The biggest news to come out of the Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Committee this year is the passage of "House Bill 1325". That day a Wednesday, Texas State Senator Charles Perry declared, "Wednesday is not hump day but hemp day."
TEXAS HOUSE BILL 1325 IS A GAME CHANGER.
The bill, now signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, "legalized the cultivation of hemp, processing of hemp, and manufacturing hemp derived products, including cannabidiol (CBD)." This law brings Texas in line with 40 other states and the federal government laws that deemed hemp legal for cultivation and production. Many in Texas are excited to learn how they can now reap the financial benefits from this valuable product.
The Texas Agriculture website states that Sid Miller, the Texas Agriculture Commissioner "is a strong supporter of industrial hemp production as a new market opportunity for Texas farmers to expand their operations and grow alternative crops."
WHAT EXACTLY IS HEMP?
While hemp is a plant in the cannabis plant family, hemp is not marijuana. Hemp does not contain THC that marijuana does, so it has no psychotropic effects. In fact, hemp has been cultivated for thousands of years by people around the world. Ancient civilizations used hemp to create fibers for cloth, fiber-pulp for paper making, oil for fuel, and they ground it into power to use for medicinal purposes.
CAN HEMP SAVE THE TEXAS FAMILY FARM?
Lisa Pittman, a Texas cannabis attorney stated to the Texas Tribune; "Previously dormant pilot programs are all now activating after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. I personally believe Texas will become a leader in [the hemp growing] arena because farmers have been looking to this bill as a lifeline to save their family farms."
HOW VALUABLE CAN HEMP BE TO TEXAS FARMERS?
Texas farmers need to know that their next most valuable crop may be hemp. Farmers in states where it is now legal to grow hemp have realized substantial profits from their crop. Jeff Lake, President of Elemental Processing, and part of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program is quoted in the Dallas News, "Where corn may yield $350 to $400 per acre on a good year, and soybeans $150 to $200, Elemental Processing pays $3,000 to $5,000 an acre for hemp plus a bonus on the yield."
WILL HEMP GROW WELL IN TEXAS?
Hemp is a very hardy, drought tolerant annual plant that produces high yields. The climate in Texas is ideal for growing hemp. Industrial hemp thrives in warm weather and can grow in a large variety of soils. While hemp can be grown in the same plot for years, rotation with other crops is best. It is also known that depleted soils benefit from hemp rotation.
HOW CAN I START A HEMP FARM IN TEXAS?
Even though House Bill 1325 was signed into law, the State of Texas must work with the USDA to iron out the details. Applications for hemp growing permits will be available in 2020. Check the Texas Department of Agriculture website for updates.
Before starting any new venture, and especially before starting a hemp farm, it is critical to hire a Risk Advisor. Risk Advisors can analyze your entire operation, identify any potential risks before they happen and create a complete hemp security program for your business. There still is a lot of confusion around all the "can and cannot do's" regarding Industrial Hemp Production and Call today to see how our "proactive security strategies can protect your time, money and reputation as your business grows."
The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) released the draft versions of updated regulations for medical and adult-use cannabis in the great Commonwealth. And assuming no significant changes between the draft and ratification (temporary measures have a habit of becoming permanent), it is worth reviewing the changes made to the regulations. Here we will review the security components including but not limited to 935 CMR 500.110 and 935 CMR 501.110.
Marijuana Social Consumption Establishments - 935 CMR 500.141
When Question 4 passed in 2018, social lounges were a hot topic since, although Amsterdam was well known for its cannabis cafes, no state had broadly encouraged licensing for social consumption areas. Although the CCC was encouraging of lounges, involved parties agreed to wait until 2019 to discuss lounges, i.e. take it slow. Now 2019 is here and we have seen some regulations and structure in California and Colorado. Nonetheless, lounge implementation on the East Coast could prove to be its own animal.
On paper, security for a lounge reads similarly to security for a dispensary (in practice, reality is not so kind). Businesses will have to take steps to hide consumers and products from public view and secure doors more carefully since purchasers are not required to leave the premises. Much like a bar, budtenders cannot overserve consumers or sell more than 20 mg of Δ9-THC to a single consumer. Designers have the challenge of not only compliance but providing reasonable expectations of comfort for consumers who want to vape versus those that do not want to smell or breath vape, all the while limiting the potential for consumers to violate rules which apply to them, e.g. disposing of unused marijuana products in a secure receptacle.
Delivery of Marijuana and Marijuana Products to Consumers – 935 CMR 500.145
Many entrepreneurs see delivery of anything, not just marijuana, as a premier business model due to lower real estate costs, labor costs, and greater ease of purchasing by consumers. However, just like cash transportation, putting an abundance of valuable assets in something that travels easily creates a lot of security risks not only for the businesses but especially for drivers and employees. Massachusetts and California business owners have asked similar questions to the states, each of which has responded differently. California emphatically has rejected certain geographical limits on delivery vehicles. Meanwhile, Massachusetts prevents delivery vehicles from operating in municipalities which banned marijuana.
Discretion is required so you won’t see vans with leaves drawn on them. Although requiring contact with the retail store every 30 minutes, the “ice cream van” business model a la Eaze appears to be permitted since Massachusetts is allowing $10,000 worth of marijuana products in a vehicle and requiring an individual to remain in the vehicle while there is product. But a thorough logbook and a GPS will ensure that businesses adhere to regulations and that drivers are safe.
Emphasis on Cash Management and Communication with Law Enforcement
Cash is still king in the marijuana industry. It also creates vulnerabilities for employees, customers, and businesses. Normally, the number of security regulations directed at cash is dwarfed by the number directed at cannabis. With that said, the CCC clearly emphasized that marijuana establishments should be practicing secure protocols for handling and storing cash and currencies. The new regulations specifically requiring standard operation procedures (SOPs) for cash handling and cash transportation by armored vehicles. Cameras must be directed at cash safes (which should be TL-rated, not simply fire resistant!). Also ensure you have backup power and alarm monitoring systems.
Other notable changes include reworded sections which emphasize that law enforcement needs to be kept in the loop. We recommend this on principle, but now you must make local law enforcement aware of flammable or combustible solvents as well as the floor plan of your location. Essentially, the CCC is emphasizing that security is best practiced by the experts. Although identifying service vendors may cost more in the short term, this practice greatly reduces risks and can save you much more in the long term.
Belichick the Regulations Regularly
This review is not all-inclusive, but rather we seek to create awareness that the Code of Massachusetts Regulations will be modified and it will effect changes in security plans. In a market that has seen great evolution over the last 3 years, businesses will be required to adapt. Don’t be a Pedro Martinez screwball. Be like Malcolm Butler – know what play is coming and intercept it early. We will update this article should the draft regulations discussed be rejected or modified.
Check out this recent article from Marshall & Sterling which discusses the capabilities/limitations of alarm monitoring systems and the tricky situation of false alarms. If you installed an omnipotent alarm system that solves all your problems, congratulations. But most of the time, good security includes intelligently designed systems, quality equipment, and disciplined implementation of SOP's and best practices.
The article also discusses the value of UL certification and backups. Is an alarm system worth it? Absolutely - but take a holistic view to what you're being notified for. Thanks to Scott Sweeney for providing a review of an important security component from an insurance agency's point of view.
Original Article: https://www.marshallsterling.com/specialty-risks/your-alarm-system-may-not-be-protecting-your-property