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In the years since a plurality of states began the process of decriminalizing cannabis, a troubling trend has begun to emerge. Violent crime has become a perennial problem in the industry, and the employees of cannabis businesses are taking the brunt of the violence and intimidation.

Workers in the cannabis industry are routinely robbed, threatened with physical violence, beaten, and even killed by both organized and opportunistic criminals during their day-to-day jobs. These employees handle and transport large amounts of both cash and a product that retains a high street value, which makes them prime targets for victimization.

This is why every employee – not just guards and security personnel – needs to be well trained in how to keep the premises secure and how to react in a security situation, as Chris Eggers of CCSS explains in Chapter 14 of his book Securing Cannabis: A Comprehensive Guide To Increase Security, Reduce Costs, Reduce Liability, and Avoid Landmines. With proper training, employees can minimize the risk of being targeted by the criminal element and how to minimize the risk of violence if they are.

The chapter details a brief list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that should be drilled into your employees as part of the onboarding process. The SOPs should include protocols for entering and exiting the facility, coordinating and collaborating with other employees, what to do in case of a burglary, working with law enforcement, and practicing discretion when uploading activity on social media.

Procedures should dictate that employees should not be left alone inside the building and should preferably enter and exit the building in groups. Before leaving the facility, a perimeter scan using outside cameras should be performed to check for loiterers.

If an intrusion alert has gone off after hours, employees should not enter the building without it being cleared by law enforcement first. If a robbery has transpired during off-hours, it’s possible that the criminal is still on the premises and may react poorly if stumbled upon by an employee.

Managers play a crucial role in ensuring all employees follow safety procedures and directing their teams to work together during stressful situations. Managers need to be trained to take all precautions first—if an intruder alert goes off or if suspicious persons loiter outside of the facility, get the area cleared by law enforcement before proceeding.

These precautions extend to potentially explosive situations, including during a robbery or burglary. Employees and managers should be trained to comply with demands, not engage in physical confrontation, and call law enforcement to clear the facility and the surrounding area before leaving.

Employees should be discouraged from posting about their work online, especially if they have means of accessing the facility or information about the business’s logistics. There have been real-world examples of employees being targeted for kidnapping based on their social media presence and then forced to open the facility’s doors.

The chapter ends with a comprehensive checklist of the questions an LCO or stakeholder should ask themselves or their security contractor when determining the SOPs and training regime for their employee security protocols. To gain access to this checklist, as well as every other piece of information you need to create an effective and compliant security system, we recommend checking out the full book. Securing Cannabis: A Comprehensive Guide To Increase Security, Reduce Costs, Reduce Liability, and Avoid Landmines is now available here!