The Importance of a Strong Cannabis Dispensary Security Plan

A dispensary is a cannabis store that is licensed by the state to sell adult-use recreational marijuana. These stores function similarly to standard retail shops but must adhere to strict compliance mandates and payment limitations.

The back of the house (BOH) is a secure room with inventory storage, auditing tools, and facilities. This is where the majority of the cannabis work takes place. Click to learn more.


The cannabis industry is highly regulated, and dispensaries, in particular, have stringent compliance requirements that must be met. It would be best if you satisfy age, residency, and criminal background checks to get your store open. It would be best to implement specific security measures to keep your inventory and cash safe. It’s a good idea to work with a consultant who specializes in the cannabis business before you start the process of obtaining a license. They can help you create a comprehensive business plan covering all the relevant details, including your financial projections and how much you expect to charge for your products.

As a prospective business owner, you must submit your business plan for approval before the state/province will issue your license. This plan should include your financing/capitalization plans, the steps to secure your assets and inventory, and how you will keep track of all the legal requirements that must be satisfied to stay compliant. You will also need to include your vetting process for potential employees, as well as any procedures you will put in place to deter theft and armed burglary.

It’s important to remember that even though cannabis is becoming more accepted socially, there is still a lot of stigma around it. This is why it’s a good idea to research the community you intend to serve. This will help determine if you will likely face friction with neighbors, community members, and local police officers. It may be necessary to establish a private company to shield you from personal liability.

Another crucial consideration is whether or not the state/province will require a local permit before you can apply for a state-level license. This can often take a long process, especially since local governments usually work with state regulatory agencies to approve businesses.

Suppose you choose to locate your store in a town that requires a local permit. In that case, you must complete the required application and pay the associated fee before opening. This can add up to thousands of dollars, so it’s a good idea to make sure your business plans are thorough and include an accurate cost estimate for each of the stages of your licensing process.

It is against the law to sell or possess cannabis if you are under 21. This is due to the negative impact that it can have on a young person’s brain and body. Parents and mentors should be aware of this and discuss the health and safety risks of cannabis with the youth in their lives.

If you are interested in becoming a dispensary owner, you will need to meet the state’s age requirements. In addition, you will need to adhere to local zoning laws. This includes a requirement that your premises are not within 500 feet of schools or community facilities. Your business must also be at least 200 feet away from a house of worship. The zoning laws also require that you only have three on-site consumption licenses once.

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Dispensaries typically hire employees to work in their stores and interact with customers/patients. These employees are often called budtenders, and they have the skills and knowledge needed to make recommendations for cannabis products. They may also be able to answer questions about the state’s cannabis laws and other general information about marijuana.

In addition to a staff, a dispensary requires a wide range of hardware and software to run efficiently. This includes computers or tablets to process sales and payments, mobile scanners for checking IDs, label printers, and other physical equipment. In addition, a dispensary needs software to manage inventory and track sales. This software may include a database to track customer data, analytics tools to measure performance, and reporting functions that allow tracking inventory and profitability.

Having the right equipment and software can be expensive, but it is necessary to ensure a successful cannabis business. For example, a dispensary will need an online payment system that integrates with its POS systems to ensure compliance with regulations. It also must have a naming convention for its products and use the First In, First Out (FIFO) inventory management system to prevent stockouts.

Due to cannabis’ status as a Schedule 1 drug, many standard credit and debit card companies do not offer services to dispensaries. As a result, most dispensaries operate on a cash-only basis. While this may be a necessity for legal dispensaries in regions where banks do not want to deal with them, it comes with its own set of risks. This includes robberies and internal theft, inefficiency and costs related to inventory tracking, and the potential for errors that can occur when counting large sums of cash manually.

Dispensary owners can reduce these issues by implementing payment solutions that allow them to accept debit and credit card payments in the store and by providing online ordering and delivery options for customers. These solutions will also help reduce security issues such as robbery and internal theft and create efficiencies in the process of making a purchase.

One of the best ways to ensure your business can accept digital cannabis payments is to work with a merchant service provider specializing in the industry. They must have experience and a solid track record in the industry. They should also be reliable and transparent about their rates and fees, as well as their level of compliance with state regulations.

Another option is a cashless ATM solution, which allows you to accept debit card payments at the point of sale without handling any money. This is accomplished by using a machine that scans the customer’s pin-based debit card and generates an electronic voucher that mimics an ATM withdrawal from the bank. The voucher is then applied to the customer’s purchase at the point of sale. The customer receives a receipt from the cashless ATM that shows they have transferred funds to the dispensary.

 Strong security measures are not only a requirement by state regulators to get a dispensary license; they’re also crucial for the safety and well-being of your customers. Cannabis retailers with a weak security plans are at risk for break-ins, theft of products and cash, and even armed robbery. So, it’s important to invest in a full-scale security solution from the very beginning of your dispensary’s development.

Most states require security cameras, usually the first line of defense against criminals. Cameras should be able to identify persons, connect them with transactions, and capture facial features and tattoos. Additionally, rooftop cameras can help deter burglary – not just of cash or cannabis, but of copper wiring and other assets in adjacent buildings.

Cameras should be recorded continuously during hours of operation and whenever cannabis products are being handled. They should be able to export clear color photographs that are at least 9600 pixels in size. All footage should be time-stamped and preserved for at least 60 days.

In addition to cameras, a well-designed dispensary should include secure storage areas for inventory. These rooms should have a closed door and be protected by a commercial-grade, key-coded alarm system. Additionally, all entrance doors and windows should be covered with commercial-grade glass that is hard to penetrate and is designed to flex instead of shatter. In case of a breach, a motion detector can alert authorities during an unattended break-in, and covert duress buttons allow employees to contact authorities without compromising their safety.

Back-of-house (BOH) areas are the spaces in a cannabis facility that aren’t visible to customers, such as the vault where product is stored, the room where inventory managers audit and transfer product, restrooms for staff only, and offices. In some markets, BOH includes a secure area where extractions like rosin and kief are made. These extracts are sometimes referred to as badder or budder, and they have a similar appearance to frosting and a softer texture than the actual flower.

All staff should receive specialized loss prevention and safety training from a certified third-party company. This training will help prevent internal theft and unauthorized use of company property. Lastly, regular alternating internal and external patrols must verify that personnel have restricted access to only their authorized areas.

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