In states that have legalized the sale of recreational cannabis, dispensaries pop up at a rate that even Starbucks would envy. In cannabis hubs such as Denver, dispensaries actually outnumber Starbucks outlets nearly 5:1. In the mad dash to enter the cannabis market, some dispensaries are overlooking a crucial facet to their business, security.
Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal-level, the cannabis industry lacks access to regular banks and is forced into cash-based transactions. The cash-based natured of cannabis sales make dispensaries a high-profile target for criminals because it’s no secret that there are large sums of cash inside –a large cannabis operation may have upwards of $300,000 of cash on hand– and valuable products that can easily be resold on the black market.
For these reasons, security guards are essential. Dispensaries and cultivation facilities that fail to utilize security guards and other theft prevention measures, can suffer immense financial loss. In worst-case scenarios the result can be even more catastrophic, resulting in the loss of life, as was the unfortunate outcome at one Detroit dispensary. No one should have to worry about whether or not their loved one is going to come home from their day of work at the dispensary.
I hate to say it, but this is one instance where the NRA’s contrived slogan “the only way to beat a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” actually rings true. As long as our archaic federal laws prevent the cannabis industry from traditional banking, security guards will be needed at dispensaries to scare off criminals looking to get rich quick from stealing the large sums of cash inside. If dispensary owners are serious about ensuring a safe work environment for their employees and a safe retail experience for their customers, they must get serious about security too.