Securely Scaling Your Cannabis Business with Munir Haque (Cure8)

Episode Description

In this electrifying episode of Kaya Cast Podcast, we dive deep with Munir Haque from Cure8, a seasoned expert in the cannabis business. He reveals some security challenges new cannabis businesses encounter while setting up, including the intricate process of compliance with different market regulations and choosing the best spots for security cameras.

Munir emphasizes the importance of vetting vendors deeply, especially their experience in the cannabis industry and their knowledge gained from mistakes made in other markets. He also reveals his belief in the value of dreams and the pursuit of opening multiple locations. Still, he highlights the importance of understanding the differences required in scale, investment, and potential for profit in each new place.

You'll learn about securing personal space, especially for multi-site operators, and the benefits of consolidating everything under one umbrella through one app or portal. Munir also provides insight into how security systems can help improve business operations. He discusses the importance of internet security in maintaining a compliant and secure cannabis business, particularly safeguarding valuable patient information contained in POS or med state.

Finally, Munir shares his number one tip for business owners looking to scale their business: be discerning about your partnerships. In this line of business, growth and progress can only be possible with the proper collaboration. Tune in for an enlightening conversation!

Munir is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced cannabis technology experts in North America. He specializes in retail technology and security and has worked closely with cannabis retailers to design, set up, and manage over 100 dispensaries in the last few years.

One thing that sets Munir apart is that he has deep, ground-level experience in retail management, so he understands the day-to-day needs and frustrations of retail managers and employees better than most.

Find out more about Cure8 at:

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Episode Transcript

Munir Haque: The number one tip for a business owner to grow and scale is really vetting who you're getting in bed with and vetting all your vendors and who is going to grow with you and be in the game with you. Because one soul or one entity cannot do this by themselves. You do need an army whether it's small or large.

Tom Mulhern: Welcome to the Kaya Cast podcast. I'm your host, Tom Mulhern. This is a podcast for cannabis, business owners, people working in the industry. And today I am talking to Munir from Cure8. Cure8 is a security tech company out of California. And Munir has such amazing insights into what it takes to set up a proper security system for a cannabis business. He draws on his experience in the retail sector. So he understands what retailers need.

I always love talking to people in the security side of cannabis, because there is so much compliance and so much at risk when you're working with a controlled substance like cannabis and these companies that can come in and provide that security, provide that peace of mind. Really help. Retailers get back to doing what they love. So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Munir.

Tom Mulhern: Munir is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced cannabis technology experts in North America.

He specializes in retail technology and security, has worked closely with cannabis retailers to design, set up, and manage over 100 dispensaries in the last few years. One thing that sets Munir apart is that he has a deep, ground level experience in retail management, so he understands the day to day needs and frustrations of retail managers.

And employees better than most. So Munir, welcome to the KayaCast podcast, man. It's awesome to have you here. Tell me a bit about your background and how did you end up in the cannabis industry?

Munir Haque: I do come from a very long line of retail, retail management store builds and training. A lot of that is translated into what we do here at Cure8 in, in the cannabis space.Cure8 comes from a parent company that focuses on IT, data security, compliance you know, all that good stuff, right?

I want to kind of ask you, what does Cure8 Technologies do and kind of what sets you apart from other competitors in the security side of cannabis?

We are an IT managed service provider security firm. So, in short. If you are a brand new operator and you're applying for a license, we will help with the compliance and security aspect of your application. And then once you get your license and you have your facility that's when all the fun starts.

So, you have a vision of what you want your flow to be like, how you want your guests to feel, how you want your team to interact with their guests, all that stuff. So we make that come alive from a tech standpoint.

What are some of the security challenges in setting up a brand new cannabis business? What are some of those security things that you need to have in place right from the very beginning?

