Be it robberies, break-and-enter, or internal theft, it’s evident that clear video surveillance of your marijuana dispensary is a critical factor to both identifying and deterring potential culprits.
In fact, at this stage, a networked security camera system is all but essential for cannabis stores — it’s both a prudent security decision and a regulatory requirement.
In this article, we’ll delve deeper into both of these key points. We’ll also explain how a professional should install and configure your dispensary security camera system so that it protects your dispensary from external and internal threats alike.
Why a Dispensary Security Camera is Necessary
So, why is installing a dispensary security camera system a must?
1. It’s a regulatory requirement.
Dispensary security cameras are a regulatory requirement in the provinces where privately-owned marijuana stores have been given license to operate.
For example, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) says, “A retail cannabis store must have a digital security camera system.”
Likewise, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) states, “A secure, high-resolution surveillance system must be in place at all times.”
In fact, the AGLC and AGCO will not issue a store license until you provide proof that your store has a digital security camera system installed. In other words, you must incorporate this as part of your initial planning and well ahead of submitting your store application.
2. It will protect your investment.
Opening a cannabis store is a significant investment. You’re looking at a starting cost of $10,000 just to apply and obtain the license. If you factor in the cost of leasing property, hiring staff, renovating, and buying the product, your total investment costs could be north of $100K.
Moreover, with the supply of marijuana being as limited as it is today (and into the next several years), you have every incentive to protect your inventory from internal and external threats.
A professionally-installed camera system will help you identify culprits and deter would-be ones.
Don’t undermine the ‘professionally-installed’ part. You need your camera system to function reliably and without failure, for it to serve its intended role.
3. You will lower your risk.
A security camera system is also an indicator of wanting to reduce your risk. This could help you when it comes to getting insurance for your store.
Configure Your Security Cameras for Cannabis Dispensary Realities
So, we’ve established that a security camera system is a must, but how you configure and install it also matters. A professional installation job is essential. Ensure you meet these best practices:
1. Make sure your dispensary cameras work.
Regulators require you to enclose your cameras in the ceiling or in domes. Additionally, they must be linked to a monitor and on-site recording system. Your cameras must also work 24/7.
2. Place your cameras in the store correctly.
There are two parts to placing your cameras correctly.
First, the cameras must be able to clearly capture footage of all people entering and exiting the store as well as the store’s various areas. These areas include the point-of-sale (POS) area, the receiving area, the main store floor, and the cannabis storage room.
Second, you must ensure that the cameras’ field-of-view (FoV) is correctly configured to properly capture footage. In addition, you must ensure that the lighting is conducive to capturing high-quality footage with minimal obstructions. You will need to avoid backlight and factor in the direction of the sun so as to avoid sunlight glare.
3. Retain your camera footage.
Your provincial regulatory body requires you to record and retain your camera footage in a common media format for a minimum number of days. In Alberta, it’s 60 days, and in Ontario, 30 days.
You must also ensure that your system is fully-functional by testing it at regular intervals. For example, in Alberta, you must test your system every week and guarantee that each camera — and the recording system — works. You must also log results and make them available to the AGLC upon request.
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Integrate Video Analytics to Your Dispensary Security Cameras
With video analytics, you’ll have the ability to efficiently use your video surveillance system.
Yes, camera footage is valuable, but to find the issue you are looking for, you will have to sort through many hours of video. You don’t have that kind of time.
With video analytics, you can configure your surveillance system to detect motion, recognize faces and license plates, or spot other abnormal activity. When that activity occurs, your surveillance system will provide you an alert, giving you an opportunity to stop the problem.
For example, if there’s a spike in sales and refunds, you will know about it while it’s happening.
If you are reviewing footage, you can skip to relevant periods without going through hours of video. You can also get useful information, such as the license plate of an attacker’s car, among others.
By equipping your dispensary camera system with video analytics, you will take on a proactive security posture and have the ability to respond to issues sooner.
To get a camera security system that covers your cannabis store’s needs and deters threats, your first step should be to speak to an experienced professional security systems company.
Logixx Security brings over 47 years of proven experience in designing, installing and managing security systems for clients with dense regulatory needs and complex threat concerns.
We’ll help you get your dispensary running by designing and implementing a security system that meets licensing requirements and thwarts theft, breaking-and-entering, and robberies.