Marijuana, once illegal in all 50 states, is rapidly moving from illicit to normalized. As of 2018, 30 states have some form of legalization, eight of which have legalized recreational use while the rest have gone only as far as allowing medical marijuana. One cannot help but notice that since California first legalized medical marijuana use in 1996, the movement to legalize marijuana in the United States has been rapidly picking up steam.
However, with legalization comes a new risk for the dispensaries that sell marijuana. Most dispensaries are forced to operate on a cash basis, as many financial institutions have thus far shied away doing business with the industry. Unfortunately, the presence of cash and a product that is still sold illicitly in many states make dispensaries prime targets for criminals. From simple “smash and grabs” to sophisticated armed robberies, dispensary safety has become an urgent new topic throughout the security community.
To help marijuana entrepreneurs get their arms around the issue, we’ve put together a list of our top five tips to safeguard your dispensary:
- CCTV and alarms: You’ll need a good closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring system and intruder detection alarms. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure both the exterior and interior of your dispensary are monitored 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Ideally, your CCTV and alarm system will be connected to local law enforcement as well, to improve rapid response in a crisis.
- Vaults and safes: Many robberies have been perpetrated by criminals with construction tools who have simply smashed their way through walls or roofs to access marijuana inventory and cash. Even concrete walls and ceilings aren’t sufficient against heavy demolition tools. As such, both inventory and cash should be kept in state-of-the-art vaults and safes that are impervious to all but the most sophisticated criminals.
- Inventory management: Tight control over inventories is crucial to the success of any dispensary. Whether you use standard inventory management software or one of the recently developed specialized marijuana inventory control systems, you’ll want to retain rigorous control over your marijuana inventory. States such as Maryland are looking into mandatory RFID inventory management systems to enhance security at dispensaries.
- Frost and safety window films: Dispensaries need commercial appeal but also the ability to maintain security. Frost window films allow control of public view of secure spaces and safety window films provide a strong barrier that contains the glass upon impact.
- Ballistic glass: Last but most certainly not least, ballistic glass is an essential security tool to ensure the safety of your marijuana dispensary. All the vaults, CCTV, specialized inventory management tools, and alarms won’t do much good if a would-be robber can simply threaten you and your employees with a firearm pointed at the glass.
The team at Signals Defense started the business providing security products to some of the most sophisticated and sensitive government agencies in the world, then took that expertise and knowledge base to the commercial sector. Additionally, Maryland recently legalized medical marijuana use, so the company is well-positioned to provide top-notch security to this new and vulnerable industry. Contact Signals Defense for a free consultation on your dispensary or other building security needs today.
Please note, Signals Defense in no way supports or condones the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational reasons.
You can read more about building and security solutions here.