Update on 10-9-19: The Texas DPS announced: "The Department's Compassionate Use Program is not accepting applications at this time." We will monitor the situation.
Applications were released today for Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organizations. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will begin accepting applications on December 10, 2019, and all applications must be submitted by January 2, 2020, at noon.
You’ve been planning your cannabis application for months. Now it’s time to start writing!
The application is broken into 10 scored sections for a total of 250 points.
The most emphasis has been placed on the Security and Record Keeping section and the Business Plan, Financials, Operating Plan, and Floor Plan section. Both sections are worth 65 points each.
Other scored sections are:
According to the state, scoring and awards will be likely be announced on or before May 1, 2020.
The thoroughness and quality of these sections could allow you to open your business – or prevent you from opening at all if you’re unprepared.
Not sure what to do or unsure on where to start? Hire an expert consultant with experience in the cannabis industry!
Sapphire Risk Advisory Group has written over 200 city/state applications for dispensaries and cultivation facilities in 24 states, including Illinois in the last round. Our professionally written security sections have received an average score of 96%. Additionally, we have managed the build outs of over 50 successful cannabis businesses and trained several staffs on security awareness and protocols.
Let our success be your success! How can we help you open your business?
For the Illinois application, we are prepared to write the entirety of Exhibit H: Security. This section outlines safety and security procedures for cannabis, the facility, and its employees. This section has a page limit of 50 pages, and historically, the highest scoring applications are near or at this mark.
Our experience and expertise is also applicable for some security adjacent sections and services. For the Illinois application we are equipped to assist with Exhibit G: Recalls, Quarantine, and Destruction Plan, Exhibit I: Inventory Monitoring and Recordkeeping Plan, and Exhibit J: Proposed Floor Plan.
It’s a lot of work, so don’t do it alone! Connect with us today for a free consultation and let us help you succeed in the cannabis industry.
Sapphire Risk Advisory Group is pleased to announce that it has been honored as the Dallas Award Program’s 2019 Consultant of the Year. We were commended for our exceptional marketing success and our contribution to our community and to the U.S. economy.
Over the past five years, Sapphire Risk has written the security section in over 200 state/city cannabis applications in 24 states. We continue to have one of the highest average security scores with a nationwide average of 96%. Our physical security floor plan designs are used by owners and architects across the United States and we have managed the physical security build-out of over 50 cannabis facilities.
Let our success be your success! We have an experienced staff ready to help you get your cannabis license, build your facility, and sustain your growing business. Connect with us today to see how we can solve your security concerns.
View the original press release here: Sapphire Risk Advisory Group Receives 2019 Dallas Award.
Sapphire Risk Advisory Group is pleased to announce that Katharine Baxter has joined our team in the position of Lead Technical Writer. Katharine, a recent alumna from the University of North Texas, graduated Cum Laude with bachelor’s degrees in both Journalism and Political Science. In addition to being a published writer, she also brings experience in marketing and social media to the company.
Katharine will be working with the team, writing the security sections of city and state cannabis applications as well as Standards of Operations Procedures, Emergency Procedures and other business training modules. Katharine is a welcome addition to the team as Sapphire Risk continues to help business owners develop their security strategy.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is warning the general public that it is illegal to operate a drone with a dangerous weapon attached.
Perhaps you’ve seen online photos and videos of drones with attached guns, bombs, fireworks, flamethrowers, and other dangerous items. Do not consider attaching any items such as these to a drone because operating a drone with such an item may result in significant harm to a person and to your bank account.
Operating a drone that has a dangerous weapon attached to it is a violation of Section 363 of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act enacted Oct. 5, 2018. Operators are subject to civil penalties up to $25,000 for each violation, unless the operator has received specific authorization from the Administrator of the FAA to conduct the operation. “Dangerous Weapon” means any item that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury.
Operators should keep in mind that federal regulations and statutes that generally govern drone operations still apply. Some state and federal criminal laws regarding weapons and hazardous materials may also apply to drone operators or manufacturers involved in certain operations.
WHAT EXACTLY IS HEMP?
While hemp is a plant in the cannabis plant family, hemp is not marijuana. Hemp does not contain the 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.
HAS HEMP EVER BEEN GROWN IN THE UNITED STATES?
Hemp was brought to colonial America by the Puritans. They planted the hemp seeds in New England, so they could use their hemp harvest to make linen for sails and caulking for ships. Hemp was a mainstay in the maritime industry because of its natural resistance to decay. As the colonies grew so did hemp cultivation. Eventually, hemp was a valuable crop being grown in Maryland and Virginia as well.
EVEN THE FOUNDING FATHERS GREW HEMP.
Hemp was such an important crop for the colonial economy that farmers were compelled to grown hemp to show their patriotism to the fledgling country. George Washington grew hemp on his farm and Thomas Jefferson cross-bred hemp seeds to create new varieties. He also invented a unique tool that kept the hemp stems from being crushed while being processed. While the founding fathers were hammering out the details of the Declaration of Independence, they wrote their ideas down on hemp paper.
WHY WAS GROWING HEMP OUTLAWED?
Hemp cultivation got caught up in the "Reefer Madness" hysteria of the early 1900s. This was an idea widely circulated to the public that young people would become "insane" by smoking marijuana. An all-out assault on marijuana reached a crescendo and citizens pressured the politicians of the day to do something.
POWER AND GREED GOT INVOLVED.
Knowing the societal pressure over marijuana, greedy industrialist William Randolph Hearst and the DuPont Company also pressured them to include hemp in any ban on cannabis. As has been noted hemp was used to make paper and oils for plastics. Hearst had a huge financial stake in timber cultivation and paper mills and DuPont had just created cellophane and other plastic products from petroleum. Together they had a million reasons to want hemp cultivation and the products that could be made from it outlawed in the United States.
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