Take Extra Steps to Strengthen Your Security
November 21, 2016
Because you deal with large amounts of cash and a product that’s not easily identifiable, your business must make security a priority. You can’t completely eliminate theft, but you can develop a plan that goes beyond your state’s compliance requirements for security to further protect your business, employees, customers, money and product.
Beyond state requirements
Security requirements are outlined in great detail in state regulations. For example, almost every state that regulates cannabis requires that there be an alarm system, video surveillance system, and areas with restricted or limited access.
But every dispensary or retail store should want to expand security much further than this. There’s so much more that you can do beyond what’s required by the state. Here’s a checklist to help ensure that your current security operation hasn’t overlooked any crucial details.
- Visitors: Make sure that all visitors obtain and actually wear their badges. Keep a log that states the name, date, time and purpose of the visit. In addition, visitors must be escorted and monitored at all times.
- Restricted and limited access signs: Enforce the regulations on which employees and visitors are allowed in particular areas of your shop. Follow your specific state requirements as to how large the signs and the sign lettering should be.
- Alarm systems: States vary widely in their minimum requirements for a security alarm system. Some states require only that there be an alarm system, without specifying anything further. Other states require that it must immediately detect an entrance. However, a good alarm system should have a failure notification, a perimeter alarm, silent panic buttons (which notify law enforcement of an emergency), motion detector and break glass alarm/notification. There should also be commercial-grade door locks at all entrances and exits.
- Video surveillance: Many states regulate where cameras must be located. There is usually 24-hour surveillance at all points of entry and exit, point-of-sale locations, limited and restricted access areas, and places where product is held. But it’s best to also have a camera on the parking lot and delivery drop-off points, as well as the capability to record adjacent areas. Check the resolution and angle of the cameras to ensure that the video is of high quality and can produce an image clear enough for identification purposes. Additionally, the time and date stamp must not obscure the recorded image.
Review how long you must store the video recordings according to your state regulations. Some states require storage for at least three months. But if no requirements are given, establish your own policy.
- Guards: Business owners often vary on whether they want security guards onsite. If you do hire guards, consider whether they will be on your paid staff or from an outside company, as well as how will they be vetted, trained and armed.
- Safes or vaults: Some states require a state-approved safe or vault. Keep a log of all employees who have access to it. Make sure that keys or codes aren’t kept in areas where anyone other than authorized employees can gain access to them.
- Lighting: Provide adequate lighting both inside and around the perimeter of the building. Adjustments should be made so that surveillance cameras receive a usable image. You should also have a backup power system in the event of outages.
Finally, set the dates to review your security plans and to check for necessary upgrades. Many states also require that security equipment be tested monthly and that testing logs be kept for several years. For example, New York state requires that these logs be kept for five years.
By Devon Landis, Esq.
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
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