Soaring Above Common Cannabis Security Challenges with Chris Eggers (CCSS)

Episode Description

Welcome to another episode of Kaya Cast Podcast, join us for an insightful conversation with Chris Eggers from CC Security Solutions.

Chris has been crucial in bringing forward the security challenges that many cannabis businesses face today. In this episode, Chris revolutionizes the idea of cannabis security and how drone technology is empowering cannabis businesses in no-fly zone spaces while being cost-effective. With the discussion on common misconceptions in the field, we dig into the status quo of cannabis security and the pitfalls of the DIY approach.

Chris brings to light the role security plays in contributing to community livelihood and how local law enforcement leverages security from cannabis facilities to gear up their investigations.

Towards the end of our chat, Chris shares his advice to aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs on tackling road bumps and growing their business. Listen in as he underlines the importance of staying calm, moving forward, and setting the right expectations. Don't miss out on this mix of insights on technology, misconceptions, industry hurdles, and ultimate business growth.

So tune in now for an exciting venture into the world of cannabis security, an area often overlooked but one Chris has managed to delve into comprehensively and explosively. Don't miss it!

Chris Eggers is a nationally recognized figure in the fields of cannabis security and cannabis risk management. Prior to founding CCSS, Eggers served 12+ years as a Law Enforcement Officer with both the San Francisco and Oakland Police Departments. His law enforcement experience included working undercover in Oakland, involvement in a broad range of burglary and robbery investigations (including cannabis facilities), and a broad range of compliance and other training and certifications (including cannabis).

These experiences were central to “Why” he founded CCSS - and the origin of CCSS’ Mission and Vision. Over the past two years Mr. Eggers has become an increasingly relied upon and trusted resource within the broader commercial cannabis community, different municipalities in California and other state regulatory bodies, and contact for various California and national media outlets on cannabis security and risk management matters.

Find out more about CC Security Solutions at:

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Episode Transcript

Chris Eggers: Stay calm, and keep moving. There's good days, there's bad days, there's good weeks, there's bad weeks, there's great quarters and there's bad quarters.

But this industry is full of amazing people, we're all generally chasing the same goal, right? Of starting a business and growing a business and, you know, moving this industry forward.

So it's exciting to be part of and it's, it's a little bit wild at the same time.

Tom Mulhern: Welcome back to the Kaya Cast Podcast. I am your host, Tom Mulhern, and today I have a fantastic interview with Chris Eggers from Cannabis Compliant Security Solutions. Their company is creating some of the most state-of-the-art security solutions for cannabis businesses.

And it was amazing to be able to dive into this complex world of cannabis and security.

And I really hope that you enjoy this conversation between Chris and I. We discusssome of the things that dispensary owners need to be aware of when it comes to security and compliance within their dispensary. So we talk about that. We talk about cutting edge technology. We talk about his history in law enforcement and how law enforcement can partner with cannabis businesses to help, drop that stigma to help communities.

And so let's jump right into this interview between me and Chris Eggers.

Tom Mulhern: Chris Eggers is a nationally recognized figure in the field of cannabis security and cannabis risk management. Prior to founding CCSS, Eggers served 12 years as a law enforcement officer with both the San Francisco and Oakland police departments. His law enforcement experience includes working undercover in Oakland, involvement in a broad range of burglary and robbery investigations. These experiences were central to why he founded CCSS. And the origin of CCSS mission and vision. Chris, welcome to the Kaya Cast Podcast. It's amazing to have you here.

Chris Eggers: Thanks for having me and pleasure to meet you in person. Finally.

Tom Mulhern: So Chris, tell me a bit about your background and how did you get started in the cannabis industry?

Chris Eggers: I started my law enforcement career with the Oakland Police Department. I was there for a little over six years, and then I lateraled to San Francisco Pd. I was there about seven years before I quit to found CC Security Solutions.

Cannabis security does lay into some of my strengths and some of the unique education that I got as a, as a cop specifically working undercover for the Oakland Police Department really helped me to understand what criminals look for, what makes 'em tick.

Law enforcement has a way of sort of training you that it's the devil's lettuce and it's, it's all bad. That was not my experience prior to entering law enforcement. I never, you know, accepted that mentality and excited to use my skillsets here in the cannabis industry.

Tom Mulhern: When it comes specifically to security, what are some of the unique challenges that your clients are facing?

Chris Eggers: We see an increase in frequency of targeted attacks against cannabis businesses, but we also see an increase in violence. The offenders are coming, you know, not one or two to, with a crowbar to the back door anymore.

You know, now it's 20 deep with rifles, you know, and that's real. Unfortunately, that's the reality that we're facing. I don't think it's gonna get any better.

And so one of the biggest challenges I think, that all licensed cannabis operators,face is setting realistic expectations around security because it is an expensive, line item within somebody's budget.

And it's important to set those realistic expectations and understand, you know, where does the risk exist if any, and, and where are the liabilities?

