Today, the marijuana industry represents a fast-growing group of legitimate businesses serving people that use marijuana (cannabis) for medicinal or recreational purposes. These licensed dispensaries come in all shapes and sizes, with some including a retail storefront and others touting large grow facilities. Currently, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in one way or another.
Even though only some states have legalized cannabis, they all have one thing in common: it’s required by law that a marijuana dispensary (medical or otherwise) has a video surveillance system in place. States like Washington and Oregon even have very specific requirements when it comes to the equipment used in these systems–and that’s for good reason: marijuana dispensaries are attractive spots for criminals. Here are three reasons marijuana dispensaries need video surveillance.
- Cameras shed sunlight on employee theft.
An interesting nuance about the cannabis industry is that, at the moment, it’s an all-cash business. It’s actually illegal due to federal banking laws for marijuana businesses to deposit their money in banks, which leaves these dispensaries flush with on-hand money. With such a cash-heavy operation, dispensary business owners are smart to invest in technology that keeps their cash where it belongs.
Employee theft is a major concern from an operations standpoint. A dispensary likely has shifts where a number of employees are coming and going, and lots of activity can cause blindness during certain times in the business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of all employees steal at least once, and that half of these steal at least twice. Using video surveillance and other security and operations measures can identify and stop employee theft.
- A video surveillance system can positively impact loss prevention.
Just as with employees, visitors to medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are at risk to commit a crime. Since marijuana still isn’t legal at the federal level, it’s not covered by insurance, making it an expensive, coveted asset to one’s health when used medicinally. And since it’s not approved by the FDA and deemed a Schedule I controlled substance, it’s not always easy to find. These reasons make cannabis dispensaries at risk for theft of all kinds.
Depending on the dispensary, marijuana is usually sold in one-ounce bottles, specifically medical marijuana, making it easy to conceal. Cameras that are strategically placed at exits, entrances and other high-traffic areas can help marijuana business owners monitor activity in their space in real-time, catching crimes as they occur. Knowing there’s a security system in place can stave off a criminal; just the sight of cameras can change their mind to move on to something else.
- Cameras are a must-have for your grow strategy.
Medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities are not always located in the same place. Actually, it’s illegal in Oregon, where medical and recreational marijuana use is legal. This means that dispensaries work with grow facilities to acquire the cannabis needed to support the demand at the dispensary.
With one of the most important metrics in a grow facility being dollar per square foot spent, every plant demands resources that can be costly. For example, the price of specific lights, cooling systems and general power your grow facility needs can run you upwards of a million dollars just to get started.
That’s a big investment in both equipment and plants, and keeping it under video surveillance can be beneficial in many ways. Using cameras in your grow facility can protect your investments by monitoring your crops, growing process, daily operations and more.
If you’re considering opening your own dispensary, find out the laws in your state about surveillance requirements for your new location. Green Rush Consulting is one resource for In-depth knowledge of all state regulatory and application processes. Although it can be a big up-front investment in your business, video surveillance can keep your cannabis secure, from seed to sale.
Were you thinking about installing a video camera system at your marijuana dispensary to protect your investments? Click here for a free quote!