G. Michael Verden
Owner and CEO
The Lake Forest Group
On September 12, 2017, a group of masked men forced their way into a marijuana store in Washington, shot and wounded an employee, and stole an unspecified amount of marijuana. Similar incidents have also recently occurred in California, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Colorado. An unfortunate reality about the marijuana industry, the majority of marijuana businesses do not have the necessary security measures to safeguard their product, categorized as a Schedule I drug—the same category that includes heroin and peyote.
Because marijuana is an illegal drug under Federal law and a cash-only business with inherent dangers, comprehensive security procedures must be in place to operate at a best-in-class level. And because keeping large amounts of marijuana and cash on hand can put many businesses at risk, a holistic security strategy is needed to protect people, product, and property.
As part of that strategy, a security plan must demonstrate how to prevent theft or diversion and address other areas of serious concern:
- What type of vehicle, in-transit storage container, tracking device, and personnel will be used to transport marijuana and money?
- Are procedures and technologies in place in case of an emergency, such as an armed intruder or power failure?
- How is product tracked from seed to sale or from seed to disposal (e.g., waste)?
- Do the safes, vaults, doors, and locks meet industry standards and specifications?
- How are employees and visitors screened to prevent diversion as they enter and exit the property?
- Do written plans specifically instruct staff on emergency evacuations, lockdown, relocation, and shelter-in-place?
Ultimately, the effectiveness of your security depends on how well you integrate technologies (video surveillance, automated access control, biometric readers, product tracking, and intrusion detection); processes (shipping and receiving, access management, and training); personnel (on-site security and transportation security); and liaison with critical third parties (state officials) and first responders (police and fire).
Learn more about best practices in this emerging industry in my session “Keeping the Growing and Selling of Cannabis Safe.” Join me on Wednesday, September 27th, at the Impact Learning Theater #1, from 2:15 pm to 2:45 pm.
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