What happens when you have a product that is in demand and a store that has to run on a cash-only basis?
The perfect situation, security experts say, for criminal activity.
At least, that’s what they were saying at the recent New England Cannabis Convention, an event that took on a new energy this year with the approval of adult-use marijuana possession and sales in last November’s election in both Massachusetts and Maine.
Marijuana Security Services: Big Business
Seeing the potential for demand, several security companies attended the event. Those included Omnium Protection Group, a Massachusetts-based company that offers security services in a wide variety of areas.
“Security is hot topic that many in the industry admit they need to consider,” the company said on its Facebook page with photos from the event. Omnium wasn’t alone, with American Alarm and Communications, another Massachusetts security firm, attending the show.
The companies advertising tries to take in account by security issues and laws regarding cannabis businesses.
“The security and life safety standards for marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries are not only strict, they are constantly evolving,” the American Alarm brochure at the event said, according to MassLive. “You need a security expert to keep your business in compliance with the law, and technology that won’t harm your crops.”
A Different Set of Challenges
While the need for security likely would materialize even if marijuana businesses were not cash-only businesses, that fact has made protection services an even bigger issue.
And the situation can be traced to the fact that most banks won’t provide services to the marijuana industry. While medical marijuana is legal in more than half the states and recreational marijuana is legal in eight, it remains a Schedule I illegal drug under federal law.
That means banks can’t take the chance of serving marijuana businesses because they face a raft of penalties and even prosecution for working with illegal businesses.
The federal law seems unlikely to change under President Donald Trump’s administration. However, a Congressional Cannabis Caucus has formed in an attempt to address those concerns, among others.
At the moment, however, most cannabis businesses have a lot of cash flowing through their operation.
At least one security company is specializing in serving the marijuana industry. MPS International, headquartered in California, offers a variety of security services developed especially for the legal cannabis industry.
“MPS International was created specifically to provide professional security solutions to the legal cannabis industry,” according to the company’s website.
Those services include uniformed guards for marijuana dispensaries and grow houses, armored transportation for inventory and cash, and security camera systems that can be placed in grow warehouses and dispensaries.
They certainly are not alone. Marijuana Business Daily has a page on its site that lists dozens of security firms, both national firms and those that operate in individual states.
At the convention in New England, security experts said this type of business can only grow as the legal cannabis industry spreads across the country. Security issues likely will remain high, especially if the federal law remains unchanged.
But as the presence of security firms at the convention – and the long list of available firms across the nation – indicates, the competition will be fierce.