Understanding Cannabis Security, Part 1

Protect valuable product from grow to store while maintaining
strict compliance standards

The cannabis business is booming—it is currently the fastest-growing industry in the United States, with little signs of slowing. The industry totaled $6.7 billion in 2016, and it's on pace to create more jobs than manufacturing by 2020, according to Forbes.

While the industry is more successful than ever, it is fraught with legal inconsistencies that make it more vulnerable than any other agribusiness, retail, or medical operation. Because marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug on the federal level, it runs in conflict with state laws in states that have legalized cannabis for medical and/or recreational use. As a result of this disparity, most cannabis operations are forced to transact in cash, as federal law makes it illegal for banks to accept funds made off the sale of the "drug."

Additionally, because federal law deems cannabis illegal, even though states may have made the product legal, federal agents may intervene in a legal cannabis operation, seizing both assets and cash in the process.

All of these factors: A highly profitable industry, a highly desirable product with a lucrative street value, coupled with the legal gray area, make the cannabis business one of the most vulnerable industries in the United States; an industry with a high demand for security solutions at every level of the supply chain.

cannabis product security

More Than Just Security

What's more, because cannabis is such a highly controlled substance, states that have moved to legalize it have imposed extremely specific security regulations. These regulations invariably feature standard protocols like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, down to larger-scale measures from video monitoring systems, to fully monitored alarm systems, to access control measures, as well as specific parameters to implementing these protocols.

Executing a robust security strategy is not only essential to protecting valuable on-hand cash and assets, but a requirement to meeting stringent compliance standards imposed by the state. In this article we'll discuss the multiple components to a complete security and monitoring system that will guard your crop along every step of the supply chain.

cannabis security growing and selling

GPS Trackers Monitor Every Step of the Way

Every retail business faces security vulnerabilities during the transport of goods from distributor to store. But the cannabis industry has double the vulnerability seeing as both cash and crop need to be transported. Both of these assets are targeted the most during transit; a problem exacerbated by the fact that most smaller dispensaries and stores will use employees or other internal resources as transport. Which, while significantly more cost effective than hiring armored car services, put the product and profit in a precarious situation.

GPS trackers make it possible to monitor valuable assets along every step of the supply chain. Smaller, battery-powered trackers like the can be placed within packages and small assets, while larger can be used to monitor growing equipment—a security measure that's especially important for outdoor growing operations. Dedicated vehicle trackers like the or the run on a delivery vehicle's power, and enable shipments to be tracked in real time.

What makes so effective is that, no matter which type of trackers a security manager chooses, they all work on one customizable, intuitive platform. Through a GPS platform like the one offered by BrickHouse Security, for example, a manager is able to view live tracking information as well as breadcrumb trails of a tracker's location history. Real-time tracking enables a safe transit by removing any doubt that a shipment made it safely from point A to point B.

Also within a GPS platform a security manager is able to set up custom alerts based on a number of parameters; motion-activated tracking will trigger an immediate text or email alert in the event that a shipment is moved at an unexpected time. Speed alerts and route mapping can ensure that drivers are sticking to defined routes while also maintaining safe speeds. And, maybe most effectively, geofence alerts allow a security manager to draw parameters around a certain region which, when crossed, create a text or email, alerting the manager to take a live look at the device's location.

GPS tracking helps prevent everything from cargo theft, to employee theft, to armed burglary. In most cannabis robberies, criminals will use brute force and commit smash-and-grabs, breaking down a door or window, taking what they want and leaving. GPS trackers are incredibly effective at busting smash-and-grabs because they prey off of a lack of awareness by a thief. By hiding GPS trackers within packages, a security manager makes it possible to pinpoint stolen product or cash instantly and track it in real time. And, because all of these devices are integrated with mobile apps, no matter where a security manager is he can respond.

In part two, we'll discuss different compliance standards imposed by state and local governments, and how having a well-implemented video and alarm system will not only meet these standards, but will also help protect a cannabis operation from grow to store.