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Yet because it isn’t federally approved, each state regulates the sale of cannabis in its own unique way.

Still, it’s a tightly regulated industry that provides heavy controls in many areas of operation, including surveillance and security. It’s also an industry filled with change as regulators gain knowledge and implement more decisive controls.

In California, for example, title 4, division 19 of the Bureau of Cannabis Control regulations requires all licensee applicants to provide thorough documentation of:

  • Video surveillance – a map of the entire surveillance system, including camera placement and procedures for regular maintenance.
  • Access control – a detailed account of the security procedures at every access point, including how and when security personnel is used.
  • Alarm monitoring – a complete description of the facility’s alarm security system.

Each state has similar requirements. It’s essential to understand what rules are in place, and ensure you have proper security platforms to meet all regulatory controls. Where do you begin?

Top considerations as you shop for surveillance

Start with your state’s code. If you operate in more than one state, be sure you meet the guidelines each state has implemented. Most states are forthright in their security requirements, and provide detailed guidelines to follow. Title 4 requires a standing guard during business hours, but allows other measures for after-hours security. Using a video monitoring service offers ample protection to watch for intruders who might break in overnight. It also is a more affordable option for cannabis businesses operating on a tight budget.

The easiest place to start is by following your state’s guidelines. Then ask questions like:

  • Do I need a video record of specific events or continuous coverage?
  • Do all parts of my facility need to be secured similarly?
  • How often do I need to access camera systems for audit purposes?
  • How detailed should the footage be?

Each question will lead you to another area of building out your surveillance system.

This is also where it pays to reach out to a security team with knowledge of the cannabis industry. You don’t know what you don’t know; an extra set of eyes on your security system can help you become better prepared for compliance.

Build for growth

Technology changes daily in some cases. It can be frustrating investing in technology, only to have it be out-of-date soon after implementation.

This is where do-it-yourself doesn’t always work. Piecemealing a system together can leave you vulnerable, something compliance officers often won’t forgive.

Strong security starts with solid video management systems. It gives you the capability to control the cameras and monitor the system. This is where greater flexibility can help you do your job better. Look for functionality. Pay attention to:

Integration capabilities – can your surveillance systems be built into other building systems? This is also where it pays to work with a team familiar with cannabis laws. They have extensive knowledge of what it takes to remain in compliance.

Hybrid systems – while piecemealing a plan together can be risky, many companies know how to integrate systems to help you save money. If you have an existing security system, for example, it might not be necessary to rip and replace security cameras.

Pairing systems – many access control systems need help moving beyond simplistic credentials. A keyfob may grant access, but there’s little control over who holds the keyfob. That’s where video surveillance and access systems can work together. You’ll have access to who enters, and a recording to back it up.

What’s the best system?

If there is any concept in the cannabis business now that will stand the test of time, it’s change. It’s an ever-growing, ever-changing industry that will continue to morph in the coming months and years, many times over.

The best system is one that offers you full compliance. Many of the systems use out-of-the-box thinking and can change quickly to suit your needs.

Video surveillance and alarm systems don’t have to be complex. With enough sophistication and flexibility, they can ensure you remain in compliance. So you can get back to working on the business.

For IT Strategy, Security and Compliance, or Help Desk Services, reach out to us at Cannabis Technology Partners 360-450-4759.