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The cannabis industry “saw explosive growth in 2020 that’s expected to continue into the next decade and beyond,” according to Sy Mukherjee’s Fortune article. With Americans purchasing $18.3 billion in cannabis products over the past year, the pineapple express is on a roll— a ride showing no signs of stopping.
This is great news for the over 7,000 dispensaries across the U.S. according to Statista’s 2019 numbers. All signs point to success in the cannabis industry, from booming business and increasing sales to ideally, a more relaxed public. But with all the benefits increasing, so do the risks, especially as marijuana is legalized across the U.S. (currently in 48 states for medical use and in 16 for recreational use), and more dispensaries propagate.
Businesses in all stages of the cannabis industry face challenges specific to high value manufacturing and distribution, including:
As a cannabis cultivator, production facility, or dispensary manager or owner, safety of your employees, products, and building is probably at the top of your list of concerns. How can you create a secure space without sacrificing design?
Vulnerabilities and security gaps exist, ready to be exploited by bad actors. Areas such as cultivation, dock, storage and supply, retail, and critical infrastructure in a cannabis facility can be targeted by budding criminals. Requirements and best practices differ by state and your building type, but focus on access control, alarm systems, SOPs, video surveillance, notification of regulatory agencies, and record storage. Insurance companies may also have a stake in how a building is protected. Due to the nature of the industry, some cannabis-related businesses may also not have access to insurance at all. Both are reasons to upgrade building security and protect your employees and assets.
A common first step for many high value manufacturing and production businesses is to invest in a 24/7 security guard. A person on-site dedicated to security is a visual deterrent for would-be thieves, and also provides swift resolution to security threats. However, hiring 24/7 security staff could be cost prohibitive and comes with liability if anyone is injured.
Keycard readers are another physical option to keep bad actors out of your cannabis cultivation, production, or dispensary facility. Because these readers are monitored and automatically keep record of anyone entering with their card, they’re often chosen as a fortifying security measure. Forgotten or stolen keycards can be an issue, as can power outages or failures – all factors to consider when augmenting your facility’s strongholds.
Biometric security is a common measure, too. Using a person’s unique characteristics, such as their voice pattern, iris or retina of the eye, or fingerprints, biometric security is a step up from keycard entry without the risk of a forgotten or lost card. This is very secure, convenient, and easily stored, since biometrics are already on an employee’s person, however, biometric security is also complex with a significant cost and stakes for anyone whose unique pattern is stored, possibly putting them at risk of being forced to allow entry to a building.
For physical and visible-when-needed security options: look to security doors and grilles. They can be visible and closed when necessary and also roll up and be stored away when a building is open. When protecting your dispensary, cannabis production facility, or cultivation areas, a combination of these recommendations would be best.
A security grille can provide ventilation and visibility into an area where both are important, perhaps in cultivation areas to ensure crops get even more air and light, or even in a show room to entice customers with new arrivals. However, rolling security grilles cannot be used in main paths of egress for safety reasons.
Rolling doors are also an option to protect your employees and building. While they also are not for use in the path of egress, they can provide failsafe operation in emergencies, especially if an attack begins with cutting power to the facility.
All security rolling doors are not created equally. Some, such as the EntryDefender® Door from CornellCookson, offer heavy-duty security. EntryDefender® is the only door designed to protect sensitive structures from attack for 5, 15, and 60 minutes in accordance with the U.S. Department of State Standard for Forced Entry SD-STD-01.01.
Think about all aspects of your operation, not just about security door placement or areas to close off.
Questions to ask in regards to facility protection include:
When it comes to your cannabis facility, you don’t want your profits to go up in smoke. Defending your cultivation, production, and dispensary areas from attack, especially with robberies in high value manufacturing on the rise, is of the utmost importance. Finding the perfect blend of security measures can protect associates from harm and product from theft, along with allowing you to continue blazing a trail in the world of cannabis.
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