Securing a Medical Marijuana Farm for Profit and Safety
Times are constantly changing. One of the signs of change is the legalization of medical marijuana across the country, as well as the proliferation of medical marijuana farms which meet the new legal demand. Whichever side of the marijuana debate one falls on, we can all agree that securing these legal marijuana farms is important. Securing medical marijuana farms is not only important because we need to preserve profits for the companies, but also to keep unauthorized or underage people from getting their hands on the plants, and to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
The Need to Secure
As state and local governments struggle to come to terms with how legalized marijuana fits into their areas and legalities, more and more states are regulating not just how the cannabis plant can be grown, harvested, and sold, but also how it must be protected to ensure that only those with full legal rights can access it. Every state has a different law, and the federal government, still behind the times, has not made any nationwide recommendations. This means that it is often up to the farm owner to determine how best to protect their interests while meeting all legal requirements for security.
Here are 5 tips for how to secure your medical marijuana farm
1. Know the law in your state.
Most states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana have also put into effect stringent and specific laws surrounding the growth, storage, transportation, and sale of those plant materials. It is imperative that you know and understand the laws and regulations in your state, and in the states surrounding you.
Know what type of security is mandated. Also, know the penalties if you violate these requirements, or what you might be held liable for if your security is not up to par and your plants are stolen. Knowledge is power. You are educating yourself now by reading this article, but read more on legality in your area and consider consulting with an attorney and a secure company that specifically understands the cannabis business.
Finally, keep in mind that security should not be a “minimum” endeavor. By that we mean, do not simply do the bare minimum that is required by law. It is wise, and both good business and good citizenry, to keep your farm well secured. Do it right so that no one has a reason to blame you if trouble comes knocking.
3. Plan for passive security.
There are many means of passive security that can be effective and inexpensive. There are many things that will be a deterrent to thieves or would-be vandals that you can install and forget about. For example, signs that say that this property or area is monitored can be helpful. Of course, fences are a no-brainer and should surround the entire property. An obvious security booth and security vehicle will suggest a human presence that can be a deterrent. Dogs roaming the property can also keep casual thieves and vandals at bay.
One note, while passive security requires little effort to be effective, it does require some maintenance. Obviously, dogs must be fed and humanely cared for, but even things like signs, security buildings, and stationary vehicles must be regularly cleaned and maintained so that they look new and active, and remain highly visible.
3. Install electronic security.
Electronic security can be either active or passive — and extremely effective. Passive electronic security can include extensive lighting of various areas around the property. Use a mix of timed lights that come on at dusk and go off at dawn, timed lights that go on at somewhat random intervals, and motion sensing lights that activate anytime movement is detected. Ensure that your motion lights are set to be very sensitive, so they go off even if a small animal runs by. This will help give a random, “people are around all the time” feel to the farm.
Electronic security can also include more complicated things such as biometric locks (door and gate locks that open only to the voice, fingerprint, or other identifier of certain individuals), cameras that are set up to a remote recorder, motion sensing cameras that move to follow motion, and so forth. Consider setting up a small security booth that can serve as a control room to hold and control recording equipment, electrical boxes, lighting controls, and more.
4. Consider a human presence
While today’s modern technology allows a lot of security to be done passively and remotely, there is no substitute for a human presence in many places. Depending on the size, location, and perceived threat to your medical marijuana farm, you can have a single security guard or an entire team.
At minimum, having a guard stationed in a guard booth to watch the video monitors, keep an eye on the lights, and respond to any suspicious activity can be valuable. It may also be worthwhile to have a guard in a vehicle that regularly circles the perimeter of the farm, or someone stationed near entrance driveways and roads.
5. Never underestimate the power of appearances.
Remember that appearances matter. If a thief has a choice between robbing a building that looks like it houses interesting things, but is dark and unprotected, versus robbing one that is well lit and has a manned security booth, they will choose the former. When faced with two buildings of equal importance, the one without a security sign and camera is more likely to be hit than the one with a sign and visible camera.
Visible security is a great deterrent. Keep this in mind as you create a sound, detailed plan to secure your specific property. Ensure that you have visible fences, security warnings, lighting, a security booth that appears to be manned, and perhaps even an audible alarm that can be easily tripped. Ensure your farm LOOKS well secured and you will be less likely to have vandals or thieves bother it.
When it comes to farm security management, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. Theft or vandalism can cost you money in lost products, time, and equipment. In an industry where you have to wait for new product to grow, theft can put a serious dent in your profits. In addition, marijuana is still a hot button issue today, with many people who oppose it, and many people who want to steal it to use or sell.
No matter the reason behind it, there are people who will want to get onto your farm and damage or steal your plants. It is up to you to ensure that this cannot happen. Understanding the situation, knowing what security options you have, and putting a detailed security plan in place are all paramount.
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