Most industries have been – and continue to be – negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the cannabis industry has been an exception. Store closures, capacity limits, new health mandates and consumers’ fear to go out in public have caused many businesses to experience a stark drop off in revenue. But, for medical and recreational dispensaries, sales are soaring.
Colorado dispensaries took in $199 million in June, the highest monthly total since 2014, the year cannabis was legalized in the state. July sales in Illinois were the highest ever at $61 million, and medical marijuana sales in Oklahoma are expected to double year-over-year, reaching approximately $800 million. And this is just a snapshot of a trend that extends across the U.S.
New local- and state-issued health requirements designed to prevent the spread of the virus are forcing many cannabusinesses to change the way they manage compliance.
COVID-19 Causes Compliance Challenges
Prior to COVID-19, it was not uncommon for store owners and managers to assign compliance duties to someone on their staff. But today, they find themselves facing new challenges that can make manually managing compliance impossible. For example:
- There are more compliance requirements to follow than ever before, as new health regulations (e.g., social distancing rules and mandatory face mask orders) pile on top of the already lengthy list of industry, local and state laws dispensaries must follow.
- With many dispensaries experiencing increased foot traffic during the pandemic, there are more customers to watch over to make sure they are abiding by these new health requirements.
- With capacity limitations causing long lines just to get into dispensaries, owners and managers must now monitor compliance both inside and outside of their stores.
In this environment, dispensaries must leave behind the traditional manual approach to compliance and look to technology to take on the burden. And guess what? In many cases, dispensaries may already have the technology in place.
IP Security Cameras to the Rescue
Most dispensaries are required by state law to implement video surveillance systems for cannabis security purposes. And if this is the case, then they also have a solution to their compliance burden.
Many IP security cameras have the ability to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which empowers them to analyze video footage and act on things that would normally require human intelligence. For example, identifying a person on property after-hours.
In the context of health compliance, these AI-enabled IP security cameras can be trained over time to monitor store employees and customers and recognize when health requirements are being violated. Some video systems, like Pro-Vigil’s, even generate a daily scorecard that illustrates how a company is stacking up against certain health mandates, so leadership teams can investigate and remediate problem areas.
To put this technology into context, here are three ways IP security cameras can help with compliance with COVID-19 guidelines:
#1 Social distance monitoring
Six-feet social distancing rules are now commonplace across the country, and IP security cameras can be programmed to measure the space around employees and customers to detect when the six-foot rule is violated. For example, Pro-Vigil’s cameras place a ring around each individual on the video, and the ring changes color when people come within six feet of each other. This feature makes it easy to show regulators that measures are in place to detect and correct violations.
#2 Occupancy management
Many dispensaries, like other retail stores and restaurants, must now abide by occupancy restrictions. Rather than having to assign an employee to front door duty to keep track of the number of people going into and out of your store, IP security cameras can do the counting for you.
#3 Face mask detection
AI-enabled IP security cameras can also be trained to identify employees and shoppers who aren’t wearing face masks. Not only does this capability help management teams rectify compliance gaps, but it builds trust with consumers – helping them to feel safe when entering your store (or waiting outside of it).
Demonstrating to regulators that these technology provisions are in place can reduce the risk of being fined or worse. Better yet, it also provides cannabusinesses with a way to dramatically increase the return on investment in their IP security cameras, by using them for business issues beyond marijuana security. To find out how Pro-Vigil can help you with a new or existing implementation, contact us today.