Monitoring Marijuana

 Using the services of established security companies will protect the business property of licensed cannabis businesses.

By Diana Campos

Security and TechnologyOnce marijuana dispensaries got the legal go-ahead to operate as legitimate businesses in certain states, many recognized it as a golden opportunity to make some green. The new industry provided job openings for growers, extractors, and perhaps less obviously, even for security technicians.

In order to operate in their respectful cities, licensed dispensary owners, as well as growers and processors, must adhere to mandatory regulations. These include especially strict security protocols which vary from state to state. As the nation’s pioneer for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the state of Colorado had the especially daunting task of setting up a template that would satisfy both tentative legislators and critics, as well as move what was until recently a highly lucrative black market business into a regulated market.

The guidelines eventually gave textual birth to what is now 12 pages of just security regulations alone—everything from camera placement to alarm system installation. Failing to meet even a single one of these rules, such as not having a battery backup of at least four hours, can potentially shut down an entire operation.

Professional Services

Hiring security professionals is a must, but when bigname companies like ADT announced that they would not provide service for Cannabis facilities based on their illegality in the eyes of the federal government, it left a gap in a vital part of the industry. Many privately-owed security companies rushed to fill in this gap with assurances to pass inspections, but not very many were able to deliver.

Having helped state legislators write the security requirements for marijuana businesses, Denver-based Canna Security America is one of the leading Cannabis industry security companies to emerge. Originally of Envision, a security firm that set up systems for popular restaurant chains, Dan Williams and several partners are able to provide a service that other companies either refused to or could not. They also offer brand-name CCTV and smartphone remote accessibility.

But their success goes beyond top brands and cool gadgets. The fact that the experienced team knows every step to take in order to meet MMED standards is a major reason the company continues to grow. They understand that the marijuana industry has unique monitoring needs due to the way it is forced to operate—with lots of cash and high-value product on hand. And considering the amount of handling involved—from growing, trimming, weighing, transporting, testing, and even displaying—Canna  Security America comprehends all too well the higher risks of internal theft.

To prevent such shrinkage, any marijuana or marijuana product that enters or exits any dispensary, lab, garden, or production facility is tracked from “seed to sale.” This also insures that there aren’t pounds of pot leaving dispensaries and making it across state lines—a major concern for those in opposition of the industry.

But Colorado was just the start of what has quickly become a lucrative business. As of now, nine states have fully operational dispensaries. A handful of others are expected to open up shop soon, including Illinois. Each state has different security requirements, with recreational establishments mandated to have the most stringent.

Geographic Expansion

Washington, and more recently Oregon (which will sell recreational marijuana through dispensaries starting on October 1 of this year), were the next two states after Colorado to open pot shops to the general public. Of course, the best place for these dispensaries to search for security service providers is locally, and the Pacific Northwest has certainly generated its own brand of specialists. Companies like CannaGuard Security, which are adept at OMMP and I-502 compliance, guarantee inspection approval the first time around, every time.

In terms of video security, the company provides high- quality video monitoring systems at the minimum camera resolution of 640 x 470 pixels, with 24-hour recordings at 10 frames per second, as obligated. For extra protection, they also offer infrared, dome, fixed lens, and pan/tilt cameras that can capture images without blind or dark spots. Video systems can be integrated with alarm systems to further protect from outside forces, as in with “crash and smash” scenarios.

Whereas burglars used to be able to break in and literally smash alarm panels in order to disarm them, “crash and smash protection tells the monitoring company every time an alarm system is armed, every time a door opens, and even which door it is” explains Barb Alderman, CannaGuard’s Marketing Director. Couple that with high-tech IP compatible equipment and it becomes absolutely impossible to exit a marijuana facility without leaving a trackable trace.

Like any other successful business, the reported companies have expanded to meet the security requirements of other states outside their own. They, like the rest of the nation, have their eyes on where regulated markets will spring up next. Their eyes just happen to be constantly recording.

Resources

Canna Security America – 4704 Harlan St. Ste. 511 Denver, CO 80212 Tel: (888) 929-4272

CannaGuard – Lake Oswego, OR Tel: (884) CannaGuard; (844-226-6248) www.cannaguardsecurity.com

Kastle Systems – www.videoguarding.com

Mid Atlantic 6402 Arlington Blvd. Falls Church, VA 22042 Tel: (703) 528-8800 Fax: (703) 528-2103

Philadelphia 2325 Fairmount Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19130 Tel: (215) 232-3700 Fax: (215) 232-5550

Houston 3121 Richmond Ave. Houston, TX 77098 Tel: (713) 528-2700 Fax: (713) 620-6770 15950

Dallas North Dallas Pkwy. Suite 400 Dallas, TX 75248 Tel: (214) 638-8111 Fax: (214) 951-8165

Author: Diane Campos

Diana Campos is a Texas native and her articles have appeared in Texas Marijuana Magazine and Sativa Magazine. A cannabis enthusiast through and through, Diana spends her free time at Houston NORML events and traveling to marijuana-friendly locations both in this country and internationally.

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