Many dispensaries in the United States remain cash businesses due to regulations and operational realities. As you might imagine, high volumes of cash transactions coupled with a valuable product has led to increased levels of security threats. As a result, regulators and insurers have taken steps to require dispensaries to complete rigorous security plan documentation, installation, surveillance, and maintenance. If you’re considering opening a dispensary be sure that you consider working with one of the following top dispensary security providers.
Best Dispensary Security Firms in Arizona
In 2022, cannabis data company BDSA predicts that global sales of cannabis will surpass $35 billion. Equivalent to a 22% increase over 2021 sales, this statistic indicates that interest in the cannabis industry continues to gain strength at an impressive rate. Of the $28 billion of legal cannabis expected to be sold in the United States this year, most will change hands inside of licensed dispensaries.
Arizona joined the growing list of states where adult cannabis usage is legal when Proposition 207, the Safe and Smart Act, passed into law in November of 2020. In its first full year of enacted law, Proposition 207 gave way to cannabis consumption equal to $1.4 billion. Clearly, cannabis has found a product market fit in Arizona.
If you’re thinking about opening your own dispensary business in Arizona, security is invaluable. While there’s plenty of opportunities for growth and the development of a successful business, you must also take steps to protect your business interests. The following dispensary security providers can help you safeguard your dispensary business and the employees who make it run smoothly.
SecureOne has been offering security services in the United States for an impressive two decades. Encouragingly, 70% of new clients are referrals from existing client relationships. Though the company concedes that they are not the cheapest cannabis dispensary security services firm in Arizona, SecureOne is confident that their attention to detail and thoroughness is superior.
SecureOne has 3 locations in Arizona where prospective clients can find trained professionals and services that include armed officers, 24/7 patrol services and plenty of training and certification opportunities. SecureOne has experience securing dispensaries, cultivation sites and processing facilities. They offer a specific cannabis security approach that is both compliant with local regulations and customizable to meet client needs. The totality of their offerings make SecureOne a strong candidate for hire when it comes to dispensary security personnel in Arizona. However, from a holistic security perspective, SecureOne is lacking in security technology offerings and security master plan consultancy services.
Seed to Sale
Seed to Sale is a national cannabis security company with experience in creating security plans, consulting, and systems installation. The company’s services are offered in 30 states, including Arizona. Seed to Sale offers specialized security solutions for businesses of all sizes, including vertically integrated cannabis models and small dispensaries alike.
With a repeatable process and cannabis specific security technology, Seed to Sale diligently tailors their security approach to each customer. For dispensaries, Seed to Sale conducts a 7-step assessment and implementation process by examining an operation’s current security profile, implementing enhancements and conducting ongoing maintenance after installation. This can make Seed to Sale a strong choice if you’re opening a new dispensary business and you’re looking for a comprehensive review of your current security processes.
Umbrella Technology has offered security solutions including cybersecurity products, video surveillance management, and security consulting for over 15 years. With an emphasis on business intelligence, Umbrella carefully audits their clients’ existing security procedures and designs security systems backed by data. Once a proposal is accepted and the installation is complete, Umbrella trains their clients to ensure that operators and employees are familiar with any new technologies and procedures.
Offering cost-effective and scalable security solutions, Umbrella has served over 150 cannabis businesses. An active blog, a link to their podcast, “Security In-Focus” and impressive testimonials can be found on Umbrella’s website. Their offerings and commitment to ongoing training make Umbrella a candidate deserving of serious consideration for your cannabis business, especially if you’re looking for a company that takes an active approach to educating its customers about how they can better protect their products.
LionHeart Security Services
Based in Tempe, Arizona, LionHeart Security Services offers armed and unarmed guards for a variety of industries including commercial real estate, financial services, and cannabis dispensaries. Founded in 2010, LionHeart is 100% veteran-owned and proudly committed to meeting or exceeding their client’s security expectations. Lionheart’s website lists several training opportunities, including an 8-hour course on cannabis security. This means that if you already have a few experienced security personnel members on your team who you’d like to expand to your cannabis business, LionHeart may be able to provide them with the training needed to protect your product. LionHeart is even authorized to train armed security guards, which may be needed at certain cannabis businesses.
In addition to providing you with a human security presence and training for your security guards, LionHeart also offers a limited range of guard tour systems. The company’s guard tour systems can be useful if you have 24/7 security onsite and you need to monitor guards’ activity from away from the premises. Their guard tour systems also include a corresponding mobile app that you and your guards can use to communicate and ensure that rounds are completed when you’re offsite. Reviews of their tech systems are sparse, but if you have already crafted a security plan and implemented security technology, LionHeart may be a particularly strong choice for your business if you need in-person security guards.
