The state of cannabis prices varies widely depending on where your business is. While the Midwest and East Coast have developing or restricted markets which permit companies to have sufficient margins, West Coast states such as Oregon or Washington are experiencing unheard of prices in wholesale cannabis prices of around $500 per pound. The passage of the Farm Bill will further supply these markets with CBD products. Similar problems may realize in Canada, even for companies who have made significant vertical investments.
Megan Stone recently wrote an article describing business tactics that will help dispensaries stay afloat as the competition becomes fiercer. This inspired us to take a look at security issues for companies who start to see declining margins. There are 6 questions to ask yourself so you stay secure and in compliance, but within budget regardless of what your sunk costs are:
1.Are you overpaying to replace your security equipment?
You invested heavily in excellent cameras and access control devices when you were building your facility. But if you have to replace an out-of-warranty camera, do you need to reinvest? Often, your network video recorder (NVR) or your video management system (VMS) can adapt to cameras of other brands. Use your top-tier cameras in key locations, but locate compliant HD cameras in areas of lower activity.
2.What is your hourly return on investment of your security officers?
Security officers are still an important component for cannabis cultivators and retailers. Security officers provide peace of mind to customers, employees, and owners, and can react quickly to onsite events before law enforcement arrives. However, at night a certain level of trust should be placed in your video surveillance and alarm systems. For a fraction of the cost of an overnight security guard, measures can be taken to improve the reliability and benefits of these advanced systems such as backup power, signage, and analytics. Also review if your security officers are performing redundant operations or operations that can easily be performed by a standard employee with proper cannabis security training.
3.Do you appear secure from the outside perimeter?
More people have home security signage than have home security subscriptions. Why? Because appearances are everything. A dilapidated fence is a vulnerability. An upright fence is a sign of fortitude. Are your outside cameras visibly powered on? Does your signage indicate that your safes have time delays? On the same note, don’t advertise all your security deficiencies to your employees. Loose lips sink ships.
4.Are you tempted to divert excess cannabis? (Tip: DON’T)
Historically, mass production of goods incentivized companies to create demand in new markets. Exports, government projects, clearance stores – great for other domestic production industries. Not so much for cannabis. Letting cannabis leave your state is considered a violation of federal law, and penalties can be much more severe than losing your license. The chances of a Strategic Cannabis Reserve are currently slim. Transactions of cannabis greater than the legal amount to individuals will be flagged by any seed-to-sale system. And diversion may help you in the short run, but it will ruin the fun for the rest of the industry.
5.Are you being realistic about your risks?
65% of product theft is by employees. Your security plan should prepare you for armed robberies or shoplifters or cannabis transportation liabilities. With that in mind, if margins are tight then agroterrorism-focused prevention is not likely the best investment of your resources. A policy requiring four machine-gun wielding security officers patrolling a small grow house should be reevaluated, not only for costs but for efficiency of preventing losses. And check your insurance policy for unusual events that are covered.
6.What could your location sell for?
Security can be a great real estate investment. Grows and dispensaries are constantly being sold, and if the purchaser does not need to renovate the security systems, you could get a few more dollars for it. If you have decided to cash out, then estimate the depreciation of your equipment and argue that your thorough security plan creates a better investment of money and time for the purchaser. One less headache for the new administration.
Overproduction and excess cannabis will affect everyone’s sales, be it lower prices at wholesale or retail or vertically. Are your robbery, burglary, and loss prevention tactics sensible and cost-effective? It can be tough to spend money when revenue goes down. But if and when it does, ask these questions to secure your facility, avoid financial collapse, and overcome any oversupply bubble.
Some security programs for your home or business might be easier than you think. Locks, alarms, lighting, and video systems are always a good start to protect your location from intruders, but there are always more security measures one can take. Outside windows are always a vulnerability because these windows are easily accessible by thieves. Fortunately, Mother Nature has an easy fix for this that can not only better protect your home or business but also decorate it as well.
What we are suggesting is adding “defensive plants” around your house or business at possible points of entry such as outside windows or fence lines. Defensive plants like spiny shrubs or bushes have been used for centuries as natural defensive barriers. These types of plants can create a boundary that thieves will avoid in favor of an easier targets.
This security strategy not only better protects your premises, but also offers a natural and decorative way to display your home or building. Remember: most thieves are lazy, they look for easy ways of getting into a home or business. By taking a few simple precautions you can reduce the risk of being burglarized and make your location more secure.
Listed below are our top 5 picks of defensive plants and helpful tips on some ways you can proactively create natural security barriers outside or around your location. All of these plants are installation friendly and might even increase the value of your property as they protect your assets.
