Congratulations, you’ve recently acquired a coveted legal cannabis business license and now, you have just months to accomplish your application plans and make your new cannabis business “operational.”
Whether you’re starting a grower/processor facility or a dispensary, there are an overwhelming number of issues to be addressed; but we, here at Viridis Security Group, believe that the following Security specific concerns have to be at the top of your list.
We sat down with Viridis Security Group’s Director of Professional Services Chris Hinnershitz and Corporate Security Specialist Jim Minninger to discuss four commonly overlooked points for maintaining top-notch security while moving towards “operational” status. For more info on Viridis Security Group’s list of services, including physical location risk assessments and security integration please visit the VSG website. Viridis Security Group
1. Temporary Security Measures
Especially in states like Pennsylvania, where cannabis grower/processor and dispensary license winners (and proposed locations) are listed publicly, it is imperative that temporary security measures are adopted.
Any enterprising individual can check out the PA Dept. of Health’s website or search the deluge of recent news stories to see where new cannabis businesses will be located. Award winners can expect to see an influx of mail, an ongoing media presence and the occasional “lookey-loo,” as they build out.
Although stories of pre-operational vandalism or work disruption from “protesters” are few; new cannabis businesses owners should be aware of the public perception of legal cannabis in the proposed build location and be prepared for the influx of both positive and negative attention.
Even before the actual business security systems are installed there should be some form of temporary security in place to protect the location. Included in these build out security measures are camera systems, a secure perimeter fence, regular patrolling as well as lighting. Minninger suggests making sure the location is well lit from day one.
“You can’t protect what you can’t see,” he said.
This added illumination not only makes the location a less desirable target for crime but also perpetuates the feeling of openness and professionalism to the surrounding community.
Have you established a strong, temporary security plan for the length of your build out? Why not let VSG do a preliminary risk assessment of the proposed site and see what specific security measures are right for your business?
2. Communication with local law enforcement
After 20 years of service as a police officer in Montgomery County, PA; VSG’s Chris Hinnershitz, suggests there is an immediate need for new cannabis businesses to make contact with local authorities during their respective build out processes. With increased publicity, comes increased need for patrols and regular police presence on site. The best way to ensure this police presence is to make an early, concerted connection to those that will be patrolling the area.
“Having a good relationship with local law enforcement is imperative to providing a safe and secure environment for employees and guests at your legal marijuana organization during and after the build out,” said Hinnershitz. “Coordinating your emergency operations procedures with local law enforcement allows for a better response in a time of crisis.”
While not common, a recent article in the Reading Eagle Times newspaper (PA) suggests Muhlenburg Township (PA) authorities are investigating the idea of a “host tax” for incoming businesses that require extra police patrols.
Have you reached out to the local law enforcement officials in your prospective business location? Why not let a former officer handle the introduction?
The Viridis Security Group staff boast law enforcement connections throughout the country and have helped a number of cannabis businesses make positive relations in their respective communities. VSG would be happy to offer consultation or be the lead voice as you guarantee a positive law enforcement relationship during your build out.
3. Properly Vetted Contractors
Whether your new cannabis business site requires some updating or you’re building from scratch, it’s assured that there will be quite a few contractors entering and exiting your location. These contractors will have access to information about the structure, the systems, the layout, intellectual property and any number of other specific details of the business.
According to VSG staff, it is imperative that all contractors (and their employees) be strictly vetted before they have access to the property. This is especially true for entities coming from out-of-state to open businesses with the help of service vendors who they may not have had a previous relationship.
All those with access to the facility should have updated State and Federal criminal background checks and carry appropriate state contractor’s licensing/insurance.
All Viridis Security Group clients are provided with processes to ensure their employees are properly vetted and trained during their cannabis-industry employment. These same standards can be applied to contractors during build out.
Contact Viridis Security Group for more info on how to ensure your build process is completed by properly vetted contractors.
4. Specific Cannabis Industry Insurance
There are unique challenges and risks associated with the burgeoning cannabis industry. With those unique concerns, comes the demand for an industry-specific insurance package catering to the needs of new cannabis businesses. Combined with a robust security plan, a comprehensive insurance offering is the final piece to maintaining a foolproof security plan during the life of your cannabis business. Viridis Security is currently working with strategic partner Viridis Insurance and Benefits to provide this holistic approach to business security.
For more info on Viridis Insurance and Benefits and how these two entities work together. Check out the Viridis Insurance website.
Viridis Insurance and Benefits