The “Legal” Cannabis (or Marijuana) industry is expanding rapidly in the United States. I’m including both the many states which have legalized “Medical Marijuana” as well as the few states that have now fully legalized Cannabis for recreational use. Whether you agree with this trend or not, polls indicate that the majority of US citizens now believe Marijuana should be legalized. Every election cycle now includes many state initiatives dealing with the legalization of Marijuana. This phenomenon has brought to prominence the need for cannabis security in this embryonic, newly legalized and highly regulated industry.
Cannabis Security: Compliance and Theft
Much like banks and pharmaceutical companies, there are not just one but TWO fundamental reasons that Cannabis security is so important for this emerging industry:
Compliance: Legislatures and the populace are understandably nervous about legalizing a new intoxicating substance such as marijuana. As a result, where marijuana is legalized it tends to be VERY highly regulated.
Theft: The Cannabis industry is imperiled by the risk of theft from growers because of both the high value nature of cannabis-based goods and the fact that today it remains largely a cash-based business.
The Cannabis Business Times recently published 32 tips for growers to consider in maximizing cannabis security. Below is our view of the highlights of these recommendations:
- Choose security systems that serve the dual roles of regulatory compliance and theft prevention
- Go “beyond” minimum compliance requirements – just because you are in compliance doesn’t mean that people can’t steal from you
- Buy “long term” security solutions with room to expand
- Choose security partners with experience in regulated industries
- Early detection and real-time notices of anomalous events is critical
- Understand which areas of your grower operation are most attractive to thieves from a financial return perspective and provide the highest levels of security layers for these high value areas
- Strive for the same level of security that a bank would
- Inside jobs are the most likely form of theft, so invest in interior security protocols in addition to external protocols
- Don’t hide your security systems and devices, make them very visible
- Create an environment that fosters honesty
- Employ strict employee and visitor identification protocols and systems
- Produce continuously rather than in bursts; “batches” are easier to time and target for theft
- Follow through on prosecution of theft
So to stay on the right side of the regulators in these early days as well as provide as much theft protection as possible for your high value cannabis goods, we recommend a comprehensive, multi-layer some approach to cannabis security.
OpticalLock can be especially useful in assisting in the implementation of bullet points 1-5 above. The OpticalLock system is a great choice as part of that layered approach because of its modest cost of ownership, versatility and application flexibility. The bundled lock/seal/tracking functionality the OpticalLock system provides is extremely useful in both shipping and warehouse security scenarios. OpticalLock’s patented optical-fiber based tamper-evidence technology is backed up by encrypted database and communications software, which provides a highly secure audit trail of any actual and attempted entrances to your in transit containers and warehouses.