Bamboo Fencing Protection
Bamboo rolls are also very strong and sturdy, which makes it difficult to tamper or destroy. You can install it if you are a DIY enthusiast, but it’s definitely not an easy thing to break through with your bare hands or low-quality tools. Bamboo is very hard to penetrate and makes lots of noise, so it will alert you naturally if someone is trying to go through it, or is tampering with it.
Bamboo is great to build a fence around, and it looks very pretty. It can stand alone or be used to disguise a chain link fence. A similar option is reed fencing. Often, these fencing materials can be purchased from Lowes or Home Depot.
The Blackthorn plant is a great option to put it in front of a window to limit access to your location. It looks like a fruit plant, but it has spines that can really hurt someone, so you might consider this as an option to cover a vulnerable window. And its wood is so tough, the Irish used to make Shillelaghs with Blackthorn wood.
The American Holly is a great option to secure your location. Just as with the Blackthorn, it would be best used right outside your building in front of a window or a vulnerable area. This is a plant that takes as long as 100 years to grow, but once it becomes a bush it’s a great way to keep people away. If you get too close to it, it can cause a lot of pain and damage.
As seen in this picture, you could add Firethorn around your walls or even in front of a window. This plant has some thorns, which you wouldn’t want to mess with. This is why it’s such a good option to keep people away, not only it can make burglars uncomfortable but it is very difficult to penetrate. Another good thing is that it grows pretty quickly.
Lastly, Shrub Roses are great to keep people away with their thorny stem. This will limit possible intruders from attempting to burglarize your location. This beautiful rose comes in many colors. This is perfect to scatter around your location in vulnerable spots, or to simply just decorate your outside. Shrub roses are easy to grow – no landscaping expertise necessary.
Business and home owners are always looking for cost-effective ways to enhance their security. We hope these simple tips to protect your location with defensive plants can provide some safety and peace of mind as well as gardening brilliance!
Be safe and be profitable.
We all know the holiday season is very busy with a lot more people out shopping than usual. So how are you going to maintain your security and safety programs during this busy time?
Since the cannabis holiday season operates differently from the rest of the year, you need to understand exactly how your current programs handle security and safety. After you understand your current programs, you need to plan what would be an efficient way to manage these programs when there are a lot more people in your store. You cannot indifferently rely on the same security and safety procedures you have all year, but instead, need a more dynamic program when it comes to these busy days. Your security and safety programs give your employees concise instructions, which are not only clear but easy to follow.
For the Customers/Patients:
During the holiday season, most people are more stressed and distracted. That’s why it’s even more important for you to be comfortable and trust your normal security policies and procedures before the season even starts. This trust will make it much easier to implement additional security and safety procedures during the holiday’s season. You will need to make sure in advance that every security measure is working properly i.e.: video systems, door locks, alarms system, safe, etc.
If there is something that isn't working properly, you should fix it now – not during the holiday season. Don’t block any cameras or alarms with holiday displays. Anything you put up at the store should be stationary and not interfere with your security infrastructure. Always ensure that vulnerable areas are properly locked or taken care of at all times, i.e. high dollar showcases.
For Potential Robbers:
Unfortunately, during the holiday season, external theft such as armed robberies, burglaries, and shoplifters also increase. Just as it is throughout the rest of the year, proper training of your theft awareness programs for all employees is extremely important. Every employee should be aware of how to react during these incidents.
What is an example of a good robbery prevention program?
Employees should be instructed to try not to panic in an event of a robbery and always cooperate with the robber(s). The employee should be instructed to give the robber what they want and be calm to them. Never be aggressive or defensive, because that puts not only you but also everyone inside the store in more danger.
For Your Staff:
Another important policy to discuss with your staff is store opening and closing procedures. A 20-minute meeting before Thanksgiving may be sufficient to review your Holiday security and safety programs. Having a daily security/safety checklist with reminders for your employees is important to the security and safety of your location.
You should never open or close your store alone and there should always be at least two employees in the store at all times. When opening and closing the store, an employee should always be looking for any unusual activities in the parking lot. This will ensure a more safe and secure environment and also deter robbers.
One of the most important aspects of security is trust in your team. Security and safety at your dispensary should never rely only on one person. Remember, it is a team effort, where every single member of a company knows security and safety policies and procedure and its limitations.
Remember that we work to live, not live to work, so take time to enjoy and appreciate the Holiday Season.
In conclusion, being proactive vs. reactive with your security and safety programs can make all the difference in your holiday season.
