What You Should Know About Dispensary Security

Colorado Harvest Company

The 411 on Dispensary Security

Lately, the news is full of stories about dispensaries robbed by men wearing Halloween masks, holding employees at gunpoint with automatic weapons. According to SIVA Enterprises, a business development firm for cannabis entrepreneurs, dispensaries have replaced banks, liquor stores, and pharmacies as the most likely target of robbery and organized crime. Part of this may be due to the myth that banks won’t deal with marijuana companies, so dispensaries are unsecured havens with thousands or even millions of dollars lying around. 

Attracting Cannabis Clients: Start With a Plan

Government Compliance Regulations require cannabis merchants to have a sufficient security plan in place for licensure. So if you represent one of the many dispensary security companies targeting the cannabis business, you’ll want to stand out in the crowd by designing dispensary security plans with the industry’s needs in mind. That means keeping up with the latest tech tools, programs and security strategies your competitors offer so your firm takes the lead and takes advantage of the growing demand for dispensary security. 

Try New Tech Tools

At Greenhouse Dispensary in Walled Lake, Mich. there’s a panic button system in place throughout the building in different locations. The button contacts the police within five seconds and first responders usually arrive within three minutes. Employees also wear pins that double as covert communication devices. When an employee presses the button on the pin, three programmed phones receive a text message indicating the pin is in trouble and its location. In addition to offering tech tools like these, cannabis dispensaries need to invest in cybersecurity. That means ensuring their servers are secure and client personal and financial information is protected during all digital activities. Dispensaries can’t afford to be vulnerable to hackers or Ransomware that can cost into the thousands. 

Tackle Employee Theft

Up to 90% of the losses reported by dispensaries are due to employee theft. So advise dispensaries to conduct thorough background checks. Their staff should also be well-versed in safety procedures, how to detect threats, how to respond to threats, and how to ensure the safety of all the people involved in cannabis sales. Create a customized training program that enhances your cannabis client’s security strategy. Also, keep these tips top of mind. 

  • Set clear expectations in the way that cash and product are tracked
  • Don’t allow employees to sell to themselves
  • Limit the amount of discounting employees can do for friends and family
  • Use POS and inventory management software to do daily checks on inventory and sales

Armor Up

Considering the amount of cash they handle, savvy dispensaries have begun to take their cues from banks and install armed security features like secure vaults, security cameras and bulletproof glass. Some buildings have also retrofitted their walls with bulletproof steel so no one can shoot through the walls of their facility. 

Keep ATMs Cashless 

Another simple way for cannabis dispensaries to avoid cash theft is to limit the amount of cash on hand with a cashless ATM. The federal government and major card brands don’t allow credit card processing in the cannabis industry. Cashless ATMs were developed specifically as a payment processing solution for medical marijuana dispensaries. They provide vouchers instead of cash, confirming that funds have been transferred from the customer’s bank account to a merchant’s account. 

Toughen Up Transport

To transport both cannabis and cash, a new niche of the armored car industry has emerged. It uses Ford Transits and similar models. Most legal cannabis businesses have thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars in cash and product on hand that needs to get from warehouse to retail store. Hardcar Security, a Palm Springs, California company has a fleet of 10 Ford Transit vans equipped with GPS trackers, kill switches that can cut the engine remotely, blast-proof doors and an alert system that notifies Hardcar and the police in case of emergency. Digital cashboxes programmed to open only when the vehicle arrives at its destination is another feature that’s becoming an industry standard. INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing also provides temp-controlled vehicles. “If incorrect [sic] humidity and overall temperature are not maintained, then this can render the product substandard,” the company said in a news release. “In addition, the guards need protection from the effects of inhaling the product during shipping”. 

Secure the Exits: The Deluxe Security Podium

Finally, every good security system ensures a facility’s exits and entrances are well protected. This means the right security surveillance, weapons detection, and security guards. Since guards are the first point of contact with customers, they should make consumers feel welcome and invited, while maintaining a zero-tolerance stance on any customer activities that could present a perceived threat to the dispensary, staff or other visitors.
To do this, your security firms’ staff will need a versatile, tech-ready security station. The Deluxe Security Podium is durable and mounted on heavy-duty locking casters so you can bring it inside at the end of the day. Contact us today at 877-753-5971 and we’ll help you design a security station tailored to your cannabis dispensary clients.