Cultivating and selling cannabis can be a lucrative business, particularly as the industry continues to grow. However, because marijuana is highly sought after, cannabis businesses have elevated security risks. What’s more, product theft can come from both inside and outside of an organization, complicating theft prevention practices.
Therefore, whether it be employee theft, robberies or stolen product, organizations must understand their exposures and common security strategies in order to protect their investment.
Like any other business, those that operate in the cannabis industry are vulnerable to theft. However, companies that grow or distribute marijuana often have unique, valuable assets—including expensive product, growing equipment and materials—that make them an attractive target for thieves. The following are some common theft scenarios that could affect your business:
- An employee has been stealing product from a grower every day for a year.
- Thieves break into a dispensary, clearing the business out of both cash and product.
- Burglars exploit your premises' security vulnerabilities, gaining access to thousands of dollars of growing equipment.
- Product is stolen while en route to a retailer.
Despite these common risks, many businesses that grow or sell cannabis fail to take the proper precautions. In order to protect themselves and their products, organizations must take the appropriate steps to secure their facilities and assets.
Risk Mitigation Strategies
Implementing and managing security measures can be a lot of upfront work, but it will save your organization both money and stress in the long run. The following are some risk mitigation strategies to consider:
- Manage employee theft -- As is the case is many businesses, employee theft is an ever-present risk to consider. While employee theft can be unpredictable, there are a number of precautions you can take to reduce your exposures:
- Conduct thorough background checks on all new hires.
- Train managers and supervisors to monitor employees and watch for suspicious behaviour.
- Implement procedures that include check-in/check-out processes for each shift change.
- Be present as much as possible, particularly during large transactions or deliveries.
- Keep track of your inventory and audit your stock sporadically.
- Manage delivery concerns -- Products in transit are particularly vulnerable to thieves. In order to protect your goods, consider doing the following:
- Install cameras in the vehicle. These cameras can help you monitor both the front and back of your vehicle as well as the product within.
- Train drivers on what to do during robbery situations.
- Consider using geofencing apps that notify you in the event that delivery vehicles leave designated areas.
- Secure your premises -- Although it may seem obvious, securing your premises is a critical step toward preventing theft. While the specific actions you take may differ depending on the size and nature of your operations, the following are some common security measures to consider:
- Invest in alarm and surveillance systems. Using cameras not only helps deter criminal activity, but they can also go a long way toward capturing criminals should theft occur.
- Ensure that cannabis and accessories are not visible from the exterior of the premises.
- Purchase a safe and keep the amount of cash kept in registers to a minimum. Keep a log of what goes in and out of this safe.
- Ensure your building’s doors and windows are in good condition and locked outside of business hours. Consider how you will monitor individuals coming in and out of your establishment. Some establishments use keycard systems to better control access to and from critical areas, like greenhouses.
- Install fences around your building to deter criminals.
- Install adequate lighting on the outside of your building to ensure your premises is easily visible from the street.
- Build a relationship with local law enforcement, working with them to learn about crime activity in the area and potential security strategies.
- Consider hiring security guards or, at a minimum, door greeters.
- Install a panic button at your retail counter.
- Create a written plan that details security procedures and what employees should do in emergencies.
Added Product Protection Through Insurance
Outside of basic security precautions, the right insurance policies are invaluable when it comes to protecting your business from theft. There are a variety of options to consider, including crime, product property and crop coverage. To learn more, contact an expert at the Axis Insurance Group today.
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