The world of marijuana is changing. Across the country, medical and recreational users are increasingly turning to marijuana for relief of symptoms. The change in perception has led to an upswing in the number of medical marijuana patients.
VMS stands for Video Monitoring System. VMS has many uses in the cannabis industry, but the most obvious is to monitor the grow room.
As all cannabis operations need to be kept under lock and key, it is imperative that these are well-secured. VMS can be used to secure any business, whether it be a cannabis club or the cultivation of marijuana.. Read more about outdoor grow security and let us know what you think.
It almost goes without saying that the cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing verticals in the United States, with a wide range of opportunities for existing or prospective corporations, management services organizations (MSO), business owners, and developers, as many seek to profit from state-level deregulation of medical and recreational cannabis. Cannabis sales soared in 2020, despite worldwide shutdowns, shelter in place orders, job losses, and the ever-present danger of disease. Cannabis sales increased by 71 percent in 2019 to $18.3 billion, a $7.6 billion increase, according to a Leafly analysis based on state tax and revenue statistics. There are now 19 states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 36 states that have medical marijuana programs. Some countries are just now beginning to issue licenses, and more are on the way.
Marijuana’s continuing federal classification as a Schedule I narcotic does not provide for a simple environment for potential entrants to traverse. Whether you currently have a dispensary, processing facility, or plan to build one, there are a slew of laws to bear in mind, the majority of which include technological and physical security standards. We’ll go through a few ways cannabis growers, dispensaries, and processors may use a video management system (VMS) as part of their broader open platform security strategy in the sections below.
A Security Plan is Required for Licensing
Before you can open your doors, you’ll need specific permits, permissions, and audits, just like any other company. While each state’s laws and security standards vary, nearly all of them need an electronic alarm and surveillance system, as well as audit trails, whether paper or electronic, that must be preserved.
Whether you’re a grow operation, edible manufacturer, processing plant, dispensary, or in transportation and the newer delivery services, every state, and in some cases, individual cities or municipalities, that has legalized medical or recreational marijuana has stringent licensing requirements that you must meet before you open. While these laws may vary, nearly all of them require the implementation of an adequate security strategy.
As part of the license application process, these security measures are carefully weighed. You will lose points if your security strategy is judged to be inadequate. You will not be granted a license if your total grade/number does not reach the criteria. This puts the onus on the prospective operation to have a well-thought-out security strategy in place, defining the entire system architecture, which may include alarm, video, and, in certain instances, access control, and allowing for the integration of additional solutions.
Furthermore, cannabis merchants need an audit trail that works in tandem with seed-to-sale compliance software to verify that cannabis businesses comply with legal standards.
Surveillance video is required.
While laws vary by jurisdiction, almost all fully authorized states mandate video monitoring throughout the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The typical dispensary, for example, might have anywhere from 25 to 40 cameras. To guarantee appropriate monitoring of the product and harvesting process, a large-scale grow operation may include dozens or even hundreds of cameras. The perimeter must be secured regardless of the business function, and there must be no “dead zones” where a camera’s field of vision is blocked. All hard and soft possible physical security risks (clients, workers, delivery persons, parcels) entering the property, as well as any human or product movement inside the facility, must be monitored utilizing the camera system.
Operators must have archived video evidence in the case of a compliance officer audit to have a compliant security system. State laws vary, but 45-day, 90-day, and even 120-day video retention periods are typical. For a company owner, this means that everything you do is recorded, from product transportation to individual product sales and storage, necessitating the need of a reliable video solution to preserve the film.
The advantages of a VMS extend beyond the possibility of penalties. For example, if a grow operation transfers plants from one end of the facility to the other without video evidence, auditors may raise an eyebrow. While continuous video monitoring guarantees that all activities are compliant, it may also readily reveal when crimes, such as staff theft, are perpetrated. Operators will be able to reconcile goods more rapidly and identify any inconsistencies using video systems.
When goods are weighed, cameras may assist with internal theft by alerting security staff if the recorded weight of a product does not match what it is assessed to be.