So every market has different compliance regulations, so it is our job to make sure that we hit all those points, you know. On top of that, outside of compliance, there's always still a little percentage of from being a retail operator, like you might not need a camera you know, in a certain location because there's no cannabis there, but it's still a nice to have, protecting your team and, protecting your operation.

What would you say are the top three, the most important things that a new business needs to invest in for their security tech?

The things that you should really focus on investing in as far as your security tech is in the beginning aligning who your partners are going to be and taking the time to vet them.

Like have your vendors worked in multiple markets? Have they been in the cannabis space? Have they learned from others other markets that have made mistakes that they can also offer knowledge to you for?

Another thing I would talk about is don't stop from dreaming.

Like, if your dream is to open up multiple locations you should strive for that. Like, if that is what you want to do. But in striving for that you should understand what you need to do in the beginning to be able to build to that. Opening at multiple locations does not mean I copy and paste exactly what I did and what I spent on the first, second location to go to three and four.

There is a way to scale, and there's a way to save money, and there's a way to make money quicker.

Tom Mulhern: What are some of the security considerations that a multi site operator needs to address? Like, you know, when you have your one location, it's probably, it's manageable, but once you start getting bigger and bigger, so if there is a multi site operator, what do they need to do for security?

Munir Haque: I would protect your personal time when you're at home with your family and your kids is, is one of the points. And by doing so it's making sure that, you know, everything that you have living in your building, like say your, your compliance or security cameras, like minimizing the umbrellas that you have, putting everything under one umbrella.

So let me give you an example, like just viewing your security footage, right? If you went with different security providers for each location, so you have three locations, that's three different logins, three different portals that you have to access. But imagine one app, one portal, all the locations, red flags being pinged to you immediately and just being able to, at one glance, run all three businesses.

What are some of those ongoing security measures that a cannabis business should prioritize? They're set up, their doors are open, they've been open for a little while. What are some of the ongoing things that they need to keep an eye on?

Compliance is 24/7 If you skip that annoying, smartphone update like 4 times, something's gonna break. Right? So, staying on top of all the updates and all the patchings. This is where if you have someone doing this for you, it will be a huge headache and a nice trusted partner to kind of handle all this for you.

But those things are important. And things do change in markets. I have seen on a Friday evening. In New Mexico, camera retention, camera specifications were at one spec and then come Monday morning, we're at a different spec. So, you know, rules do change and staying on top of that.

Tom Mulhern: Looking at a business that's scaling, does that cost get bigger the bigger the business gets, or what does that kind of look like for those businesses that are scaling at an unbelievable rate?

Munir Haque: Of course the cost will, will go up to a certain level as you add more. But it doesn't need to double and triple, you know, there are ways to scale the cost and bundle To keep, keep the costs down.

Like your phones, for instance, which is a small portion of your tech, but, you know, bundling and grouping your phone contracts, same things with ISP. If we can utilize the same company over multiple locations, you know, there's packages that we can look at to keep those costs low.

We use our partner's camera integration and software that integrates with the POS. So from a standpoint of scaling and running multiple locations and keeping your people honest from external, internal theft, you know, there are a lot of features within the security cameras now that you can utilize to help.

Your business and, help your numbers. By searching transactions really quick or looking at peak hours. And, you know, making sure that you have more people during that time, if you're seeing a trend with peak hours. So utilizing your security system to pull data like that can be exponential for ROI.

Tom Mulhern: I want to look at also internet security because I know that's, that's core to what you guys do. Why is internet security so essential for a compliant and secure cannabis business?

Munir Haque: if you think about it, like from a POS standpoint or med state, you have patient information that's flowing,over this network, even though it's inside your store. So you definitely want to keep that safe and then think about it from the standpoint of if you have, say a lounge or something like that, where you you know, you invite your guests to hang out and maybe extend wifi to them.

So you have devices from the outside coming in that are also touching the internet. So there's so many different aspects in your facility that come from the inside out, even your staff. Someone doing their homework on their lunch break and checking their email, things like that. So you definitely want to secure your network.

