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Cannabis Transportation & Security: Is Your Dispensary Truly Safe?

Security has become a concern as the news is infiltrated by dispensaries being robbed

For the country’s cannabis dispensaries, security has become a concern as the news constantly has dispensaries being robbed at gunpoint, targeted by cyber-hackers, and worse. The transportation of cash and cannabis products is quickly becoming a safety issue for the industry. California is currently fixing to become the largest market in the nation selling legal marijuana as the implementation of Proposition 64 is mere weeks away. With the regulations coming out just last week, activities will continue to ramp up for recreational legalization as everyone seeks to get a slice of the projected $5 billion California cannabis industry pie. With a high degree of cultivation, transportation, inventory and cash moving within their respective states across the country already, inventory is building up in California. With the fact that most cannabis businesses cannot bank their money away, the allure of cannabis and cash flush businesses can be prime targets for theft. This means that existing and emerging cannabis businesses such as yours needs to ensure the security of your establishment as well as the safe transportation of your products and cash. These are what need to be top of your mind day in and day out. 


Why Security Needs to be a Priority

The vulnerability of holding cash and valuable products within a marijuana retail operation has spelled danger for many in the cannabis industry. While most of the cannabis dispensary robbery victims currently operate outside the legal cannabis market, and security measures are usually tighter in legal operations, this still raises concern as the legal industry grows. This year, a Santa Rosa medical marijuana distribution center was robbed and the employee tied up while they helped themselves to cash and marijuana in their vault. Also this year, a south Los Angeles dispensary security guard lost his life during a brazen robbery. These are just a few of the assaults on cannabis employees that are making their way onto the headlines, and these operations believed they had their security covered. Physical assaults and robberies aren’t the only things threatening marijuana retailers. Earlier this year, the widely-used inventory system MJ Freeway was the victim of a massive cyber-attack, affecting the operations of 1000 dispensaries. This raises questions about the vulnerability of patient data collected by medical and recreational dispensaries. Service providers and California’s legislators are taking notice of the need for cannabis security and transportation, and are stepping up in a big way to increase safety in cannabis. 


Efforts to Advance Safety and Security

This month, recognizing that there will be a giant stream of tax going into California’s treasury, Treasurer John Chiang was prompted to suggest armored cars as a necessity for transporting cash for taxes. This highlighted the ongoing problem in the cannabis industry surrounding the lack of backing for cannabis businesses. Some are even needing to resort to “backyard banks” as a means to store the earnings. Recently, it was announced that the Federal Bank branch in San Francisco and Los Angeles will start accepting cannabis accounts. The efforts came after members of the National Cannabis Industry Association advocated for cannabis businesses to be allowed access to banking that will keep their money and their people safe.


Features of Cannabis Security


Security firms all over have arisen with the simple goal of protecting your cannabis and cash. Here are a few features of safety and security that most types of security firms are currently providing. You should be looking for these key things when dealing with a new security firm for your cannabis retail operation:

Secure Transportation and Delivery – Cannabis transportation companies are using armored vehicles that are driven by employees with experience driving in hostile environments. These companies ensure that employees have advanced safety and security training, as well as all the required licenses and documentation to ensure cannabis and cash are able to be transported to their holding places safely and with peace of mind. Companies like Eaze are taking drone technology to a new level with exploring drones as a means to securely transport and deliver cannabis to customers, although these activities aren’t supported under new regulations.

Advanced Threat Detection – Many of the robberies that have occurred in dispensaries have involved guns, which indicates that retailers haven’t done enough to be able to detect threats of weapons. Make sure you have weapon detection systems in place so that a threat is made known to you before the perpetrator has a chance to get through the door. Some of these detection systems are subtle, and can be implemented without taking away from your aesthetic or making the customer feel unsafe.

Cyber Protection – Ransomware is becoming an increasingly big threat where information is being held hostage and businesses are having to fork over big bucks to salvage their information. The MJ Freeway example was a big eye-opener to the scope of the threat posed by cyber hackers. You will want to make sure your cannabis security company will work on the back end to ensure that all cybersecurity is tight and that your servers are not left vulnerable to hackers wanting to cash in on your valuable cannabis information.

Guards – Not only are the companies emerging security companies able to provide marijuana retail operations extra security during high-volume times, they’re also looking at ways technology can be involved in guarding cash and products. Cannabis security firms are looking at the benefits of UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) to patrol the perimeter of properties where cannabis is cultivated and stored. These companies are demonstrating a high degree of forward thinking on how security for cannabis can be automated. You will want to make sure that your security company is forward thinking in protecting your assets.


Never Underestimate the Need


Businesses that are dedicated to protecting the security of your cannabis are on the verge of an industry that could very well quadruple in demand as more marijuana retail stores pop up across the country.  Take time to talk to your business partners and management team in your cannabis dispensary about whether you feel you’re protected enough. If there are question-marks, cannabis security companies can help assess where there may be significant gaps that could leave cannabis businesses like yours vulnerable. While it’s exciting to be on the verge of another green rush of cannabis, don’t let enthusiasm take place of ensuring your cash, crop and most importantly, people are safe and secure.

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