Tracking from seed to sale
Seed-to-sale refers to the procedure of labeling each cannabis plant with a barcode or radio-frequency identification (RFID) that enables for tracking from seed through production, processing, and ultimate sale. Anything cannabis consumers purchase has a batch number, along with the lot and date, which allows them to track the product’s birth, lifespan, and death. Such monitoring methods go beyond those seen in a typical drugstore, where consumers are seldom able to discover such details.
Because the camera can capture a picture of a plant’s barcode as it goes by on its route to processing, using a video system with a seed-to-sale tracking interface may significantly decrease the burden of compliance and required data monitoring on grow operators and dispensaries. A barcode reader is used to scan and track the picture. While this information is also recorded in the seed-to-sale software, video pictures offer a useful unique record of each of these transactions that may be accessed quickly in the event of a compliance audit or inquiry.
Dispensary Security is Improved with Video Analytics
COVID-19 presented some of the same difficulties to cannabis retail outlets as it did to other retail sectors, such as lengthy socially distant lineups and lower occupancy levels. By utilizing people counts to shorten up wait lines and aid management in ensuring the facility is adequately manned, video analytics may help enhance operations. Video analytics may also be utilized to monitor the whole facility or operation, both inside and outside, to ensure that the secure area is really secure.
Dispensaries benefit from connections with point of sale (POS) and Seed to Sell (STS) systems, as well as appropriate reporting tools. For example, if a consumer purchases several items, the transaction will be recorded in the POS/STS software, and the facility may utilize the metadata collected by the surveillance system to verify compliance, complete with an event-stamped audit trail, if necessary.
Cannabis facilities need remote video access and the ability to investigate remotely.
Remote access to systems is in great demand in the cannabis industry as a whole. Cannabis entrepreneurs may use the monitoring system to have immediate insight into their facilities even if they are not physically there. They may view video from specific locations in a number of ways using today’s technology, including a local client workstation onsite at the retail outlet or at the company’s main headquarters, or from anywhere through a mobile device. They’ll be able to observe whether the facility has been entered after hours, or if an incident occurs that triggers an alarm, access control, or surveillance system event. This allows operators to choose whether or not to use internal or external resources to resolve the problem.
Furthermore, when facility size and location are important, having access to any security or surveillance system, independent of its location, would help cannabis operators keep an eye on their activities. Many grow operations, for example, are in remote areas without access to traditional copper or fiber ISPs, or have multiple locations across states, so having a system that can provide an overview of the entire operation from any location while respecting the pipeline, even if that pipeline is a satellite or 4G cell network, is critical.
Cash Flow Planning
It’s no secret that financial management is a significant issue for cannabis entrepreneurs. Most financial institutions are reluctant to enter the cannabis industry since it is still illegal on the federal level as of this writing. As a result, cannabis is still mainly a cash-only business, posing obvious security concerns. The presence of significant sums of money on site should serve as an additional motivation to install a thorough security system and video monitoring system. To guarantee that each transaction has a video archive linked to it, dispensaries must continuously record POS register information as well as the full point of purchase scenario, including the customer.
In addition, the VMS, whether used in conjunction with edge, internal, or third-party analytics, may alert local or remote employees to any suspicious activity, as well as identify guns and other items that might signal a possible danger. They may also track and record all cash and product movements throughout the facility.
Consult a Specialist
Security and regulatory problems in the cannabis business existed long before the COVID-19 epidemic, and they are expected to persist in the near future as more states legalize recreational cannabis. Because of the pandemic’s surge in sales and consumers, cannabis businesses are under even more pressure to maintain facility security and regulatory compliance. To comply with the stringent security requirements placed on cannabis companies, you’ll need a well-thought-out strategy and a flexible system that can offer enterprise-level monitoring and scalability. A security system with the requisite capacity to store video footage and remote monitoring capabilities is required regardless of where the business is situated.
Operators considering opening a facility should obtain advice from a security expert or systems integrator with experience in the cannabis industry and familiarity with the Authority Having Jurisdiction’s laws and procedures. From seed to sale, choosing a solutions provider with a flexible and open architectural approach to security may assist guarantee their company’s lifecycle compliance.
VMS (Vehicle Monitoring System) is an all-new cannabis security system, which provides secure and predictable access to any cannabis facility. Our patent-pending technology includes the following features:. Read more about dispensary safety and let us know what you think.
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