How To Reduce Cannabis Security Risks | Expert Insights

Tom Mulhern
October 28, 2022

Whether you're a cannabis retailer or grower - you've got the goods. The industry sits alongside the jewelry, pawn, and liquor industries as having a high-security risk. Because the product is valuable and potentially easy to smuggle out, it will attract thefts and security breaches. 

Whether a cybersecurity threat to patient files in a medical dispensary, internal theft (staff), or burglary/robbery/theft by visitors, the end result is profit loss and paranoia. 

This article will cover security basics and tips with our featured pro, Haley Glover, so that you can avoid potential losses in inventory, profits, reputation, and staff. You could even lose your business if you aren't diligent toward a holistic security approach.  

In this episode on the KayaPush podcast, Kaya Cast spoke with Haley Glover, who's been in the security industry for over 10 years, is decorated with industry awards and recognition, and who's considered the primary authority for security in the cannabis sector. She's the Senior Security Consultant at Sapphire Risk Advisory Group Company, a brand with just as many accolades. 

In her interview, she covered the steps one should take to assimilate a security plan in early infrastructure planning, the logistical errors people often make during the set up, and the day-to-day operations that can improve security and minimize losses. Let's get into it! 

security risk

Preliminary stage.

Haley made it very clear that the best time to address a security plan is while the business is still in thought form. She says, "before you start your build-out, that's when you get somebody involved because they have to work with your general contractor and all other trades that need to be in there during the installation process". It's in these early stages that you can plan for budgeting as well. Don't expect to pay less than $70,000 for a proper security system. 

In the early days of building and team forming, training in theft awareness, emergency protocol, tech usage, and security guard expectations is crucial. This training should be ongoing, but should have a solid foundation before the doors open. The team should know what signs to look out for and how to react safely in the face of danger. This is another aspect that a third party like Sapphire could help with. 

Haley says it's also vital to work with experienced vendors who are versed in security regulations for your state. This will prevent re-dos and possible penalties. Security for your business shouldn't be taken into your own hands - invest in professionals who can ensure your system is cohesive and follows your budget & design. 

Addressing cybersecurity in terms of early training by professionals in phishing, firewalls, online hygiene, etc, can reduce the risk of information leaks and hacks. 

Setting up.

According to Haley, there are two main mistakes that folks make, usually when operating solo; they place cameras in obstructed areas rather than optimizing their views, and they fail to understand how their tech works, missing out on the potential for automation and integration. This results in missed footage and poor efficiency. Best to get the help of a pro. 

security camera in cannabis store


Security system maintenance and continued training/operations will forever be a part of your daily business considerations. From making sure you're staffed enough to catch shoplifters to creating transparency, it comes with many challenges. 

Haley's advice is to look out for internal vulnerabilities, "I would say it's around 80% of products being mishandled/ removed from your facility". As much as you want to trust staff, it's not that simple. Set up an anonymous tip option for reporting and abide by no-tolerance policy examples. She suggests a policy for buddy systems and for a third party to check cameras and inventory without bias. Clues like excessive discount codes and missing inventory during certain shifts can suggest suspects. 

Haley also suggests getting on the good side of the community, in turn discouraging malicious intent and creating dependability. Let customers and staff know they're on camera, deterring the urge to steal, so everyone feels safe. 

In the event of a robbery, she hopes everyone is versed in duress routines and codes/buttons integrated into the systems when applicable; however, at the end of the day, no one's life is worth a product. Simply cooperate and swallow the loss.

Thanks to Haley Glover and brands like Sapphire Risk Advisory Group Company, there's always help. Help with planning, budgeting, design, set up, maintenance, and training. Don't hesitate to leverage it all; the investment pays for itself. 

You can find this KayaPush episode here!  or check out other episodes below!

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October 2022


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