Best wishes for a very safe and prosperous Holiday Season!
Jose Alarcon is the Operations Manager at Sapphire Risk Advisory Group. Jose has a degree in Business Administration from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. He comes from three generations of worldwide physical security designers.
With any ongoing business enterprise, there are always going to be challenges in developing and retaining talent that manage and service the customers of the business. Some would argue that the single most important component of a successful business operation is that the entire team is pulling in the same direction and, above all, protecting the brand that provides their income. The hardest thing I encountered as a loss prevention director was realizing that our guard had to be constantly maintained, during customer transactions and particularly during audits.
In the case of Pawn and Loan, there are some particular employee concerns that should be pointed out. The important thing to remember is that a pawn store employee’s normal routine involves acting as a retail sales clerk, conducting value appraisals on a wide assortment of items and being a character judge and effective loan officer. While this multitasking can be applauded for these folks, it also offers its share of risk to the organization.
In my years of managing audit protocols in pawn shops, including over 1,000 shops spread out globally for a national brand, we found some very specific and equally difficult crimes to detect against our brand. I identified the most frequent and least detectable shrink issues that we were challenged with below
One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is “a problem cannot be solved on the same level of consciousness that created it.” This keen observation allows us to consider different perspectives in the loss prevention industry, especially when confronted with a client’s confusion over unexplained reduction of revenue, profits, or inventory. Often times, the client is totally frustrated by repeated attempts to solve the issue, only to find that the perpetrators have circumvented their prescribed solution. In other words, to be effective, we need to understand the level of consciousness in which the problem was created in order to design sustainable solutions. A deeper and more systemic challenge is usually where we begin to turn the trend of these issues.
A good example of this is when we are brought in to solve an “shrink” problem or identify activities that support internal loss, whether from single employees or employees in collaboration with outside customers or vendors. It is usually the first option to install procedures that are designed to apply control right where the leak(s) may be occurring. The disappointment is felt when the stakeholders realize they have not elevated their consciousness to adequately support the process changes and truly install the fix, rather they have just treated the symptoms of the problem. Soon the losses start adding up again
If you ask most people what the opposite of love is, they may tell you it is hate. As security professionals, it is encumbered upon us to understand the subtle difference that suggests the opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is indifference. Hate requires a similar level of passion as love; indifference is devoid of passion.
When planning a commercial security strategy, reminding ourselves that the target is indifferent towards our client is essential to preparing an effective security plan. The civilian perpetrator is only passionate towards compromising the security plan and gaining benefit for themselves, not winning an ideological war.
When it comes to defending an ideology or military opponent, it requires a very different philosophy simply because you are not dealing with indifference, rather an expressed hatred and passion for opposing flag or country. The opponent approaches the target with a passion to capture or destroy, for political reasons instead of reaping the rewards for their own gain.
In the commercial world, the criminal intent also never changes, regardless of the asset or industry we are protecting. It is most always a self-serving and borderline narcissistic soul(s), where in military or political scenarios the acts are normally selfless and sacrificial towards a greater goal. There is a reason the security defense industry is divided into separate worlds. Some specialize in criminal intent that is void of passion, some focuses on opponents that are entirely fueled by passion.
Criminal intent is at the forefront of any crime. When developing a strategy to secure assets in a state of rest or in transit, it is an important to have a healthy regard for what motivation the perpetrator may have. A balanced approach to planning how to make the criminal’ act harder to commit is essential in any effective commercial security plan.
Be safe and profitable
Imagine a retailer in your town...This retailer has a structural hierarchy just like yours. There are managers who oversee operations and train new employees. There are employees who obtain the product. There are employees who price, merchandise, and sell the product. There are even employees marketing the business in the community. Imagine this retailer was selling the same product as you. They are rapidly growing, attracting new customers and employees every day, have multiple locations, and most of their competition is completely unaware they even exist.
Now imagine this retailer is selling your product for fifty percent less than what you do, has an astronomical profit margin, and is generating more money than your business. Sounds pretty hard to compete with, right? Well, you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief that this is an imaginary scenario. But, it’s not. There’s probably a retailer just like this in your town that you didn’t even know existed. What’s worse is that product they are selling for so much less than you might have come directly from your store.
Who Are They?
DO YOU HAVE A WRITTEN POLICY TO ADDRESS ANY OF THESE SCENARIOS?
As a business owner, it’s very important to have written policies and procedures to grow and protect your business.
If you take a look at any successful business, you will see they all have a “road map for success”. This road map was developed over time by identifying and correcting business mistakes.