With over 34 years of experience and more than 3,000 clients protected, XpressGuards specializes in security services, surveillance, bodyguards, and fire watch. XpressGuards claims the title of the #1 dispensary security guard company in the United States. It purports to defend this title with the help of employees that populate over 600 offices across all 50 states. With 24/7 security and a trained emergency dispensary security personnel, clients can trust that an experienced professional is just a phone call away. XpressGuards make certain that local laws and regulations are followed, and guards endeavor to train dispensary staff on risk de-escalation. Topping the list in terms of experience, XpressGuards earns a serious inquiry for those seeking dispensary security guard needs.
Why Do You Need Dispensary Security?
Opening a dispensary or other cannabis business can be expensive—why should you hire a professional security company? Arizona law only dictates that you need some form of security for your dispensary, but there are many benefits that come with hiring a professional security firm, including the following.
- Increased risk due to cash sales: Most dispensaries operate as cash-based businesses and do not accept credit cards or personal checks. While most dispensaries can only accept cash due to the controversial nature of their products, operating as a cash-based business drastically increases your risk of a break-in. Maintaining a comprehensive security infrastructure can deter criminals, which is most of the battle when it comes to protecting your inventory and cash.
- High value products: Cannabis dispensaries are similar to jewelry stores because their products are easy to transport, take up only a small amount of space and are high in value. This makes it particularly important to have great security.
- Peace-of-mind as a business owner: While running a cannabis-based business has the potential to help you capitalize on a new industry, it also comes with tons of financial risk. When your business has a strong security presence, you can rest with the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that in the event of a break-in, you’ll have plenty of video footage or eyewitness testimony of the event. These two factors are crucial in using the legal system to make your business whole after a loss.
What Should a Dispensary Security Company Do?
While some security companies claim to have holistic security services that meet all requirements and can be retrofitted to any business, the dispensary owner is ultimately responsible for partnering with the right firms to assemble a security plan that complies with local laws and prioritizes threat deterrence. Here are a few services that dispensary security companies should offer if they are worth their salt.
- Manage security, environmental design and surveillance: Access security management and manipulation of environmental design can deter criminals and reduce traffic in sensitive areas. Security firms should assist operators with eliminating simple 24/7 security keycard access and replacing it with time-sensitive access based on employee timesheet analysis.
If the facility has multiple entry ways, points of access should be secured with steel doors and frames. Security experts should recommend that customers enter through a singular entrance where the proper surveillance can be conducted. In addition, the security company should recommend a high-quality Video Surveillance System (VSS) with enhanced audio features throughout the facility. This system can help capture valuable forensic evidence in case of a security event. You should expect your dispensary security company to take a tour of your property to recommend specific steps you can take to take better care that no one who is unauthorized is able to enter the product area of your business.
- Service agreements and training: It’s crucially important that your security firm agrees to a service agreement when the partnership goes into effect. Small business owners can often have trouble covering hidden fees or surprise bills, as these unanticipated expenses can disrupt their business forecasts and profitability. Service agreements protect dispensary owners from lapses in security caused by unforeseen events including power outages, for example. Make sure that your security company signs your service agreement before they begin providing services, and keep a copy of your service agreement backed up in writing.
In addition, cannabis business operators should commit a significant portion of their employees’ time to training. Security services firms should offer training from seasoned professionals in procedural adherence, threat detection, and conflict de-escalation. If your security company does not provide personnel itself and instead offers training services for your security professionals, ask for an outline of their training course. Be sure that the curriculum outline includes managing conflict, arming and disarming your security system and any other subjects you think are important to your business.
- Understanding the law and regulations for local cannabis companies: The emerging cannabis industry in Arizona will adapt as the market matures over the coming decades, and the legal framework is certain to adjust as well. A premier security firm should be adept at understanding legal requirements and assisting their clients in the implementation of compliant security procedures. Your security partners should be aware that regulators have the right to revoke licensing if the state security criteria are not met completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is dispensary security expensive?
Dispensary security can be expensive because these security companies are on the forefront of a new industry. When operating a medicinal or recreational dispensary, security companies need to maintain licensing and stay up to date with local laws in order to keep your business operating within the bounds of your state’s regulations. While dispensary-specific security can be more expensive than standard business security services, it’s important to do your research and choose a company with a solid history of success in your local community.
Should a dispensary security company be licensed?
Your dispensary company should have comprehensive training and licensing from the state of Arizona. State law requires that your dispensary have security, and your security professionals should be trained to Arizona Police Officer Standards and Training qualifications (AZPOST). While there are few laws that dictate the type of training that your security team needs in the state of Arizona, be sure to review each company’s training procedures and third-party qualifications before you sign a service agreement.