Marijuana Business Magazine September 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | September 2019 128 Looking for such trends, Cohen said, will reveal how “less than 10% of the staff accounts for 90% of the theft.” THEFT DECLINING—BUT NOT ELIMINATED Employee theft is a big issue for retailers in general. The National Retail Foundation’s 2018 National Retail Security Survey found that shoplifting, employee theft and organized retail crime comprise about two-thirds of the $50.6 billion contraction in the retail industry overall. However, Morgan Fox, media relations director with the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), said that although there’s no data to confirm de- clining theft in the cannabis retail sector, anecdotal evidence suggests it’s not much of an issue. “What few instances occur are mostly dealt with internally and do not involve law enforcement, so such stats may not exist,” Fox said. “NCIA’s members bring many issues to our attention,” he added. “So far, employee theft in any form has not been one of them.” Gavin Kogan, founder of Grupo Flor, a Salinas, California-based, vertically integrated company with operations in California as well as Latin America and Europe, echoed that view. Kogan said that although there may still be some theft of bud—and although he’s hearing about packaged product be- ing sold to illegal shops—his company has experienced only one unconfirmed instance of employee theft. “Every employer has some degree of theft,” Kogan said. “But it’s not like I have a bunch of horror stories I can share.” Barry Davidson, director of strategic engagement with 3 Sixty Secure Corp., a Canadian risk solutions firm that he said has worked with more than 100 retail sites across Canada and the United States, also acknowledges there’s no data to prove either a decline in employee theft or an assertion that it’s become covert. But Davidson said he’s seeing a shift toward less “opportunistic” and m ore “motivated” theft. “It just means that the people that may be carrying it out are putting more thought into how they’re carrying it out,” he noted. CLANDESTINE EFFORTS Despite the presence of cameras and other security equipment, there are numerous clandestine ways in which employees can continue to divert cash and product from retailers, security experts said. Cova Software’s Cohen, for example, suggests that retailers be alert to the following: • Discounts: Employees may give discounts to friends and customers to encourage bigger tips or generate higher sales and improve their own sales performance record. Analyze your point-of-sale system for suspicious activity and transactions. Photo courtesy of Cova Software Covert Curse