Top Security Concerns for Dispensaries

The cannabis industry is rapidly growing. The rise of legal cannabis continues to make it one of the top industries for business opportunities and growth. In 2019, cannabis sales grew 48% to 15 billion, and — at that time — was on track to reach 43 billion by 2024. With these kinds of numbers, it is no wonder that the cannabis industry is a frequent target for crime. 

With that extreme growth comes a variety of security concerns that cannabis business owners should be prepared for. The best place to begin is to consult with an expert partner who can help you develop a strategic security plan and execute smart security protocols based on your needs. Here are the top security concerns dispensaries — the storefronts for the cannabis industry — should be aware of. 

Inability to work with banks leave cannabis businesses vulnerable. 

Since cannabis is still illegal under federal law, many banks will simply not work with cannabis businesses. They will not provide business loans to open storefronts or allow them to open checking accounts at their institutions. This creates an incredibly unique problem for business owners, making it difficult for them to manage finances, pay taxes, reinvest back into the business or even pay their employees efficiently. 

It also causes other issues for customers. Because of the inability to maintain business bank accounts, many customers who purchase cannabis or cannabis products are often required to pay in cash. The combination of these issues make cannabis businesses more vulnerable than other businesses to a variety of security threats, including robbery. With large amounts of cash readily available, dispensaries are a desirable target, which is why many states are requiring that dispensaries submit a security plan to the city before they can open. This is done in an effort to not only keep the business safe, but also the community. 

The marijuana black market opens the door for theft.

Since marijuana is still federally illegal, there is still a black market for cannabis and cannabis products. With that in mind, individuals coming into the shop may not always be browsing with the intention to buy. Dispensaries face the risk of passive theft by an employee who may be selling the product elsewhere, or a customer swiping the product while someones back is turned. On the other hand, there is the threat of armed robbery not just for cash, but the valuable product in the showcases that may come at a high price on the street.

Transportation of cash. 

Transportation supports the entire ecosystems of business on its shoulders. But, instead of easily identified logos on the sides of trucks for grocery stores or Amazon, transportation for the cannabis industry is much more under cover. Think armored cars driven by armored guards. This is because transportation is one of the most vulnerable operations for a cannabis business. Whether transporting a truck full of product or cash, drivers and guards need to be on alert for any potential threats on the route.

Cybersecurity attacks.

Data protection is a hot button issue these days, and especially for an industry with such valuable products. It is important to place a high priority on cybersecurity. Hackers may try to capitalize on cybersecurity gaps to access inventory information, staff lists, email communications and more that could potentially offer valuable information to target a business. Also, if a storefront is using internet-based alarms or surveillance systems, a hacker can effectively disable these systems and break in without an issue.

Lack of employee screening.

When hiring new employees, dispensaries and cannabis businesses should have a strong employee screening process in place to avoid hiring anyone who could be a risk to the businesses. Again, with such valuable product and plenty of cash readily available, you need to ensure that these employees are trustworthy and have a clean background before they’re hired. It is imperative to partner with a security expert to properly screen these employees to weed out any potential threats.

Although dispensaries and cannabis-based businesses certainly have a lot to consider when it comes to security, with the right protocols and security strategies in place, risk can be mitigated. It is key to bring on an expert in the field to assess the exact needs of your business and develop a strong security plan to maintain low-risk operations. 

Professional security guards are one of your best protections against many kinds of criminal activity. Call Off Duty Officers today to learn more about our security guard services and to discuss your needs. 

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