Cannabis Security – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


What does the Cannabis Industry Have in Common with Pawnbrokers and Jewelers?


They both inventory high valued assets for display at a location where the general public has unlimited daytime access…

Rolland’s team has endeavored to learn the threats within the cannabis industry and to offer sound risk mitigation advice, stemming from our organization’s 100+ year knowledge into criminal thoughts and consequences. The cannabis industry shares many of the basic threats of high valued asset merchants (pawn, jewelry, pharmaceuticals) and we have a good deal experience keeping these businesses safe.

Of course, Cannibusiness is an emerging industry that has lots of discovery ahead of it.  But at the end of the day, it is a business that moves a highly desirable product, that is ounce for ounce as valuable a commodity as jewelry or commercial narcotics.

Here are a few preventable mistakes we find cannabis vendors are making while vetting the decision process and considering their security risk.  Take a look at the cannabis burglary in this video.  Unfortunately, even the most amateur of criminals will pop into mason jars like his evening beer, especially when there is something so valuable inside.  Leaving all your product assets in mason jars, Tupperware, showcases, etc. overnight is a recipe for loss.



THERE ARE NO WRONG SAFES….JUST WRONG SAFE APPLICATIONS:    Believe it or not, Gun safes and filing cabinets belong in the same defensive category. They have similar construction and only claim to protect their contents from heat, not physical attack.  File cabinets are built for fire protection and to keep information confidential and gun safes are built to compliment the owner’s collection of weapons.  It is essentially a piece of furniture, not considered a commercial defense product against even the entry level criminal. Have you ever seen a jeweler lock his inventory up in a gun safe?

Take a minute and assess how much your inventory is worth.  $50k? $200k? $500k? $1M?  Even on the low end, your security strategy must equate to your risk.  Many less experienced security firms, perhaps new to the cannabis industry, suggest gun safes as an adequate defense to protect assets.  Gun Safes are able to keep unauthorized persons off the guns in a controlled environment, but generally speaking are not designed to ward off a tool attack even for a few minutes. More than 90% of all gun safe manufacturers (domestic and off shore product) describe their elevation of defensive construction by citing the layers of sheetrock used in the safe.  They do not mention the steel as the sheetrock is wrapped in light gauge metal, anywhere from 12 to 16 gauge metal, with a pretty paint job.  SHEETROCK?  Really?  This gives it a very basic fire resistance, but offers minimal resistance to tool attack and no resistance to the more sophisticated tools associated with burglaries perpetrated in the high asset world.  Gun safes are built for residential storage of personal weapon collections, no more, no less.


Insurance Insurance is based on actuary tables that factor certain security risk and then recommend products or processes that will statistically reduce the potential for loss. However, the cannabis industry is still spotty in many areas of applying this formula due to lack of experience in underwriting.  When underwriters begin to test the risk in the cannabis industry, they may view it very similarly to pawn and jewelry industries because of asset value on site. Putting your inventory in a UL classified burglary safe is a recommended step in mitigating risk and will make purchasing insurance easier as that industry catches up to the realities of the retail cannabis world.


Customer or criminal?  Armed robbery presents a different set of risk for the high valued asset retailer. When a person enters your store, you assume intent to purchase, but how do you know?  Having an armed guard on staff may help deter this type of crime, but as the pawn and jewelry industries have found, it is not a sustainable model.  The cost and risk ultimately are too high to maintain this level of active defense.  Additionally, if you are using armed personnel, what do you depend on after hours?  Developed specifically for this type of open hour risk, Rolland’s PMS 32 introduced 13 years ago, separates and compartmentalizes the inventory in individual time delayed and code monitored drawers.  Why is this so effective?  An armed assailant will have to wait for each drawer to go through it’s time delay cycle in order to successfully rob the store of cash or merchandise.  In the pawn industry, this feature has saved 10’s of millions in losses of assets in armed confrontations. Most of the larger pawn chains proudly display the PMS 32 so that a potential criminal casing the store can be advised that the target is not soft, and too hard to even attempt.  Additionally we have found that when a professional criminal has compromised the wall of the safe in a prolonged attack, they were rarely able to extract anything thru the walls of internal compartments.

Want more information on how to keep your inventory protected with security solutions that match your needs? Tony is considered one of the leading authorities in cannabis,  financial loan service retail loss prevention and security. Contact Tony at or call 1-800-225-2984. Follow him on Twitter at @SapphireProtect.

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