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San Francisco is showing troubling signs of entering a multi-year crime wave, as robberies, auto thefts and homicides have precipitously increased over the past several years. Not surprisingly, cannabis dispensaries are one of the most commonly targeted places of business. With a clientele that is required to pay in cash and a product that moves very well on the street, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

These have impacted dispensaries more than most. In one egregious example last year, police failed to publicly communicate that one or more professional crews of thieves had targeted 5 dispensaries on Friday, May 29, and that they may target other dispensaries. In the following days, millions of dollars’ worth of product was stolen from some of the largest dispensaries in the city.

With the proper authorities either unwilling or incapable of providing protection for businesses in the bay area, business owners are largely on their own in terms of security. Alarms, locks, CCTV, personnel training, and security guards are all necessary aspects of a security system for a dispensary – these present their own issues, however.

Compliance: Liability and Responsibility

Despite the city’s own failures protecting its citizenry, it has no issues laying legal responsibilities for the safety and prosperity of customers visiting a business on the shoulders of that business. Dispensaries are required to set up a security plan and system that conforms to the city’s regulations, laying an onerous legal burden on the cannabis business that they are often not equipped to handle.  In addition, State rules and regulations must be followed as well.

The security system must include approved equipment, layouts, and personnel, but the efficacy of each item is highly variable. Even worse, if a robbery occurs and customers or employees are injured, a business that had passed certification from a careless desk jockey may be found to have been lacking upon closer legal scrutiny, opening it up to a host of destructive civil suits.

One of the biggest potential liabilities you will face is for your security personnel – the guards you choose to bring in and protect your business. Because dispensaries deal primarily in cash and sell a product that sells exceptionally well on the street they represent an extremely valuable target for crime. The likelihood of being targeted for robbery or burglary is disproportionately high, as a cursory Google search for ‘bay area dispensary robberies’ can confirm.

This means that you will want to have a significant guard presence on your premises to protect the safety of your customers and employees, your merchandise, and your business from liability if someone were to be injured during such a crime. This by itself comes with its share of risks, as good security guards can be hard to come by.

Security – Armed vs. Unarmed, Training, and Liability

Clear and consistent security protocols help security and staff maintain a safe work environment and avoid costly liability

Businesses that are likely targets for burglaries and robberies necessitate the use of armed guards. Whatever your compunction regarding firearms, if you’re going to own a dispensary, you will need to use the most effective security available. That being said, armed guards can present their own problems. Without the proper training and certifications, if an armed guard injures or kills a suspected criminal (or, even worse, a customer or bystander), it may open you up to even worse legal culpability if they did not follow proper procedure.

That is why it’s necessary to have the best supplemental security training available for your personnel. Training your guards to not only best conform to city, state and federal laws regarding premises defense, but also how to best work with your security plan and system, can save both lives and your business in the long run.

The best defense against crime is drawing up and implementing the tightest and meticulously thought-out security plan you can get – good procedures can end up saving much more than just your product. Cannabis Compliant Security Solutions can provide that and more, lifting that burden the city so generously laid on your shoulders. Call today:

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