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Of the many hurdles the burgeoning legal cannabis industry is facing, governmental interference probably represents the single biggest obstacle to its success. Not only is the federal government dragging its feet in reclassifying cannabis as a legal good to be traded, state and local governments are also tossing their own regulatory and tax burdens at the top of the pile.

These regulations dictate everything from where cannabis sellers can operate to how they run their day-to-day operations. The one area where the stringent regulatory focus needs to be applied – security – is unfortunately given little attention, with a threadbare security system all that is needed to check the regulatory boxes.

Unfortunately, these lackluster security requirements are often seen as acceptable measures by many inexperienced operators in the market rather than the bare minimum. As Chris Eggers of CCSS explains in the introduction to chapter 6 of his book Securing Cannabis: A Comprehensive Guide To Increase Security, Reduce Costs, Reduce Liability, and Avoid Landmines, “Compliance with the   regulations should be considered a minimum, not the answer.”

Operators in the cannabis industry need to be mindful of what items are required by state and local authorities in order to remain compliant with the law, but they should never consider that to be sufficient in securing their business. While each jurisdiction has its own particular requirements, most adhere to a similar pattern of requirements from cannabis business owners.

The state of California’s regulatory enforcement board for the cannabis industry, the Dept. of Cannabis Control, or DCC, requires a variety of security measures to be included in the security plan and implemented for licensing purposes. These can be broken down into the following list of items:

  • Limited Access Requirements 
  • Security Plans 
  • Employee Badge Requirements 
  • Video Surveillance 
  • Security Personnel 
  • Locks 
  • Alarm Systems

State requirements do not go deep into detail; as long as you have some cohesive form of each item on the list, you are considered compliant. Local municipalities, however, will break each item down into further detail.

In Securing Cannabis, the example of the city of Oakland is provided as an example. In Oakland, a number of different agencies are involved in licensing and regulating legal cannabis growers and sellers, including checking and monitoring the security systems in use.

Oakland requires a comprehensive written security plan, including a series of answers to specific questions applicable to the details of the establishment’s video surveillance system. These questions detail the specific equipment used, the number of cameras, maintenance procedures, failsafe procedures, monitoring procedures, the production of recording copies, and how feeds will be shared.

Each cannabis operator needs to have a designated security representative who is able to fully comprehend the state and local regulations as applicable to the business’s security system and has the authority to implement the comprehensive security plan. Creating and applying a plan that conforms to these regulations is time-consuming and tedious, which is why it’s recommended that operators utilize the services of an experienced security contractor to draw up and run their security system.

The chapter ends with a comprehensive checklist of what items CCSS heavily recommends each LCO needs in order to remain compliant with security requirements. 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!