Operating in a highly-regulated industry — and ours is one of the most regulated — means incurring a lot of costs for things that on the surface don’t seem to boost revenue or improve customer service. This couldn’t ring truer than when it comes to dispensary security.
Of course, security is a big expense. And how does it help you make more money? It’s not an easy number to quantify because security is less about growth and more about protection. Proper implementation won’t boost your bottom line like digital marketing, but without it, you’re limiting your expansion and revenue growth while facing uncertainty and risks if you cut corners.
Cannabis Dispensary Security Risks
Think about it. What do you risk by trying to save a few bucks here and there? Lots, right? Here are a few of the most consequential risks.
You dramatically increase the risk of getting robbed. Dispensaries are already at higher risk than banks (and even liquor stores). A robbery won’t just cost you monetarily, it endangers your safety and the safety of your employees.
You risk attracting unwanted scrutiny by regulators, law enforcement, and of course, the feds. The past few years have been much worse for our industry. Jeff Sessions was always more bark than bite. Likewise, governmental agencies and regulators could have taken a far more aggressive approach. Conforming to all these ever-changing rules can be not only incredibly tedious and time-consuming, but it’s also costly (often cost-prohibitive for local, family farmers who are struggling). Nonetheless, it could have been worse. Moving forward anything can happen.
You risk temporary closure of your dispensary. Or worse. If the oversights are significant enough, you could lose your license, your business, and your livelihood and face serious legal consequences. The top reason dispensaries get shut down is the failure to maintain accurate business records and adequate dispensary security measures.
Read below to learn three essential ways to reduce your risk.
Familiarize yourself with all the local laws and regulations in place, especially those that pertain to security. Regulations vary significantly not only from state to state but between local jurisdictions. Even rules for video surveillance can vary dramatically with respect to minimum camera resolution, frames per second, how long you store footage, etc.
Cannabis dispensaries operate in retail. And just like every other retail organization, the number one threat facing them is internal shrinkage. To minimize the risk of staff funneling cash or products out of your dispensary vis-a-vis tricks like providing unauthorized discounts or voiding receipts in order to siphon off money from the till, make sure you work closely with your security company to make your strategy an integral part of your security plan.
You’ll want to work with your dispensary security company to not only create a plan (which hopefully you have) but also to continually revisit this plan to see where vulnerabilities have emerged. You need to protect products, on-site funds, equipment, and, of course, your personnel.
We’ve discussed three essential components for your overall security strategy. However, these are basic, foundational components. The scope of security is vast and critically important. Beyond what we’ve discussed, you should also consider the following:
- Invest or upgrade to a more robust, yet user-friendly video surveillance system
- Make sure you have integrated transaction tracking in your POS
- When hiring or retaining a security company, don’t cut corners to save a buck. Hire on experience, not cost. You get what you pay for!