The business of growing and selling marijuana is showing some of the fastest growth of any new industry today. Recreational sales in Illinois grew from zero to one billion dollars in the year 2020. Current valuations show the U.S cannabis industry to be worth $61 billion. Analysts are now predicting that the industry will be worth $100 billion by 2030. And with one in three Americans now living in a state where cannabis is legal, the rest of the country faces pressure to legalize as well.
This has brought with it an array of challenges for growers and dispensary owners. While marijuana is a plant, it cannot be treated like any other crop by the grower. With such a high value per plant, it is an attractive prospect for theft. And while many states have legalized its sale in retail dispensaries, cannabis is still a drug. Because of that, there is a higher risk of criminal activity at a retail cannabis dispensary than at other types of retail establishments.
There are also strict state regulations for cannabis growers and sellers with fines for non-compliance. These directives cover floorplans, locked areas for storage, and video surveillance. Regulations around video surveillance for cannabis businesses are lengthy, including factors like camera resolution, camera location, video retention times and more.
To help combat threats and avoid penalties, many professionals in this industry are discovering the value of remote monitoring. Here are five ways remote video monitoring can help keep your business cannabis running smoothly.
1. It protects your marijuana plants and dispensary inventory
Your inventory is a highly attractive target, both to professional thieves and to the customers who come into your dispensary to shop. However, the biggest threat to cannabis plants, pipes, edibles and other assets comes from your own personnel. According to MJBizDaily, up to 90% of product theft can be attributed to employees.
Remote video monitoring can reduce this risk factor by keeping inventory, cash and products in view at all times. When customers and employees know that they are on video, they may also be less likely to attempt any illegal actions. Proactive video monitoring takes this one step further, with audio interventions from trained experts who can speak directly to the would-be thief, stopping them in their tracks and preventing the theft.
Any criminal activity brings with it a risk factor for people as well. Burglars, thieves and others intent on doing harm may also create a violent presence in your dispensary or grow facility. Remote video monitoring delivers the same preventive assistance as it does against theft, helping to ensure the safety of your customers and your employees. Further, video can provide evidence to law enforcement to help identify the perpetrator if an incident does occur.
3. It safeguards your perimeter
Both during and after business hours, the entire grounds of your business is at risk. The areas around dispensaries, including parking lots, could easily turn into gathering points for criminals or vandals. Video surveillance cameras alone can’t prevent this from happening.
This is where proactive video monitoring with trained intervention specialists can make a significant difference. Expert professionals will watch your perimeter 24/7, 365 days a year. If they see a crowd of individuals gathering outside your facility at 3 am on a Sunday, they can loudly address the group, ask them to leave the premises, and advise them that law enforcement has been alerted to their presence. It’s the best way to stop vandalism at your cannabis dispensary.
4. It helps maintain compliance with state laws
Every state that has legalized cannabis has its own set of regulations for the industry. Video surveillance requirements for the cannabis industry are typically considerable. For example, each state mandates the number of surveillance cameras, as well as camera image resolution, placement of cameras, remote access to surveillance video storage, and length of storage of recorded video. There are minimums for the number of days footage must be stored; California has a 1-year minimum which other states are expected to follow in the future. Law enforcement must always have access to stored video immediately upon request in the event of an incident or compliance audit.
Your remote video monitoring provider should have deep expertise in the laws in your state, to ensure you don’t incur fines or fees for compliance shortfalls relating to video.
5. It shields you from liability
Liability claims are one of the most frustrating threats to cannabis grow facilities and dispensaries. Nothing can stop a dissatisfied customer – or any individual – from filing a civil liability case for a near-infinite variety of grievances. However, video evidence can refute a false liability claim more effectively than any eyewitness testimony. Working with a reliable remote video monitoring provider ensures you have the video you need, when you need it, to protect yourself from bogus liability claims.
Protect your cannabis dispensary and growth facility
There is tremendous opportunity right now in the cannabis industry. There is also tremendous risk, due to the nature of the products and the fact that it is still largely a cash business.
Growers and retail owners can protect themselves from threats by working with a remote video monitoring vendor with expertise in the cannabis industry.