dispensary security solutions


Key takeaways

  • Cannabis dispensary security solutions are essential in complying with state regulations and preventing theft.
  • Dispensaries must meet security requirements dealing with physical security, cybersecurity, transportation, and compliance.
  • There are many types of dispensary security features, such as live monitoring, alarms and sensors, reinforced glass, and video cameras.
  • The best commercial access control system for dispensaries is from ButterflyMX.


As cannabis legalization and demand continue to rise, so does the need for robust dispensary security solutions. After all, it’s critical for dispensaries to secure their inventories and transactions at every step of the supply chain.

With that said, we’ll detail why dispensaries require security solutions. In addition, you’ll discover the security requirements for dispensaries, the types of solutions available, and, most importantly, the best dispensary security system.

This guide covers:


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Importance of cannabis security

The cannabis industry is experiencing significant growth. In fact, we’ve learned that the U.S. industry is projected to reach a revenue of more than $42 billion in 2024. As a result, such growth attracts attention from a variety of stakeholders, such as customers, regulators, and investors. However, that growth may also attract more nefarious attention from criminals.

Furthermore, the federal-level ban on marijuana deters major banks from working with dispensaries. So, dispensaries are largely cash businesses, making them lucrative targets for thieves and burglars. Not to mention, given the demand and value of cannabis products, thieves can easily find buyers for stolen goods. If unable to find a buyer, thieves can resort to consuming the products instead.

With that in mind, we believe that cannabis security solutions are the most effective way of deterring and preventing theft and break-ins. These security systems protect businesses and help dispensaries comply with state and local regulations.


Security requirements for dispensaries

While dispensaries need to protect their assets and employees, they also must meet strict state and local regulations. Since marijuana and cannabis products are illegal at the federal level, it’s up to states and cities to enact security requirements for dispensaries when legalizing the substance.

So, we recommend you refer to your state and city laws regarding specific dispensary security requirements.

But in our research, we’ve found that you should expect to implement dispensary security solutions in the following areas:

  • Physical security. Protect the tangible aspects of your dispensary, from products and employees to equipment and the building. Your state’s physical security requirements will inform you of what solutions to implement, such as video monitoring, access control, and intrusion detection.
  • Digital security. Implement comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, such as firewalls, risk assessments, and incident response plans, to lower the risk of cyberattacks. The cannabis industry is still relatively new, and many dispensaries are too small to have a dedicated IT role. As a result, most dispensaries are not prepared to handle cybersecurity, making them prime targets for cyberattacks.
  • Transportation. Implement thorough security measures for the transportation and transfer of your cannabis products. Not only will state regulations require such measures, but your product is at risk of becoming a target while en route to your dispensary locations. So, it’s vital you transport your products via armored truck and include various tracking technologies for the most effective transportation.
  • Regulations. Maintain and adapt your security efforts as regulations change. Staying informed and compliant with these evolving laws benefits your business’s longevity and success.


Types of dispensary security solutions

Implementing dispensary security solutions is essential for protecting your business and adhering to government regulations. However, beyond mere compliance, considering additional security features can further mitigate risks and provide peace of mind.

Dispensary security features may include:


Live security monitoring

In many states, dispensaries are required to have 24-hour live security monitoring. These systems are comprised of cameras, motion sensors, and alarms that agents monitor. If a security threat is detected, the agent can act immediately. Alternatively, live monitoring systems may leverage artificial intelligence to better capture criminal activity that live agents may overlook.

Regardless, the cannabis monitoring system notifies you and local authorities. Agents may even try to thwart the perpetrators themselves by speaking through two-way speakers. In some cases, this activity is enough to scare away thieves.


Video security and surveillance

In addition to cannabis live security monitoring, surveillance systems help deter threats and capture criminal activity. When placed in strategic areas throughout the property and integrated with other security features, you’ll benefit from having complete visibility into your dispensary’s activity.

Video camera systems store data either on-site, in the cloud, or using a combination of both. Monitoring footage may be done in many different ways, but the most effective is a system that can be accessed from your smartphone. This way, you don’t always have to be on-site to manage your cannabis video security from multiple dispensaries.


Access control

Install an access control system to manage access to sensitive areas throughout your dispensary. Role-based access control systems are best suited for this role because they let you assign a role to employees, determining what areas of the dispensary they can access. As a result, security risks are minimized, protecting your investment.

For convenience, choose a cloud-based access control system. You’ll be able to integrate with other security features, as well as manage the system remotely. So, if you have multiple dispensaries to manage, you don’t have to travel to each to manage access permissions, review audit logs, or integrate your system.

What’s more, cloud-based access control systems enable employees to use their smartphones as credentials. Unlike traditional keys, fobs, or key cards, mobile credentials cannot be stolen or copied, increasing the security of your dispensary.


