The rapid growth of cannabis dispensaries correlates with an alarming rate of cannabis theft. Dispensaries have become prime targets in this complex era of cannabis legalization. Owners who have invested endless time and resources are increasingly at risk of losing their hard-earned profits.

That said, there are simple, strategic ways to curb these internal and external threats. By solving cannabis security issues head-on, savvy dispensary owners can combat this perpetual threat without making significant investments or changes to their workflows and processes. 

The Five Security Essentials for Dispensaries

These five security essentials are fundamental practices that all dispensaries should adhere to from day one. 

1. Secure Transportation

Security starts on the road. Any time a product is in transit, it is exposed to criminal hijacking. That is why a solid security plan begins with deliveries. Using armored cars, security guards, or a safe to protect inventory will mitigate the risk of losses while the product is in transit.  

2. Point of Entry Guards

The second a customer walks in, they should see that they have entered an area with heightened security presence. Nothing emphasizes this more clearly than having a security guard at the door. If the store’s layout does not provide for one (or hiring a guard is not in the budget), a receptionist may be a resourceful alternative.

3. Visible Signs of Security

Surveillance cameras both capture evidence of theft and serve as a strong deterrent against it. Some dispensaries, however, choose to hide cameras in order to put customers at ease. Whether cameras are visible or not, it is useful to post signage throughout the area warning customers (and employees) that the store is being monitored…even if they do not see the cameras. 

But security should not stop there. Signs and other visible security elements are important, but so are more modern—and equally visible—security elements. Smart locks with RFID keyfobs, for example, will immediately catch a customer’s eye and leave the well-deserved impression that the dispensary takes security seriously.

4. Employee Screening and Training

It is disheartening but true—most dispensary losses are due to in-house theft from employees. The best way to combat this is to hire trustworthy workers at the start. Conducting thorough interviewing and background screenings can help weed out bad hires—look for less-than-glowing feedback from past employers, an overt history of dismissals, or past criminal offenses. 

In addition, employee training is a huge factor in security enhancement, requiring a fully-developed security plan with training protocols. Once that is in place, use it to teach employees how to conduct all phases of operations including accepting shipments, entering incoming inventory, product handling and storage practices on the sales floor, point of sale protocols, and red flags to watch out for during customer interactions. 

Your team also needs to understand contingency operations. What to do during an active theft, armed robbery, or situations of an imminent threat to personal safety. Employees must understand how to properly report theft after an incident to remain in compliance with local regulations and how to report signs of insider theft such as missing products or accounting issues. 

Lastly, make sure that training covers the operation of all equipment used, such as keyless smart locks or other security-enhancement technology. Training should be documented and done upon hiring a new member and periodically as a refresher. 

5. Secure Storage

Thieves cannot steal what they cannot access. A rock-solid Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will feature the use of secure storage areas and displays. Displays, in particular, are at heightened risk due to their exposure to the floor. A skilled thief can rob an unguarded display case in a heartbeat, which is why many owners use smart locks offering a more efficient, effective way of securing cabinetry. 

The only problem with locks? They are often a hassle. Anytime a procedure is a hassle an employee will find a reason to avoid doing it. Businesses can remove that hassle and thus boost security by incorporating keyless smart locks. Senseon provides a range of low-profile smart locks that are quickly installed into almost any cabinet or drawer configurations. 

Instead of fumbling with keys or combination dials, employees simply use a radio-frequency card or fob to lock and relock areas. Senseon products also have built-in intelligent features to enhance the physical protection of products, such as timed auto-relock, customizable employee permissions, and even an audit trail that lets owners see who locked or unlocked an area. 

Final Thoughts

By integrating these simple security strategies into your business, you will better protect your products, employees, and profits as well as ensure your dispensary is safe from internal and external threats going forward.

Listed as a top-five security service for the cannabis industry, Senseon is prepared to work with you to implement these strategies and strengthen your dispensary security. Visit our cannabis security page or contact us to learn more about our discreet cabinet-level access control systems.