Your cannabis dispensary is a major investment, and in many provinces, a timely one, thanks to both the legalization of recreational use and commercial sales by privately owned stores.
Cannabis is a high-value commodity and, as such, may attract criminal activity.
Between robberies, break-ins and internal theft, you must recognize that your staff, customers and assets are at risk. As a result, you will need to take steps to significantly curb those risks.
One of those steps is to invest in access control measures.
The idea behind access control is to restrict access to your assets by installing high-security doors and other barriers as well as regulating who can access them and when.
What is Access Control?
Access control is a security method that authorizes or revokes access to physical assets in your organization. In the case of cannabis dispensaries or stores, this would mean regulating access to your inventory, cash, and store (especially during off-hours and holidays).
(Source: AndreyPopov via DepositPhotos)
The benefits of implementing access control are manifold:
- The first is obvious — i.e., preventing outsiders from gaining access to your assets.
For example, if your store suffers from a break-in, guarding your products with a 1.5mm+ metal door and commercial-grade locks could slow the theft long enough for the police to reach your store, or deter the theft entirely.
- The second is that it lets you keep track of who has access to your assets.
In case of missing inventory, you can see who had previously entered the restricted area and when. You can also control who may access your assets (such as trusted staff) and revoke access to employees who leave your company.
Overall, access control is an essential piece of any credible security system, especially those in the commercial marijuana industry. It’s for this reason that it’s also a compliance requirement.
Dispensary Entry Access Control Requirements
Under Bill C-45, the federal government left the creation of commercial marijuana markets to the provinces. In the provinces where privately-owned dispensaries are allowed to operate, such as British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and others, access control is a must.
(Source: Darwin Chambers)
For example, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) requires that retail cannabis stores to “secure perimeter entry points against unauthorized access”. Similarly, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) requires that “all cannabis must be stored securely at all times and accessible only by staff…”
In each of these cases, you must install metal doors with high-security dispensary door locking systems, and that too according to mandated technical specifications.
How to Install Your Dispensary Metal Door and Locking Systems
In Alberta for example, the AGLC requires that you install a 1.5mm hollow metal door with 1.9mm metal frames using tamper-proof hinges on every door except for the customer entrance.
However, the customer entrance must still be “constructed of commercial grade material sufficient to secure against unauthorized access.”
You must also equip all of your doors with non-residential locks and “tamper-proof” strike plates.
The locking system itself must be at least 1.25 cm deep and cannot be managed by a master key. In other words, you shouldn’t have a single key or code that can unlock every restricted area; rather, you should have multiple keys or codes in-place to enable full access.
Your cannabis inventory must be stored in a separate and secured storage room.
The room itself must be built out of Flattened Metal Mesh. In addition, it must be protected by a hollow metal door that’s 1.5mm to 1.9mm thick. You must also have a 1.6mm steel sheet around the door frame inside of the room. Finally, the door must have a commercial-grade lock that is at least 1.25 cm deep and with tamper-proof hinges.
You will find complete technical details on the AGLC website.
Finally, only authorized staff may have access to the cannabis storage room. You can implement those controls in a variety of ways, such as issuing smart cards, biometric identification (such as a fingerprint or retinal scanning), proximity identification, or mobile access.
However, you cannot rely solely on securing your entry-points. You must also have a credible response mechanism to deal with crime, should it occur.
For example, a video verification system (such as VERI-F-EYE) would equip your store to directly alert you of potential activity at any time. You can view the live footage of your store from your phone or computer to confirm if there’s suspicious activity and then speak to our operators rs to alert law-enforcement. Police will respond 85% faster to a verified security alarm.
Get More Insights on Dispensary Security Planning and Systems:
- Marijuana Security System Best Practices: Building a Dispensary Security Plan
- How to Get Certified as a Marijuana Dispensary Across Canada
- How Professional Security Systems Ensure Your Dispensary Will be Covered by Insurance
Navigating each province’s specific access control requirements isn’t straightforward. And with big markets such as Ontario rolling-out private retail markets on a gradual basis with only a few licenses at a time, you cannot afford to have gaps in your dispensary security system.
It’s best to get the design and installation of your security system done correctly the first time, and there’s no better route than to speak to an experienced security systems company.
Veridin brings over 25 years of experience designing and installing custom security systems for businesses with highly complex security needs. Besides understanding how security systems work best, that experience includes navigating dense regulatory and policy rules, identifying actual threats, and designing systems that protect your investments from harm.
Contact us today and we’ll help you design, install and manage a security system that fully complies with your province’s requirements and protects your assets.