Tom Mulhern: Now looking at budget, where should a cannabis business kind of prioritize that budget when it comes to security? Like is it cameras, is it alarm systems? Or like what should the priority be when they're setting up that security?

Chris Eggers: Understanding how to utilize technology to to increase surveillance, limit liability, and decrease cost, is how CCSS has grown.

Utilizing technology such as proactive video monitoring. And we're also at the forefront of utilizing drones as a security solution as well.

Proactive video monitoring is a, is a cost effective solution. When done right, can save, you know, thousands of dollars a month. We saved one client in East Oakland, a very large property, $250,000 directionally, annually from guard services utilizing proactive video monitoring at their, at their site.

Tom Mulhern: You guys are utilizing drone technology. What are you using that for? I mean, like you said, this is kind of breaking and it's brand new. Like what sort of uses could you you have for a drone in the cannabis industry?

Chris Eggers: Sure. So we've utilized drones as a security solution. We've completed now three FAA compliant patrols in East Oakland on cannabis facilities, utilizing our own facility management technicians who we've invested into into them, and they're now drone pilots. So we completed the first drone as a security solution within the cannabis industry, that was less than a mile and a half from Oakland International Airport in a no-fly zone space.

So we were able to achieve FAA waivers to fly completely compliantly around this facility to increase coverage. And we would have some internal data that we're gonna start to release soon. That shows how cost effective that is, you know, and how much more money we can save.

So when we implement that solution at another property in East Oakland, we're gonna save that client about $25,000 annually on guard services

Tom Mulhern: What are some of the misconceptions that you keep on running into with security? Are there certain misconceptions and how do you address those in the industry?

Chris Eggers: Sure. The biggest one is the disruption to the status quo. Status quo of cannabis security today, I would argue, is a disconnected patchwork of various services, service providers and service offerings with limited allocation of risk, one-sided contracts limited insurance and bad actors generally.

Clients often have to navigate 4, 5, 6, 7 different types of security vendors to piece together their solution, and that's the status quo. That's what people are dealing with today. We are changing the paradigm of cannabis security, and we're strong on our belief in that.

The status quo hasn't changed up until now, and and we're happy to be at the forefront of that.

Tom Mulhern: How do you protect staff and then how do you protect the people that are coming in to buy cannabis in stores?

Chris Eggers: It's really a, a matter understanding from the operator how you, how do you intend to use your business?

How do you intend to use your space? How do you really intend to move around this space?

How do your employees intend to move and operate? You know, those are things that we wanna put on the table so that we can then create processes and procedures.

And so it's really a matter of understanding, you know, in an honest conversation with the client how they intend to use their, their facility.

Right. And then on top of that, you know, having a, a knowledge specifically around cannabis is important with, with respect to protecting customers. So if we're talking about a retail facility, obviously that's where the customers are. You know, having that knowledge about the industry intimately is hugely important.

Too many people I've seen, look at cannabis as just another industry to get into. And it's a unique industry for a lot of reasons. And it's just not that simple. So, you know, understanding the specific risk profiles of each business is, is paramount.

Tom Mulhern: Do you have any horror stories, has there been anything that you've seen that you're like, that is the dumbest thing that I've seen a business do?

You know, can you share maybe something to, enlighten the audience?

Chris Eggers: One of the biggest sort of blunders that we continue to see clients make before they engage with us is that do-it-yourself sort of piecemealing things together to try to save a couple bucks. That always leads to more expensive solutions later on. But again, you know, we don't, we all don't know what we don't know.

But, you know, non-security folks making security decisions is, is the biggest sort of mistake that we see consistently and is counterproductive to the goal in mind of the people doing it, which is to save some money.

The price point initially I think is really important, but then peeling back those onion layers and, and we have a document that we send out, you know, constantly about how to vet vendors, you know, what questions to ask.

we're talking about guard services, are you licensed by the state that you're operating in? Do you hold the proper insurances? What are your SOPs?

We have clients that pick the cheapest option and that leads to issues. I don't know of anything that you would buy that's the cheapest and the best, right?

But we often get that, Hey, I want the cheapest and best solution. What's the goal here? Is it to be cheap or is it to be, you know, best? But security's something that a lot of people are not well versed in, which is why we believe in, you know, almost over-communication and being as transparent as we possibly can to help educate clients.

Tom Mulhern:Do you work with local, like state law enforcement or municipalities to kind of help train them or, and provide education there?

Chris Eggers: No law enforcement agencies are not yet reaching out, you know, banging down our door, asking for training, and they should.

I personally had to seek out all of the training that I got, you know, with respect to cannabis within law enforcement. And again, the underlying theme is that cannabis is bad and that's just not true.

I tell this story often, but a dispensary opened up when I was a foot beat officer on Market Street in downtown San Francisco.

