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Boost Cannabis Security with Live Video Monitoring

Posted by Mark Mariotti on Oct 18, 2019

Whether you’re a grower or farmer, plan to open a cannabis dispensary, or build a production facility, deploying cannabis security
will need to be on your to-do list. U.S. and Canadian cannabis industry laws require businesses handling marijuana to implement a video surveillance system.

The good news is that cannabis video security offers many benefits including achieving regulatory compliance, elevating security, cutting expenses, boosting the bottom line, and mitigating property damage and liability. This article explores the need for remote video surveillance, risk considerations, and what to look for in a solution to ensure you follow the law while safeguarding your business.

Why Do I Need Cannabis Live Video Monitoring?

Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces require cannabis-related businesses to have a video monitoring system as part of their cannabis dispensary security
program. The requirements, however, vary from state to state and in Canada based on the type of facility.

Even California does not have one set of requirements for the entire state. Cities and counties have their own requirements.

Here’s what the Long Beach, California, municipal code states:

  • Digital video surveillance and camera recording system must monitor no less than the front and rear of the property, all entry and exit points, all points of sale, and all areas where the business displays marijuana products.
  • Record and maintain video for a minimum of 30 days.
  • All exterior camera views must continuously record 24/7.

As a comparison, here’s what El Monte, California’s code states:

  • Install 24-hour security surveillance cameras of at least HD-quality to monitor all entrances and exits, public-accessible interior spaces, areas where cash or currency is stored, and areas where diversion of cannabis can occur.
  • Record and maintain video for a minimum of 45 days.
  • Footage must be remotely accessible by Chief of Police or designee.

Notice the requirements of the areas under surveillance aren’t identical, nor are the number of days for retaining recordings and the requirement for the Chief of Police to be able to remotely access the footage.

This is why it’s critical to work with professionals who have experience in not just any security, but specifically cannabis industry security. Complying with the law will help protect your assets from external and internal theft. Additionally, these facilities often carry millions of dollars in cannabis within vaults, making external monitoring extremely important.

Remote video surveillance also provides liability protection. If people claim they got injured on your property or someone dinged their car in the parking lot, you’ll have the proof you need for insurance and any potential lawsuits.

Liability protection may lead to your insurance premiums decreasing. That’s because a video monitoring system can help reduce your liability and theft risk.

If your products are in a setting in which you need to watch the temperature, humidity, and pH levels, then you can add sensors to monitor the conditions. Any time conditions change, the system will send an alert so you can address the problem ASAP.

What Are Some of the Cannabis Security Risk Considerations?

Despite marijuana sales being legal in many places, cannabis businesses still contend with many security risks. Lawmakers know about these risks and that’s why they have instituted strict guidelines. It’s not to make business harder for the cannabis industry. It’s for the sake of protecting their business and its assets.

Here are three main reasons for the tough guidelines.

Cannabis is a cash-heavy industry

Although more financial services providers will work with marijuana businesses than they did a few years ago, cannabis businesses still tend to hold large amounts of cash on their property. This makes them targets for robbery. Why are banks reluctant to work with businesses selling marijuana? According to Forbes, they fear the risk of violating U.S. money laundering and other laws.

Regulations for cannabis security vary by location

As previously discussed, the security requirements for cannabis businesses differ by location. A business with locations in two California cities will most likely have a different set of requirements for each one. Therefore, the business needs to work with security consultants who have experience working with the cannabis industry to ensure compliance for all locations.

Law enforcement priorities fluctuate

The cannabis business is growing like a weed. It makes it challenging for law enforcement to keep up with its complex rules and regulations. Remember that the Chief of Police in El Monte, California needs to be able to remotely check the video feeds? That police department also contends with the laws for people getting high while driving or in a public place.

The police department’s priority may be to the public rather than the cannabis dispensary. That means marijuana businesses need to fend for themselves when it comes to security.

Security firms don’t know cannabis security requirements

Cannabis businesses run the risk of working with the wrong security services provider. Securing a cannabis facility isn’t the same as securing a construction site or an automotive dealership. Each has unique requirements.

Cannabis security requirements are stricter than those in other industries. That’s why it’s critical to work with a security firm that has experience in the cannabis industry. To assure you work with one that knows your industry, ask for cannabis case studies and referrals.

What Do I Need in Cannabis Remote Video Surveillance?

The first and most important thing in selecting the right live video monitoring system is one that complies with the legal requirements for your location. If you’re in the U.S., you not only want to look up your state’s requirements but also any available for your city and county. For Canadian-based businesses, check with Canada’s cannabis laws and regulations.

Meet minimum technology requirements

The camera surveillance system needs to meet the minimum resolution requirements as well as camera placement. All camera views need to be clear regardless of daytime or nighttime. They should also be high quality enough to make out identifying information such as faces or license plates.

Place cameras in strategic locations

In addition to placing the cameras in the required location, you want to verify they are in the best locations strategically. For instance, the requirement may indicate you need a camera watching the parking lot. Not just any place in the parking lot is good. There may be areas that will do the job better than others.

Conduct system health checks

Something that may not be in the requirements that every business needs to consider when investing in video monitoring: system health checks. Imagine if a camera stops working, and an incident happens. It could be problematic for the business because this could violate the law that states the cameras will continuously operate 24/7. An experienced video monitoring company knows how to do regular system checks and may even be able to fix problems without setting foot on your property.

Have a backup plan

A security company familiar with the cannabis industry also has a backup plan in case of a power outage or severe storm that knocks out a camera. They know how to minimize or prevent downtime.

Integrate with an access control system

One last factor is investing in an integrated security system that connects to other security technology. For example, many cannabis dispensaries implement an access control system. It controls who has access to different parts of the property. For instance, your cashiers may not be allowed to enter the grow area.

Access control allows you to customize each employee’s access to specific areas on the property. When an employee leaves the company, you can instantly remove the person’s access through the access control system. You won’t need to rekey locks. Another example of the benefits of an integrated system is the ability to match the time stamp from the access control system with the video for seamless identification.

Why Should I Work with Stealth Monitoring?

Stealth has successfully implemented cannabis security for Canadian and American companies. You get a custom-designed solution that helps protect your assets and can conform with all applicable regulations.

Our live video monitoring solutions work in real-time to catch events before or as they happen. Relying on a combination of video analytics and human intelligence, our trained operators watch your property when there is activity, not just motion.

When you opt for our solutions, you’ll see a quick ROI as our technology costs up to 60 percent less than traditional security guards. At the same time, the system is more effective since it maximizes security while reducing liability.

In addition to video monitoring, here are more options to secure your business:

These are just some of the available options. A security consultant works with you to review your requirements as well as any laws that apply to your business. You will receive a cannabis security system that meets your needs without any unneeded extras.

Would you like to learn more about cannabis security? Pick up your free cannabis security solutions guide. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.