delivery is a way to increase the protection of your staff and product.
Throughout The Store
Security professionals roaming the store create a visual presence of authority and safety.
This green wave of marijuana legalization shows no sign of ebbing any time soon. If you’re planning on opening a dispensary, the time certainly seems ripe. Ensuring the safety of your customers, staff, and product is a heavyweight to carry. To learn how we can help you lighten that load with dispensary security, give our team a call today. Our well-trained and prepared security professionals are in a position to help take you to the next level. We’ll make sure your green dreams won’t go up in smoke!