In the beginning, a lot of rules and regulations have kind of fine tuned their wording but it was very vague. It made it sound like if you just brought in your Internet, and you got a modem, you're good, like you're secured. But when those folks went out to apply for cybersecurity insurance, and there were questions like, do you have a firewall?

Or is your network segmented? do you have endpoint protection? A lot of those questions and checkboxes, you know, folks weren't able to comply with because you don't, you, you do need a proper secure network.

Tom Mulhern: Are there any other emerging technologiesthat maybe business owners can jump on now and be ahead of the game?

Munir Haque: Now I'm seeing folks get really creative with kiosks, and line busting, and how they present their menu boards and showing specials. Canada kind of has been doing a lot of that from the get go a lot of the folks, you know when they started in the markets of Canada came from like some big box retail, so they kind of naturally brought some of that over but I'm seeing that more even in the mom and pop now

It's not all tech too, you know, there still is like grassroots retail. Like how warm are you when you greet someone that walks in and how knowledgeable are your bud tenders on the products that you have on the shelf? How knowledgeable are they to speak to what they're selling? So that there still is that aspect and sometimes in some markets when scaling happens. Sometimes I see folks kind of moving away from that which I think we should never move away.

Tom Mulhern: That customer experience, it's, it really is two parts. It's walking into a store and being wowed by like the technology, but also being wowed by the knowledge of the bud tenders.

It is yeah and bringing in your community. I was just in Maryland and I visited a few dispensaries and they had local artists. They had paintings from local artists that were, you know, hung in their stores. And I thought it was a really cool way of, bringing in the community as well and, and, and celebrating something outside of, you know, what that shop sells.

Now, to kind of wrap things up, I, I ask this to all of my guests, but what is your number one tip for a business owner to grow or scale their business?

Munir Haque: I talk about this all the time. So the number one tip for a business owner to grow and scale is really vetting who you're getting in bed with and vetting all your vendors and who is going to grow with you and be in the game with you. Because one soul or one entity cannot do this by themselves. You do need an army whether it's small or large.

Tom Mulhern: You need to really vet those people so that,five months down the road, they're not just going to close up shop and leave you out to dry. So that's really helpful.

How can people connect with you and find out more about Cure8 and maybe, you know, if they have questions about their own, tech set up and the security, like, how do people reach out to you?

Munir Haque: Awesome. So we, yeah, we're Cure8, Cure8.Tech. Looking us up on our website, there's a form you can fill out to book some time with us. We're happy to just have a conversation, and see where you're at and see if we can help in any way. LinkedIn is also a good way of getting a hold of us and we also post a lot of content on there and what's going on in the different markets.

Tom Mulhern: We'll have all the links in the bio so people can, you know, get, get your content and find out more. But Munir, it's been amazing having you on the podcast. And, you know, I won't, I won't give away too much, but we are going to do some stuff in the future, the two of us our team, your team.

So keep an eye out for that. But thanks for being on the podcast. This has been fantastic.

Munir Haque: Yeah, thanks for having me. I was looking forward to this and it's been great.

Tom Mulhern: I want to thank Munir for sharing all of his insights into, you know, what it takes, set up security for a single location, what it takes to set up security for multi locations. I loved his encouragement of having everything under one umbrella. So that as a business owner, you can relax. You can focus on living your life and not being so concerned about your security and that everything's working properly. So make sure that you click the link in the bio checkout, Cure8 connect with Munir and all the amazing things they're doing there.

I also want to remind you to go and vote for KayaPush and Kaya Cast for the Emjays. We are hoping to win these amazing awards at MJ biz con. So it's not too late to vote. You can still vote. Just head over to the Emjays's website and click on KayaPush and Kaya Cast and your favorite cannabis retailers and vote for us.

Make sure that you subscribe to the podcast, and we'll see you back here next week with more stories about how to launch scale and grow your cannabis business.

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