Marijuana Business Magazine May-June 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | May-June 2020 96 Regulations Only a Baseline Although security regulations vary from state to state, marijuana retail outlets everywhere should view those rules as the minimum. “The most essential part … is having integrated policies to support the technology or physical measures that you’re taking,” said John Orloff, senior vice president of security risk management for Jensen Hughes, a global safety, security and risk-based engineering and consulting firm. Orloff leads a team of experts who conduct risk and threat and vulnerability assessments. Those policies might cover who is admitted to the store and when, how cash is handled or how and when budtenders arrive at and leave the property. And they would include where product is stored, when it is placed on shelves or counters and when it should be put away. Owners should spot-check procedures to ensure employees stay alert to those policies. Tamala McBath, chief execution officer for the National Cannabis Risk Management Association, agreed. “You can put all these compliance rules in place … but if the owners don’t take the time to operationalize (the plan), dispensaries are vulnerable.” By “operationalize,” McBath means “frontline training that’s mandatory—and, in addition to that, continued training.” Security consultants specialize in this kind of employee training. Denver-based Helix Security provides a PowerPoint program that covers “anything that can happen in a dispensary—from robberies to medical emergencies—what to expect from law enforcement and how to deal with it when it happens,” Helix President Grant Whitus said. Jensen Hughes’ team delivers “tabletop” training using real and hypothetical scenarios specific to the retailer. The trainer asks employees how they would respond to a situation, then talks through the possibilities to arrive at the best answer. Scenarios might include an individual trying to enter the premises without authorization, mishandling product (which risks running afoul of regulations) or presenting as a compliance officer to gain entry. “If you practice,” Orloff said, “you’ll be well prepared.” Jerry Millen, owner of The Greenhouse in Walled Lake, Michigan, reminds his employees to stay alert and conscientious about security, including budtenders using the buddy system by always walking each other out of the store after a shift. He’s also brought in the local police department to talk to his team about security and how to handle situations that might come up. Police reminded his staff of basic safety procedures to remember during a robbery. “The biggest takeaway was really to just do as they say and only hit the alarm after they have left the building,” Millen said. “Money can be replaced, a life cannot.” – Susanna Donato “One thing typically not included (in state or local requirements) is a key-card-access control system,” noted Kevin Brown, sales manager for Helix Security. “That can go a long way toward helping track movement throughout a facility.” Key-card access doors start at $1,500 per door. New developments in cameras can turn monitoring into real-time crime-stopping tools. “I would encourage owners to not take a position that cameras are the end-all, be-all,” Orloff warned. “Cameras have real value when someone’s watching and monitoring. In that case, they are a force multiplier. (Otherwise), they’re just recording and giving a false sense of security.” Millen recently revamped his security system at The Greenhouse to include cameras that can spot movement in any area of his property as well as the lot across the street. The cameras are monitored so that if security sees someone approaching, they can call out to the intruder over a loudspeaker. Helix Security provides monitored camera service to clients starting at 50 cents per camera per hour. “If our monitors are seeing someone break in, they can communicate with the bad guy: ‘We see you, and law enforcement’s been notified,’” Helix Security President Grant Whitus said. “Previously, the mon- itoring center would see a crime happen, but (the criminals) would be long gone by the time police got there. We’ve had good success with people leaving (when we call out).” If you opt for monitored cameras, Millen advises companies not to “cheap out” with a partial system. Be sure you cover every inch of your property so thieves can’t slip through a blind spot. “Let’s be honest, if you have a dispensary, and you’re running it right, you’re making money,” Millen adds. “To me, security is the most important thing—besides having great product.” John Orloff Product can draw thieves to cannabis retailers, but most robbers are looking for cash. Photo by Jensen Hughes Beyond the Vault