Dispensary Security: How to Keep Your Cannabis Shop Safe

Dispensary Security: How to Keep Your Cannabis Shop Safe

Published on 11/3/22

When it comes to owning a dispensary, maintaining security is one of the most essential aspects of running your business. Regulation. The safety of your customers. The safety of your cannabis. The safety of you and your staff. There are a lot of reasons that security is especially important for cannabusinesses. If you own, manage, or even work as a budtender in a dispensary, this piece is for you. Let's dive into cannabis retail security and how you can improve your overall cannabis security plan.

Why Marijuana Dispensary Security is Essential

Dispensaries are, unfortunately, frequent targets of break-ins and robberies. The primary reason this is the case - the main reason you need to make sure your dispensary security is up-to-date and effective is that cannabusinesses are forced to run on a cash-only system. Cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug and is illegal at the federal level. Because of this, financial institutions face severe financial and legal repercussions for doing business with any cannabis business, even if it is legally established in a state that has legalized medical and/or recreational weed. Until banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions can safely do business with cannabusinesses, dispensaries will have to operate on a cash-based system and continue to be at a heightened risk for breakers and robberies.

Of course, in addition to being targeted because of this cash-only issue, dispensaries also have to be aware of their security because of issues every industry faces: cybersecurity breaches, data leaks, shoplifting, internal theft, and aggressive customers. Let's dive into six tips for bettering your cannabis distribution security for the safety of your product, your customers, and your employees.

6 Tips for Better Security for Dispensaries

Security Cameras

As a dispensary, you'll want security cameras set up everywhere. On the front door, throughout the main shopping area, at the point of sales, in the back, and on any additional entrances and exits. Security cameras should help deter individuals from committing a crime. If an individual breaks in or shoplifts, you can provide authorities with footage to help identify and find the culprit. The best surveillance systems will be high resolution, have both daytime and nighttime modes, be weather and vandal-resistant, and record store footage.

Security Guards


Like security cameras, present, armed guards will do more than just help stop an active crime; they are a massive preventative measure to ensure a crime doesn't happen in the first place. Security guards are constant reminders to customers and staff that they are being monitored and that there are present, immediate repercussions for committing a crime. When you hire security personnel to either be at the entrance of your dispensary or on the store floor, consider getting someone who is firm but polite, has retail experience, and is thoroughly trained and certified as a security guard with legitimate detail.

Reinforced Glass

There are two places you'll want to consider reinforced glass to boost your dispensary protection - your store windows and the glass of your display cases. Windows are usually relatively easy to break through and are one of the most at-risk points of your recreational or medical marijuana dispensary plan. And then, especially for shoplifting and daytime robberies, the display cases are your products' primary defense. To make sure both of these security points are as foolproof as possible, we recommend looking into safety and security window film, laminated safety glass, or polycarbonate panels.

Alarm System


Alarm systems are critical for several reasons. They work as a deterrent to anyone who tries to break in, especially during nighttime robberies. Once those alarms start going off, burglars will likely hightail it and run. They also ensure that authorities are alerted and that, even if someone decides to stick around after breaking in, they are more likely to be caught in the act. We highly recommend that you look into several types of alarm systems as a dispensary. Glass break detectors can be put near entrances that sense the shattering of glass nearby. Motion detectors can be set up during the night that monitor heat or energy from nearby movement. And as a last resort in a daytime robbery situation, panic buttons behind the counter offer employees a way to alert an active incident to the authorities.

Lock and Security Storage

We've mentioned keeping the product on the display floor safe, but what about your dispensary's backstock? You likely have a storage room dedicated to keeping all your additional products, which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars worth of cannabis (if not more). To keep your additional stock extra safe, we highly recommend investing in additional security for your cannabis storage room. Safes are a great way to keep your cash and your product secure. Get something big enough to fit your most important product, and consider getting a TL-rated safe. If you can afford it and have the space, a vault is an excellent upgrade from a safe. And finally, high-security doors and locks with classified combinations. We recommend high-security doors not only to your storage room but for all exits and entrances (if possible). For any access codes or keys, make sure to change them out regularly and be very careful about who you give access.

Create a Cybersecurity Strategy


In addition to physical security, in today's modern world, you must be hyper-aware of your cybersecurity. Are you at risk of being hacked? Are your employees and systems open to phishing and malware attempts? These are things to consider as you create your cybersecurity strategy. Some of the primary things you want to implement surrounding your point of sales (POS) and other software you might use as a business - servers, shared drives, financial data - is to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) and secure your business network with antivirus software and a closed Wi-Fi network. You should also set up firewalls for your website and train your employees on proper cybersecurity tactics and best practices.

Do you own or manage a dispensary? Let us know what security features you use that take your dispensary protection above and beyond. Also, let us know if you've had any issues with your security. Comment below!

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