Over the past several years, a slew of states have legalized cannabis for recreational and/or medical purposes. In 2016, Ohio joined the list of places where patients with any of twenty-one qualifying conditions can legally obtain medical cannabis. Since the law passed, canna-businesses from grow facilities to dispensaries have sprung up all over the state. This has put a sharp spotlight on the need for cannabis security.
Like many other businesses, owners of cannabis businesses want to protect their assets, their money, and their employees and customers. Unlike many other businesses, there are specific factors faced by those in the cannabis industry that make cannabis security a particular concern. First, due to federal laws that forbid banks from handling cannabis-related money, many cannabis businesses deal in cash only. This makes them a prime target for thieves looking to strike fast and get away with large amounts of green (both in cash and cannabis).
Another factor faced by owners of cannabis businesses in Ohio is the careful controls and tracking required to be compliant with all state regulations. This makes cannabis security a real must. Whether you own a grow facility or a retail business, the onus is on business owners to properly secure and control their products. In fact, the state of Ohio requires strict “seed-to-sale” tracking in order to keep tabs on all marijuana seeds, plants, and marijuana-generated compounds as they move through the cultivation and processing phases and on through being sold at a dispensary either as marijuana flower or other THC-containing products. Should product disappear, a business’s license could be revoked.
With all this in mind, working with a knowledgeable and experienced cannabis security partner is essential.
Why You Need to Work with an Experienced Cannabis Security Integrator
Cannabis security involves a multi-tiered approach: it must protect your products and profits from thieves (both outside parties and dishonest employees), offer safety and security for employees and guests, and protect your assets from threats such as fire or water damage. Working with an experienced cannabis security integrator will ensure that you cover all of these bases with one comprehensive smart cannabis security system.
These high-tech security systems integrate every aspect of the system to monitor for threats such as fire and intruders and also to perform actions when certain alarms are triggered. For instance, a cannabis security integrator can program the system to unlock a secured greenhouse in the event of a fire or shut off a water main should a major leak be detected.
Another important feature to integrate into a cannabis security system is commercial access control for sensitive areas. For grow facilities, processing labs, and cannabis retailers, these systems ensure that only authorized personnel have access to specific areas. This is the kind of technology used for many pharmacy security systems to protect controlled substances.
Working with a cannabis security integrator knowledgeable with the current administrative laws in Ohio helps cannabis business owners plan ahead to install the proper security, access, and video surveillance systems prior to applying for a license from the state. This will not only save time and pave the way for quick approval; it also saves money when business owners don’t have to go back and make changes to their cannabis security systems. An integrated cannabis security system also makes monitoring multiple sites and keeping the system up-to-date a much more seamless process.
Keeping an Eye on Everything with Cannabis Security Cameras
Most retail operations utilize security cameras, but businesses in the cannabis industry have specific vulnerabilities that make video surveillance all the more necessary. Handling large amounts of cash and dealing with a controlled substance are two factors that set cannabis businesses apart from others. The state of Ohio also has very specific regulations around every aspect of cannabis security – including requirements for the use of cannabis security cameras. For example, the law specifies that cannabis dispensaries must have an operating surveillance system in place that either collects/stores footage 24 hours a day or is capable of live-streaming video 24 hours a day and recording when motion is detected.
Working with experts that are not only experienced with commercial video surveillance but knowledgeable about integrating cannabis security cameras into your overall business security system will ensure that your system is not only compliant; it will also make operations easier. A network of cannabis security cameras enables you to monitor spaces of all size, whether you are remote or working on-site, as well as keep an eye on multiple locations – grow operations, processing facilities, and dispensary/retail sites – all at one time. A camera system will also provide monitoring of safes, sales floors, loading docks, and all entries, exits, and parking areas (the latter of which is required by the Ohio state law governing cannabis processing facilities).
Taking Cannabis Video Surveillance a Step Further with Hidden Cameras
In addition to pro-grade camera systems, it’s also an excellent idea to consider hidden cannabis video surveillance. Today’s cameras are easy to install in hard-to-reach (and hard-to-spot) spaces. They can easily be hidden in smoke detectors, electrical outlets and boxes, light fixtures, or in everyday objects located throughout any space. They’re an excellent option to cover blind spots and areas that are hard to monitor with regular cameras. They’re also helpful for keeping a stealthy eye on anyone who comes and goes from your business.
While hidden cameras may sound a bit James Bond, they’re actually an effective cannabis security solution to monitor employees, repeat customers, and others who know where your regular cameras are located. Hidden cannabis video surveillance allows you to monitor employees to make sure they are strictly adhering to all laws as well as your own safety and security policies. They’re also helpful in monitoring all areas to ensure that your assets are accounted for 24-7, including point-of-sale machines, safes, and money storage areas to secure areas where your products are stored.
Why You Should Never DIY Cannabis Security
Particularly for small businesses, it can be tempting to attempt to DIY cannabis security without calling in outside help. This is a risky endeavor for a business, and after dealing with systems that are clunky and hard to operate or maintain, they quickly find that the ROI on professional commercial security makes the initial expense well worth it.
For a cannabis-oriented business, the risks are even higher. As mentioned earlier, handling large amounts of cash and products that are easily sold on the black market make them an attractive target for thieves. Recently in Norman, Oklahoma, two cannabis dispensaries were hit by thieves multiple times over a period of just a few hours. In addition to putting one’s business in the crosshairs of criminals, having a security system that isn’t properly functional may also put the business at risk of violating regulations and losing their license.
While DIY cannabis security may seem like an affordable and easy fix, it’s best to get started on the right foot with a system installed using professional help. This will ensure a proper security system layout (with knowledge of state requirements), better service, timely updates to the system, as well as professional monitoring and lightning-fast connection to local authorities should an incident occur.
In a complex and evolving industry like cannabis, you need a cannabis security partner with the right experience. While the cannabis industry may be new to Ohio, ProTech Security has a long history of protecting commercial facilities. Whether you have growth, processing, or distribution facilities, our security systems will work together to make sure your products, people, and profits are protected.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 35 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions, and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.