Guarding and verifying operations is key to thriving in this regulated industry.
Launching a cannabis business in Missouri requires extensive planning and research. Voter approval of cannabis for medicinal use has triggered the rise of a heavily regulated industry that favors well-designed operations. Essential preparation for producers, manufacturers, distributors, and others includes identifying proper warehouse space and developing a wireless communications infrastructure plan.
You’ll also want to choose the right hardware tools for managing inventory and security hardware to keep you firmly in control.
“Security is not something to take lightly when planning a cannabis operation,” says Mike Markham, Commenco’s Director of Technology Solutions. “We’re talking about a controlled substance first of all, and in Missouri, it’s also under the umbrella of healthcare.”
Markham’s work focuses on helping businesses select and implement the right communications hardware for their needs and says many of Commenco’s customers operate businesses in industries with strict regulations.
“We understand how important security is to regulators and we’re confident that Missouri cannabis regulators will prefer businesses that run a tight operation and take security very seriously.”
Taking security seriously means always being aware of every move in and around your warehouse. Markham says that includes making sure workers remain in the right spaces for the work they’re doing. Of course, it also means blocking unauthorized access from the outside.
“There’s going to be a lot of regulation around implementing and maintaining safeguards that prevent someone from walking in off the street.”
You’ll want to do better than traditional locks and keys that might work for businesses in other industries. A cannabis operation’s approach to door access needs to send a more modern security message to regulators. Markham says the range of options is growing.
“Biometric scanning, like fingerprint recognition or facial recognition, gives you a high degree of control over access to specific spaces. We’ve all seen the use of identification cards that you swipe for access. That works too. These types of advanced measures can control both who has access and when they have access.”
Security cameras can also play a role in controlling access in addition to the ongoing monitoring of interior and exterior spaces. Markham says analytics capabilities are emerging that make smart camera systems even smarter.
“There are cameras now that can look for specific visuals, like a type of clothing or a container, and bring those images to the attention of managers. That can help identify and track something unusual going on that might be a problem.”
Security cameras, whether mounted to a structure or worn by employees, also offer the benefit of verification. The ability to confirm identities and actions at certain times is valuable in the eyes of regulators and even insurers in some cases. Markham gives one example:
“Let’s say a truck transporting product from my warehouse arrives at its destination where the product is found to be damaged. I can use cameras to verify that everything happened the way it should at my loading dock and the damage occurred after the product left my control.”
Even if you use smart devices to automate certain responsibilities, a comprehensive security solution isn’t complete without two-way radio communications. Two-way radios allow warehouse workers to stay in close contact across a large area — a powerful benefit in day-to-day security operations and especially during emergencies. Commenco’s expertise is rooted in two-way radios, including decades of maintaining police and fire systems across Greater Kansas City.
“You might be tempted by cellular communications, but those systems can go offline sometimes for a variety of reasons. Two-way radios are immediate and reliable. That’s why police and firefighters stick to them. They just work and you can customize them to fit your operation’s specific needs.”
Making security an even higher priority is the lack of modern banking support for cannabis businesses nationwide. Congress appears to be working toward breaking down barriers that still prevent the electronic flow of money, but progress is slow and the legal cannabis industry remains mainly cash-based. You can imagine what that means for moving money in and out of a cannabis business. You’ll need security hardware and processes that verify, track and protect every dollar, every day.
“There will be a security component involved in every aspect of cannabis businesses,” says Markham. “Everything from control and protection to emergency response is worth including in your plans, and you’ll want to make sure that your wireless infrastructure supports it all. A total ‘smart’ solution from the outset is the only way to go for competitors who are serious about winning the confidence of regulators and succeeding in the business.”
Commenco is your trusted source of warehouse communication technology information as the cannabis industry evolves in Missouri.