Cannabusiness: A Fledgling and Vulnerable Industry

The Cannabis industry in Michigan is expected to reach $1.5 Billion! That is a lot of money and unfortunately many businesses have nowhere to put it. Most banks are FDIC insured which ensures normal customers are covered by the federal government up to $100,000. However, because of the legal status of cannabis in the United States most banks won’t accept money from these businesses, so many are forced to go to specialty banks with high fees or store the cash in some other manner. Because of this most transactions are made in cash.

The SAFE Banking Act which was introduced to The House Financial Services Committee would be a giant leap for these businesses constantly concerned about the security of their profits. It aims to remove the prohibition of cannabis as a form of money laundering which in turn allows income from those businesses to be deposited VIA a traditional bank and FDIC insured.

While cash is a big concern product and mature plants are also targeted by thieves. A mature plant could be worth upwards of $1000.00 each depending on cultivation methods and strain. Class A growers in Michigan are the smallest operations and are allowed up to 500 plants even at a lower value that is a huge loss, whereas processors and provisioning centers have various values based on individual products.

In the meantime, it is important for cannabusiness to properly secure their operating income. At a minimum a timed drop safe that is properly secured to the floor should be used for excess cash. All tills should be locked until a transaction is made. A camera system should be in place to view transaction as well as entrances and exits to the building. I recommend also including a hold-up/panic button at each point-of sale location and in the business office.

Greenhouses and other cultivation operations can be a huge target for internal theft and shrinkage. It is important to monitor the cultivation area thoroughly to mitigate the loss of buds, seed, and plants. Best practices for these environments is to required workers to wear uniforms without pockets and to provide a proper camera system. Any bags carried into the area should be checked before employees or visitors leave. Secure all exit doors from the outside by removing hardware and monitor them.

Several robberies occur after-hours when no one is in the building. Protection of property at night can be done using exterior cameras, a well-lit parking lot and building entrances, and sturdy locking hardware. If it’s a new build minimize the number of windows or install 3M safety film to delay an attacker from getting inside while simultaneously alarming once the threat is detected.

If your cannabusiness needs to meet state security compliance or you are looking for a review/audit of your existing system, please contact me and I would be glad to assist you.

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