Is your marijuana business safe? Are marijuana dispensaries magnets for crime? These are the questions that are being asked about your cannabis business and the marijuana industry as a whole right now.
What is your answer?
The truth is, with the right marijuana security procedures, your dispensary or growhouse can be just as safe as any business.
Unfortunately, security for marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis businesses does need to be taken more seriously than your average mom and pop store. Here are the threats you’ll face:
- Physical Theft: As a cash business, dispensaries are particularly attractive to thieves. A marijuana dispensary in Santa Rosa caused concern in their community last summer after it was robbed at gunpoint.
- Cyber-theft: Businesses that store customer information - particularly medical information - are particularly susceptible to cyber-theft. Last year MJ Freeway, a software platform for cannabis businesses, was the target of a cyber-attack that shut down the software but didn’t succeed at stealing customer data.
- Employee Diversion: Unfortunately, your cannabis employees are your biggest risk. According to industry experts employee theft accounts for 90% of financial and product loss in the cannabis industry.
With the security threats your cannabis business faces, and the close scrutiny you face from law enforcement and your community, it’s vital to make marijuana security a top priority. Here are a few aspects of your dispensary or marijuana growhouse security you should consider:
Marijuana Security Procedures and Training
The first line of defense for your cannabis security is you and your employees. The fact that theft is highest with employees makes it even more important you have clear hiring procedures, security protocols and training in place.
- Make sure every employee is vetted with a background check and thorough interviews. Your goal should be to find trustworthy full time employees that you can train and pay well.
- Train all employees on security procedures such as how to handle product and how to keep security information safe.
- Limit the opportunities for employee diversion by rotating shifts to prevent collusion, limiting certain access to only managers and training for how to respond if an employee sees any diversion.
Marijuana Security Systems and Services
In addition to basic security protocols, you should also have the best possible marijuana security systems in place. This includes cameras, motion detector alarms, biometric locks and security personnel. Depending on your area, you may need a full-time security guard to patrol the premises. For transportation of cash and product you can also use marijuana security services or other security services.
Cannabis inventory management is the best way to limit your vulnerability to theft and help with early detection. There are two major aspects to managing your marijuana inventory:
- Take stock of your inventory at least twice a day. Especially for marijuana dispensaries, make sure you are running inventory checks between shift changes and regularly throughout the day. This will help with early detection for smaller thefts.
- Limit the amount of inventory that is kept readily accessible. In order to be less of a target, only keep the cash and product necessary for your immediate business requirements. Any additional assets should be stored offsite or in a validated vault.
Cannabis Safety Equipment
Theft from employees often involves very small amounts of cash or product. These smaller thefts can be just as damaging to your business if they aren’t quickly detected. The proper cannabis safety equipment can limit your employee’s opportunities for theft. Aprons and other equipment that doesn’t allow employees to pocket plants or money and see-through gloves are several ways to make it difficult for employees to divert any of your inventory.
Looking for more tips on improving your marijuana security? Check out our free guide, “The 7 Safety Pitfalls Every Cannabis Business Needs to Know.”