Learn how ButterflyMX’s access control platform works:


Security guards

The simple presence of a security guard acts as a deterrent to crime and theft, but they’re also adept at identifying and addressing suspicious activity. In the event of confrontations from aggressive employees or customers, security guards are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to de-escalate the situation. Therefore, guards not only enhance the security of your dispensary but also serve as the first line of defense against potential risks.


Secure storage

In general, storage solutions are designed to protect your dispensary from losing money, both from theft and damage. For example, securing products behind display cases or the counter reduces the amount of shoplifting your store experiences. Additionally, your products are better organized, preventing stock from expiring.

At the same time, dispensaries have to safeguard their cash using durable safes or vaults. Such storage options protect your dispensary’s bottom line and give you peace of mind. Above all, we’ve discovered that it increases the safety and security of your employees and customers.


Alarms and sensors

State and insurance requirements may require some type of alarm system and sensors. These security features are beneficial in detecting criminal activity and stopping further damage to your dispensary.

More importantly, alarms help employees stay safe during potential robberies. For example, panic buttons set off a silent alarm that notifies local law enforcement of criminal activity. That way, the authorities can act while the activity is taking place to reduce damage to your dispensary.

Meanwhile, sensors may be incorporated in the following ways:

  • Glass-break sensors
  • Infrared
  • Window and door motion sensors
  • Smoke detectors
  • Water or flood sensors
  • Pressure or contact sensors
  • Vibration sensors
  • Microwave
  • Ultrasonic sensors


Reinforced glass

Windows are often points of entry for criminals looking to steal from your dispensary. Glass can be easily damaged, making it one of the biggest risks.

Fortunately, there are many methods to reinforce your glass:

  • Safety and security window film. As a more affordable option, apply a film to strengthen your windows, rather than replacing them. Instead of breaking in one swift strike, your windows will hold up longer to heavy impacts.
  • Tempered glass. Created by heating glass to around 1,200°F and rapidly cooling it, tempered glass is much stronger and safer than standard glass. Rather than breaking into large shards, tempered glass breaks into tiny pieces.
  • Laminated glass. Layers of glass held together by polyvinyl butyral (PVB) resin make it nearly impossible for intruders to enter your dispensary. Rather than shattering like normal glass, the PVB resin holds the glass together, preventing entry and flying shrapnel.
  • Wired glass. As the name suggests, wired glass includes a wire mesh embedded between the panes. Similar to rebar, the wire mesh will stay in place despite the glass breaking around it.


Security training and audits

Although security hardware and equipment are necessary for protecting your dispensary, so are your and your employees’ training and awareness. In other words, you should undergo regular security training alongside your employees and have an annual audit from an experienced security company.

Generally, security training educates you and your employees on how to respond to criminal activities, such as shoplifting, robberies, and active shooters. Training programs cover details on how to act during these events, what the best practices are, and what to do after the incident is over.

On the other hand, security audits are routine inspections of your dispensary aimed at identifying areas where security enhancements are needed.

Security audits cover things like:

  • Potential threats and risks
  • Assessment of staff security training
  • Review of incident logs and reports
  • Building operations
  • Security hardware and software
  • Employee security practices and policies


Integrated POS system

Unfortunately, cannabis security must protect against potential internal threats too. More specifically, your employees may play a role in stealing from your business. Therefore, you’ll need a POS that integrates with your video cameras and surveillance systems. That way, you can pair data and video together to narrow down potential perpetrators.


Best dispensary access control system

The best dispensary security system is ButterflyMX.

ButterflyMX is a cloud-based access control company that’s been installed in more than 10,000 buildings and garnered over 20,000 five-star reviews. Our system enables you and your employees to use your smartphones as credentials.

Using the ButterflyMX mobile app, your employees can access their designated areas of the dispensary. Meanwhile, you can edit access permissions, review audit logs, and manage other dispensary locations from the app without being on-site.

The ButterflyMX access control platform includes:

  • Keypads
  • Card and fob readers
  • Vehicle readers
  • Elevator controls
  • Smart locks
  • Front desk stations


ButterflyMX access control keypad, reader, and credentials


Dispensary security FAQs


Why do dispensaries have so much security?

Dispensaries have so much security for two reasons: state and local regulations require it, and criminals commonly target dispensaries because of their highly valuable products.


Why do dispensaries have cameras?

Dispensaries have cameras because of state and local regulations. Additionally, in our experience, cameras are good at capturing perpetrators and deterring potential theft.


Do dispensaries have alarms?

Yes, most dispensaries have alarms to comply with regulations and to prevent further damage to the business.


Why do dispensaries scan your ID?

ID scanning is primarily done to prevent underage individuals from obtaining cannabis products, which is important for maintaining state laws.


Why do people rob dispensaries?

Robberies and burglaries target dispensaries because cannabis products are valuable. They have a significant value on the street, especially in states in which recreational consumption of cannabis is still illegal. Not to mention, if thieves can’t sell the products, they can simply use them.


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Bryson Hile

I love learning about new technologies, especially within the real estate market. I currently reside in Fishers, Indiana.

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