Why You Want Video Surveillance in the Cannabis Industry

Posted by Mark Mariotti on November 18, 2020

Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces require cannabis businesses to include video surveillance as part of their security. Exactly what they need varies from state to state in the U.S.

Sometimes the regulations don't apply to the entire state. In California, for example, cities and counties have their own requirements. Canada's requirements vary based on province and facility type.

That's just the start of the many challenges the cannabis industry faces.

The Cannabis Industry Challenges

Although marijuana is legal in some areas, the industry has greater security challenges than a standard business. Lawmakers know this and that's why they enforce stringent regulations that feature detailed security requirements. The regulations not only apply to dispensaries, but also growers, processors, and employees.

Lawmakers are not trying to make business harder for the cannabis industry. They know cannabis dispensaries and businesses need the security to protect their assets. They know it's a cash-heavy business and that many people want the product whether it is to use it or resell it for a profit. Not everyone can access the product legally, so they resort to illegal activity to obtain marijuana.

Another reason for the strong legislation is that marijuana is not legal in every state. Drug dealers try to buy marijuana in legalized states and sell it in states where it's not legal.

The laws keep changing because it's not always clear what the consequences will be until it's implemented. On top of that, law enforcement is struggling to keep up with the ever-changing and complex laws affecting the cannabis industry. Because of this, law enforcement may not take as much of an interest in checking on a cannabis dispensary or other business.

Their focus is on protecting citizens such as pulling over people who drive after consuming marijuana. For a cannabis dispensary or business, it means they must look out for themselves and be responsible for their own security.

Do You Need Security Guards?

Not all cannabis businesses need to have an onsite security guard. That said, they may wonder whether video surveillance alone is enough for cannabis security. Perhaps the business is considering adding security guard services.

The good news is that remote video surveillance offers more benefits than security guards. Rather than adding a security guard to go with your video cameras, ensure you've optimized your video surveillance system.

4 Reasons Video Surveillance Works Better Than Security Guards

Here are four reasons it's worth investing in the right remote surveillance system in the marijuana industry.

1. A Faster and More Accurate Response

When something happens and the security guard actually catches it, the guard may have to engage the threat. In doing so, the guard won't be able to call the local authorities. That's lost time in getting the police and other emergency services on-site sooner. Besides, security guards can become a liability and put your business at risk for a lawsuit or heavy fine.

A video surveillance solution includes a professionally trained team monitoring your cameras. The monitoring operators can contact the authorities as soon as they identify a threat. They will be able to provide all the information to prepare the emergency response team. If the threat runs away, the operator can use the cameras' pan and tilt feature to follow the suspect for as long as possible. While doing this, the operator can update emergency services on the suspect's location.

2. Maximizes Security

Video surveillance comes with many options and advanced features. Some companies have powerful analytics that can monitor for specific scenarios and then act accordingly. You can integrate video cameras with other security systems like an access control system.

Security guards can only see what is in front of them. Video cameras can be strategically placed around the property for simultaneous and complete views. The sight of video cameras can also deter some from trespassing.

However, when the suspect isn't deterred, advanced analytics monitor for programmed scenarios. When a scenario occurs, it alerts the monitoring operator who checks it out and acts as needed.

Nighttime capabilities are important because many crimes occur after sundown. Security guards may not see as well in the nighttime. Cameras have that ability now with low light and night vision technology. These technologies greatly enhance the capability of video cameras. Combine that with humans viewing the cameras and they'll be able to catch threats often before they do any damage.

Some video surveillance systems come with an audio deterrent. This allows the operator — located far away from the cannabis business — to issue a warning to the suspect. Sometimes, it sends the suspects scurrying away.

3. Saves on Costs

Due to strict regulations, every dollar matters in the cannabis business. Video surveillance has shown to be far cheaper than hiring a security guard. Companies using video surveillance see cost savings of up to 60 percent when they don't use security guards. Scaling your video security provides greater protection than security guards for a much lower cost.

Security guards can’t be everywhere at the same time. Cameras can. Video surveillance has come a long way in recent years. Some security providers rely on artificial intelligence to help with monitoring. When you combine artificial and human intelligence, you get a powerful security solution that can deter crime before it happens.

4. Helps Prevent Internal Theft

The biggest threat to your business is not the drug dealers looking to score. It's not the criminals who want to steal the cash. The real threat to a cannabis business is its own employees according to The Cannabis Business Times. They know how the business and its security system works.

If you're not already doing it per regulations, conduct a background check on every employee. For many companies, it is a standard operating procedure. No one will see this move as one of distrust.

Another step to take to help prevent internal theft is to be transparent about security. This includes employees. Their knowing what the business does for security helps discourage criminal actions.

All employees should undergo training related to security processes and procedures. One mistake by an employee can do serious damage to a business. Training is not a one and done event. Refresher training is critical to keep them from becoming complacent.

You might also consider setting up rotating shifts. This can keep coworkers from collaborating to plan something illegal. Security guards can also be a problem. Employees and criminal outsiders may approach security guards to help them with their plan.

Video surveillance takes the human equation out of it. The people watching the cameras aren't in the same place, maybe not even the same state as your business.

Implementing the Right Video Surveillance in a Cannabis Business

As stated before, video surveillance requirements vary by state and province. The laws regarding the length of time to retain video footage, camera placement, and camera frame rate and resolution also vary.

It's important to note that the higher the resolution and the longer you need to retain footage, the more space you will need. Be sure to ask about that when talking to potential security providers.

Some places in North America require an access control system. Some depend on the type of facility and its location. As previously mentioned, you can implement an integrated security system that contains an access control system with video surveillance to enhance security and monitoring. An access control system allows you to control who can enter certain areas in the building and cuts the risk of unauthorized access, theft, and vandalism.

An often overlooked yet important feature for video surveillance is a system health check. Technology breaks. That's a fact of life. What matters is how a company handles the situation when technology breaks. Many of them don't have system health checks to find and fix problems before something happens.

The right equipment is only part of the equation in setting up video surveillance. A lot can go wrong when it's not installed properly. That's why it's crucial to find the right security consultant to select, install, and maintain your video surveillance system. They are more likely to get it right the first time.

They will also make sure the cameras can't be knocked loose by a storm or strong winds. Some security vendors have an installation guarantee clause. Ask about this. It can protect you if something goes wrong or fails compliance.

As you work to secure your cannabis business, you want to work with the right security provider. Cannabis security has different needs and requirements than an automotive dealership and retail stores.

Out of the top five non-compliant items, two are related to security. That is why it is absolutely critical for cannabis businesses to work with the right security provider. When they don't, they could end up paying the price through fines.

How do you find the right security provider who has experience in the cannabis industry? Request client referrals and cannabis case studies. This cannabis security guide can also help. It'll provide you with the keys to a comprehensive security system and how it can help you cut expenses, maximize security, and achieve regulatory compliance.

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Posted in: Crime Prevention, Video Security Systems, Security Guards & Savings, Video Monitoring