Opening a marijuana dispensary post-Bill C-45 is an exciting prospect. This is a multi-billion-dollar market with burgeoning opportunities.
It is crucial, however, to be aware of the risks involved.
When applying for a license, be aware of regulatory issues — particularly in Ontario, as the legislative rollout has been uneven across the province. Furthermore, your dispensary might be vulnerable to external and internal crime.
One area you must pay attention to is your store site itself. This is a factor across both threats and regulatory issues, as provincial legislation has strict security requirements across Canada.
Meet Zoning Requirements
For starters, be aware of your municipality’s zoning requirements.
While there is certainly overlap, by-laws vary between municipalities. You must ensure that your planned marijuana store abides by those zoning requirements before applying for a license.
For example, throughout Manitoba, zoning requirements stipulate that marijuana stores be buffered from schools, community centres, and other public recreational facilities by 300 metres, and from residential areas, by 15 metres.
British Columbia has similar zoning requirements, and furthermore, it states that prospective dispensary owners first notify surrounding property owners and residents and take their opinions into account.
The Lay of the Land: Study the Floor Plan
When considering a commercial property for your marijuana dispensary, consider the layout of the retail space from a security perspective:
- How many rooms does it have? Are you able to install an inventory room?
- Is the inventory room secure — reinforced with steel, guarded by a steel door?
- Is the storage space big enough for your inventory needs, or will your employees be tempted to store surplus inventory elsewhere?
- Do you have the means and space for proper waste disposal?
- Is your space big enough to accommodate your projected amount of customers, and keep within fire safety regulations?
Don’t neglect your potential vulnerabilities when studying the layout of a potential cannabis retail space: try to put yourself in the head of a thief by examining the store for weaknesses. The fewer entry points the better (while remaining consistent with fire and building safety codes, of course).
Similarly, take note of the number of openings, ducts, and pass-throughs in the building and surrounding area; culprits could funnel stolen inventory through these sites. Where possible, secure these sites with close-fitting metal sleeves.
Inside the storage room, consider storing the inventory in upper bay storage rack slots: this simple security tactic could deter culprits.
Point of sale areas should be positioned to give employees an unimpeded view of the rest of the store, so they can look out for in-store theft and external threats.
Canadian Security Requirements for Cannabis Dispensaries
Since marijuana is a controlled substance, you must abide by Health Canada’s Directive on Physical Security Requirements for Controlled Substances, or risk losing your license.
Protect your inventory, and ensure your time and energy applying for the license are well spent, by following the security measures stipulated by your province.
In all security systems, the key is setting barriers between the perpetrator and the controlled substance.
Ideally, your security system would deter both external and internal crime simultaneously. Having a security system that coordinates both access control with perimeter security, sales floor and internal visual monitoring (i.e. a 24/7 CCTV network) is worth the investment.
Follow Your Province’s Requirements — Down To The Last Detail
Security requirements vary from province to province.
Take Alberta’s AGLC as an example.
The AGLC requires that cannabis dispensaries secure all entry points in a very specific manner (i.e., 1.5mm hollow metal doors with 1.9mm metal frame and tamper-proof hinges; commercial-grade non-residential locks; customer entrance built of commercial grade material, just for a start.)
Keeping with the Alberta example, store owners must store cannabis in a locked room, accessible only to authorized staff. Visual monitoring is required too, requiring 24/7 camera monitoring with good lighting in point-of-sale, receiving, customer, & storage areas.
For CCTV monitoring to be effective, you must ensure it is installed correctly, keeps footage available for a certain number of days (30 in Alberta, 60 in Ontario), must be readable in a common video format, and be of high quality.
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Follow these requirements closely, both to ensure your dispensary is protected and to keep your license.
If you are opening a new dispensary and fail to meet these standards, your license will be denied.
Whether you are protecting your investment and staff from criminal threats, or ensuring your time spent applying for a license is not in vain, it pays to be protected.
The Logixx team will help you meet security-related requirements, from zoning to the securing the best store layout to installing the best physical security.
If you are a marijuana retailer, our experienced team will provide you with a powerful physical security system.
Logixx ensures peace of mind: we’ll help you meet all provincial requirements, secure your license, and keep your inventory safe against all criminal threats.
Ready to get started? Get in touch today.