Your Dispensary and the Law: Toronto Medical Marijuana Facilities Fight Back
Recently, Toronto medical marijuana dispensaries have seen some recent legal activity that spawned a lot of questions. The legality of running a dispensary, firstly, but also of the steps that a dispensary must take to ensure that they are compliant with current marijuana for medical purposes regulations.
The Medical Marijuana Legal Grey Area
There’s currently new legislation due in August, bills need to be written and voted on before marijuana is legal throughout the country. However, the soonest legislation will be targeted to medical marijuana users — a factor that some of the Toronto dispensaries are subverting.
While we’re waiting for a new recreational use bill to come out next spring, it’s imperative that your shops are compliant with current laws by catering to medical marijuana users.
While we wait for the recreational use bill, those planning on investing in a dispensary also need to consider their security procedures and systems to ensure that they are running an operation that is protected from risk.
Marijuana policies have been confusing and rather lax as of late. The current licensed system enables users with a prescription to send away for their medical marijuana from one of 31 licensed producers.
Patients and customers alike, however, prefer the knowledgeable and interactive storefront experience. Being able to walk into a shop and get not only your prescription, but also weed-infused candy or baked goods makes it easy for anyone without a prescription to recreationally partake.
So, in late May, Toronto police initiated ‘Project Claudia,’ a raid on 43 dispensaries that resulted in 90 arrests and 200 charges — 71 of those criminal. The exact charges were possession for the purpose of trafficking,
With over 26,000 patients authorized to possess cannabis under Canada’s Marijuana Medical Access Program (MMAP), access has become a key trigger in the continued fight for retail medical marijuana facilities.
What Can You Do?
While there is considerable public support for the medical use of cannabis, and the tolerance level for recreational use in the City of Toronto has been, in the past, relatively low, the reality is that your dispensary needs to operate as above board as possible in order to remain as within the law as possible.
Storefront locations, or Compassion Clubs, have been in operation since the early 1990’s. Operating as not-for-profits, these locations are often seen as a community or sorts for those who have acquired the once fabled medical marijuana license.
Dispensaries, on the other hand, have popped up only recently, yet extensively throughout the country — and number over 100 in Toronto alone.
The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries created marijuana for medical purposes regulations and certifications that clearly lays out the responsibilities required of you when dispensing cannabis for medical purposes. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Ensuring that the patient is the person stated on the prescription
- Collecting patient registration information as health intake forms
- Providing education on the side effects and symptoms of particular strains
- Offering support to maximize benefits and reduce harms, while tracking side-effects
Specialized Security Measures Your Dispensary Could Implement
Your dispensary needs efficient security measures and operational procedures to keep you above board.
New security and surveillance technologies can aid in your acknowledgement of patients and prevent unauthorized access.
As a registered member of your dispensary, your patients should be recognizable upon every visit.
Biometric recognition through video surveillance equipment is an incredible way to recognize your visitors, and pull up their patient file as soon as they walk in the door.
Enhanced intrusion alerts clearly warn you when someone has accessed an unauthorized area. Whether that’s from a back door entrance, or if they’ve walked through to the storage area. Theft in medical marijuana dispensaries is a huge concern because of the value of the product on the street.
Also consider opportunistic thieves as you’re conducting their in-patient forms. It’s not uncommon for dispensaries to be victims of theft, In 2009 16.8% of Colorado dispensaries were robbed.
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24-hour monitoring is necessary to protect your high-value products. When you’ve locked up the doors and gone home, that’s when the security of your facility is at greatest risk. A properly designed security system will ensure that your assets are being monitored and that you’re notified immediately should an intrusion, fire, or flood put your product at risk.
The security needs of dispensaries is a relatively new field that needs to be trusted with a company that has extensive knowledge in physical security and how it can be adjusted to suit your specific needs.
On top of physical security, our team of specialists at Logixx can make sure that your team is doing everything as lawfully as possible to prevent your dispensary from becoming victim to physical or legal threat.
As the medical marijuana industry changes rapidly, so do the needs of your dispensary. Get in touch with the experts at Logixx to ensure that your future is secure.
Contact Logixx Security today to keep your business in compliance with the latest regulations.