As the Industry Grows, So Do The Cannabis Security Risks

The cannabis industry is expanding rapidly, and to meet skyrocketing demand, we’ll continue to see more dispensaries, warehouses and grow facilities pop up across the country. While this is certainly good news from an economic perspective, it also comes with an escalated risk of crime.

Cannabis Security Risks

This year’s pandemic-prompted economic downturn impacted many industries in the U.S., but the cannabis industry wasn’t one of them. According to Marijuana Business Factbook, retail sales of medical and recreational marijuana in the U.S. are on pace to surpass $15 billion by the end of 2020, an increase of approximately 40% over 2019 sales.

And, on November 3, Arizona, South Dakota, New Jersey, Montana and Mississippi joined the ever-growing list of states that voted in favor of legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medical use. 

More retail stores and grow facilities also means more targets for criminals to exploit. According to one reporter who researched crimes reported at marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, an increase in brick-and-mortar stores also brought an increase in crime incidents targeting those stores. 

The True Nature of Cannabis Crime

It’s easy to understand why cannabis companies are high risk businesses. For starters, the industry is cash-only, and the consistent (and expected) surplus of money in cash registers and back rooms makes dispensaries an attractive target for criminals.

What you may find surprising though, is that, more often than not, thieves are after the product, not the cash. While smash-and-grab incidents are very common at dispensaries, warehouses and grow facilities are an even more appealing target for criminals due to the large volume of desirable product on-site. 

It’s important to consider that profit losses resulting from crime incidents go beyond that of stolen product or cash. Business owners also must spend money to repair the damage done during these incidents – for example, thieves cutting holes in fences or breaking windows. This is money that small business owners just can’t afford to throw away.

State Guidelines Limit Security Focus

In an attempt to curb attacks on cannabusinesses, each state has its own set of strict guidelines related to video surveillance system requirements – things like:

Footage Retention Periods




For example, Colorado mandates that cameras must cover all areas with marijuana items; they must have a minimum of one hour of recording time; and all surveillance footage must be kept for a minimum of 40 days.

In California, cannabis farms and dispensaries must have digital video surveillance systems with a minimum camera resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels; each camera must be permanently mounted in a fixed location; and footage must be retained for a minimum of 90 days.

And these are just a few examples of the many mandates required in both states.

The presence of these video surveillance systems can help deter insider and outsider attacks during operating hours. But what we’ve found in our work with customers is that many cannabusiness owners are so worried about adhering to these strict state guidelines to protect inside their dispensary, they don’t apply the same focus on warehouse or grow facilities.

More specifically, they often neglect to secure the outside perimeter after hours at these facilities. And, as you’d expect, this often leads to common problems, such as theft, vandalism, vagrancy and squatting. 

Deter Crime and Build Trust with Pro-Vigil

Pro-Vigil goes beyond simple record-and-store cameras to provide cannabusiness owners with remote video monitoring services that combine artificial intelligence (AI)-powered video surveillance with real humans who can identify suspicious activity.

Our services provide 360-degree property surveillance; virtual guards that watch your business after hours; and the ability to detect a threat within 24 seconds and deter crime incidents within 30 seconds using audiovisual deterrents. 

With Pro-Vigil, you can keep all people away from your dispensary, warehouse or grow facility after hours to eliminate crime, vagrancy and squatters. You’ll also work with a team of experienced cannabis security experts committed to helping you:

Learn your local and state cannabis security laws and requirements

Develop and execute a scalable security plan

Eliminate blind spots and obstructions

Mitigate risk from inside and outside threats

Document and store every event on your property

Identify and protect your most high-value targets

Implement visible and hidden cameras for maximum security

Perhaps best of all, with Pro-Vigil, you can build employee trust in a safe work environment and community trust in a safe retail experience.

To learn more about your cannabis security options and to get a free quote, contact us today.

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