A a new dispensary had opened up and I was the foot beat officer with the hat on and you know, everything. And I walked by one day and manager and I made eye contact. He kind of waved me in, introduced myself. I gave him my business card, Hey, if, if you need anything, this is kind of where I normally hang out.

And, and this is who I am. Great. It was a great interaction. And I leave and my sergeant's parked in, you know, in the middle of Market Street. He waves me over and he says, stay outta those places. And I said, no. Like, absolutely not. This is a retail facility. I'm a foot beat officer. My job is to, you know, essentially shake hands, kiss babies.

And let people know that I'm here, be present, and absolutely not, I'm not gonna stay outta those places. And on top of that, if you feel that way, put that in writing. Send me an email, something that I can hold up and said, you know, you don't want me in these places. So that, that negative connotation still very much exists within law enforcement.

Tom Mulhern:How do you think that shapes the public's opinion of cannabis dispensaries or operations cultivation facilities? Like, do you think that the media and those stigmas really play a part in, the public's view? I think it can.

Chris Eggers:Security within cannabis facilities is vast. The rules around them are vast. So, you know, The GAP doesn't have a camera account coverage requirements, right? The GAP doesn't have rules around limited access areas that, you know, they can get fined or dinged if they don't abide by cannabis facilities do.

And oftentimes here's. You know, sort of the, the secret, right? Law enforcement knows that you have to have certain, for example, camera coverage on the exterior of your building. And so if there's a, a hit and run accident outside or some other investigation that occurred unrelated to the building, law enforcement oftentimes seeks out the cannabis businesses because they know that they can provide evidentiary value.

Right in the form of video surveillance. And I would always tell when I was a cop, cannabis facilities, when we would go ask and pull video, Hey, keep a log of this, right? So the next community meeting you can speak to the fact that, you know, Officer Eggers came by to collect video for a hit and run, you know, or whatever the investigation may be.

But there's a lot of value that is provided by cannabis facilities being in communities. I would I've said this before, I would absolutely raise my family around a, a cannabis facility right when done properly. But again, there is a lot of corner cutting in the security space as well. So we, we often see that as well.

Tom Mulhern:One last question. As a entrepreneur, a business owner, what's one tip for a c@nn@bis business to grow their business?

Chris Eggers: Stay calm and keep moving.

You know, this, this entrepreneurial world is new to me. And it's okay to say that. It's okay to say you don't have all the answers. You know, we all have very extensive networks, so if we don't know the answer, we can find the answer. But hurdles, road bumps, obstacles come at any entrepreneur.

So my hat's off to specifically cannabis folks that are starting plant touching businesses, right? There's a lot of hurdles that they have to go through and experience that a pick and shovel company like mine doesn't have to. But having said that, you know, stay calm. And keep moving. There's good days, there's bad days, there's good weeks, there's bad weeks, there's great quarters and there's bad quarters.

But this industry is full of amazing people,

We're all generally chasing the same goal, right? Of starting a business and growing a business and, you know, moving this industry forward.

So it's exciting to be part of and it's, it's a little bit wild at the same time.

Tom Mulhern: Chris, how do people connect with you and CCSS if they want, you know, your, your security solutions that are, you know, challenging the status quo? How do people connect with You?

Chris Eggers: We are serving clients nationwide. We have a heavy footprint in California obviously because of where we're from and, and our experience there. But we have clients in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Michigan.We have the ability to serve clients nationwide, so we're not limited geographically.

You know, you can find us, We're on Instagram. It shouldn't be too hard to find, and if we are, let me know so I can get on our SEO folks.

Tom Mulhern: Well, Chris, thank you so much for taking this time to be on the podcast. And we'll have all of the links in the bio so that people can connect with you and find out more about what you guys are doing. So thanks for this time.

Chris Eggers: No, let me Thank you. This has been a great experience. Thanks for making it so easy. Great to finally meet you in person, and glad to be part of it. So thank you for your time.

Tom Mulhern: Everyone who is working in cannabis comes from a different field because it's such a new industry. And Chris's experience as a law enforcement officer, as an undercover cop in San Francisco, which sounds like a movie, really prepared him for the role that he's doing now, the company that he's built now.

And it's so cool to see people utilizing their backgrounds to create. You know, a whole new business, a whole new, creative solution within this industry. So I applaud Chris and others who have come from something completely different and now are working in cannabis. And make sure you go check out all of the links in the bio. For Chris and Cannabis Compliance Security Solutions, they are there to help you if you are a cannabis business, looking for a solution to your security risks.

I also want to thank everyone who nominated Kaya Cast for Podcast of the Year at the upcoming MJ awards happening at MjBizCon.

I am beyond thrilled and honored and humbled by even being nominated for this award. So if you enjoy this podcast, if you get some sort of value out of the podcast, I want to encourage you to go and vote. We'll have a link to vote in the bio. Stay tuned for more amazing interviews and we will catch up with you next week on the Kayak Cast podcast.

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