By: Chris Ward

The cannabis industry is changing, and security needs to follow with it.

It wasn’t too long ago that various residents across the United States heard something they never thought they’d hear in their lives: Recreational marijuana was going to become legalized, and it would be accessible in stores you walked into on the street.

The topic had been up for debate for quite some time, and the first steps that any state laws passed had to do with an allowance for the sales of medicinal marijuana. That seemed to keep things relatively under control; however, the more recent laws have changed things.

What’s Going On?

It comes as no surprise that people have been accessing recreational marijuana for years, without authorities knowing about it. People have created and built up businesses under the radar, selling to those who prefer a smoke that’s less for medicinal purposes, and more for the enjoyment of it.

However, states that have legalized recreational marijuana are messing with systems that have been in place for years; albeit, illegal businesses.

And yet, once a handful of states began to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana, they immediately took on all of these businesses, and likely took away a lot of their clients. Suffice to say, there’s been some backlash.

Apart from throwing off the established, illegal businesses that already existed, legalizing recreational marijuana would also mean that a very high-demand product was about to be accessible to anyone 19+ years of age.

Additionally, recreational marijuana sales are done in cash, which also puts a lot of cash flow into the registers of cannabis-related businesses (CRB) on a daily basis.

With all of this to consider, there was only one solution that was going to improve the success of cannabis-related businesses—increased security.

What is Marijuana Security?

Essentially, businesses that are legally allowed to sell recreational and medicinal marijuana are in a bit of a tight spot. While they’re catering to a large portion of their population, they’re also exposing themselves to an increased level of crime.

That has largely to do with the fact that they’re working with a lot of cash, and they’re selling a product that could have high resale value in places where marijuana is not yet legal.

To say that legalized marijuana has caused an increase in crime would not be completely true; while there have been instances of theft amongst cannabis-related businesses, these are individual instances that don’t represent a trend.

That being said, business owners who do sell recreational and medicinal marijuana have been searching for better ways to protect their businesses, as well as their employees and inventory. Luckily, marijuana security services are becoming prominent, with special forces dedicated to the cannabis industry and cannabis-related businesses.

What Do They Do?

Marijuana security services devote a division of workers to the cannabis industry. Some of their responsibilities might include:

  • Standard security and surveillance of a specific store
  • Protection during transportation of inventory
  • Security while loading/unloading inventory into stores
  • Protection during cash drop-offs and deposits
  • Assistance with employee hiring and background checks
  • Ensuring all employees have proper identification
  • Assisting with video surveillance installation
  • Staff training for workplace safety

This team of dedicated security staff often have many years of experience in a similar field, and possess the ability to perform and adapt in high-stress situations. This is important for this type of job, since cannabis-related businesses experience theft in various situations.

Not all theft happens right in the store; some cases have occurred outside of the store, or during the transportation of cash or inventory. In these cases, security guards need to be able to react quickly and make split-second decisions.

While these teams are trained in combat and weaponry, they are also trained to rely on non-physical solutions first. If all peaceful solutions have been exhausted and conflict still exists, only then will physical force be acceptable.

More Than Just Security

In addition to providing these services to businesses, some security programs like First Security Services marijuana security also put an importance on the success of cannabis-related businesses in their state.

The team is able to assist the owner and their employees with proper protocol, by understanding all of the state laws as well as the local laws laid down by the city council.

By knowing and understanding the specific laws that a store must follow, security teams can easily help store owners maintain a level of professionalism that will keep them in business for years to come. A business would be in just as much danger of closing if they did not follow protocol and failed a surprise audit.

Food for Thought

While most people would assume that all cannabis-related theft includes someone unknown to a store, that’s not always true. In fact, it’s been reported that about 60-70% of theft in marijuana-selling stores is actually done by employees of the store.

With that in mind, it might be frustrating for employers to spend thousands on security, when the most likely culprits already have access to all of the inventory.

In these cases, it’s been suggested that store owners maintain their marijuana security, but also work to create a culture of honesty amongst the people they hire. This kind of trusted culture can often lead to a more successful business, where employees follow all safety protocols and keep inventory where it belongs.

If this isn’t the case, marijuana security services suggest doing a more thorough employee hiring, which includes background checks and a ‘test hiring’ to see if how employees fair.

Alternatively, security services also favor having employees fill out mandatory log books, which indicate who entered what room for which products, and where the inventory went. This is one of the mandatory state laws, and it can be critical to your business’s success.