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Three Security Factors to Consider to Protect Your Cannabis Production Facility

By Scott Thomas

Published: Oct 28, 2022   

Image credit: Genetec

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When it comes to securing cannabis production facilities, selecting the right security solution is one of the most important decisions you can make. Upgrading or implementing a new physical security solution requires several significant considerations. Effectively planning for future needs, meeting ever-changing regulatory requirements, and being able to easily share evidence with authorities all need to factor into your decision. Before selecting a security solution, consider these three important factors and how they will impact your business.

How are you planning for future expansion?

According to a 2020 Grand View Research report, by 2027, the legal cannabis market is expected to grow to $73.6 billion. As you consider how your production facility might expand, reviewing goals for your facility will help establish requirements and objectives for your security system. For example, as demand increases, you may decide to build or acquire new facilities. Will you have more access points and areas to secure? Will you have one site or multiple sites to monitor?

A scalable, open-architecture system will help expand your system as needed by allowing you to add cameras, readers, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices as your business expands. With an open-architecture system, you can consider a range of devices for your system, depending on your needs and goals. Unlike proprietary systems, you aren’t locked into specific devices. Therefore, you have more options and prices from which to choose and can select new technology without having to completely change out costly hardware. Considering how you envision your production facility in the future, it can be significantly more expensive to replace a complete system than to buy an open-architecture security platform upfront that allows you to scale to the changing needs of your organization.

Can your security system also help with compliance?

The cannabis industry, in many states, is regulated from seed to sale, so a cultivation facility security system is required to ensure compliance. Regulations can cover every step from the growth process and production to the transportation and dispensing of the products. A robust physical security solution can track these various stages throughout the plant’s lifecycle until it reaches the dispensary. Inventory tracking, with scannable barcodes, follows this process from seed to sale. If audited by a regulatory body, this process becomes far easier by synchronizing with a unified security platform.

This is where an open-architecture unified security system becomes important. Each stage in the production process is searchable in the system. An open architecture security system can provide the necessary integration between the barcode or radio-frequency identification (RFID) scanners and the correlated video that serves as a visual verification. Since cannabis products are highly desirable and easy to conceal, being able to see the entire process from start to finish will help secure your inventory throughout its lifecycle.

Other regulatory compliance issues involve keeping records of who enters and exits specific areas while preventing unauthorized access. If you have a unified security system, your access control and video surveillance can operate together seamlessly. Access points can be monitored and correlated with video to provide visual confirmation when a badge or fob is swiped to let you know who and when someone enters any part of the facility. Not only does this add an extra layer of security, it also creates a record for auditing purposes.

Could a cloud-based or hybrid system help with evidence sharing?

Cloud-based or hybrid systems can be very helpful for meeting regulatory compliance when requirements mandate retaining video for several months. For example, 14 days of video data can be kept on premises, while the older videos can get pushed to the cloud to meet the regulatory compliance in your state.

Cloud-based systems are flexible and scalable to your needs. You have options that include sharing specific video segments easily with regulators, law enforcement, or legal entities outside your organization as required. This not only decreases the need for onsite storage and server maintenance but also provides a fast and efficient way to locate files and share them. A full audit trail is created to confirm when the file was shared, by whom, and who has viewed it.

Plan for longevity

As you consider the needs of your production facility, it’s a good idea to think about plans you may have for the future. A unified, open-architecture system enables that by allowing you to select from a wide range of cameras and IoT devices as your business expands, without being locked into specific hardware. It can also help you stay in compliance with regulations and adopt cloud-based solutions for evidence sharing and storage. A unified, open-architecture system can help improve your operations and protect your product – from seed to sale – both now and in the future.

Scott Thomas

National director for sales signature brands at Genetec Inc.

Scott Thomas is the national director of sales for signature brands in the United States. In this role, Scott and his team are responsible for sales to the retail, financial, hospitality, gaming, and cannabis vertical markets via the company’s network of system integration partners. Scott joined Genetec in 2007 as a director of business development. He started in the physical security industry in 1991 with Checkpoint Systems, where he held various sales and management roles during his 16-year tenure. Scott is a member of the Rolling Stones Culture Council and the Loss Prevention Magazine Advisory Board.


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