10 Must Haves in a Dispensary Security Plan


Dispensary security plans are crucial for cannabis business licensing applications, in regulated states. Regulations will normally specify a lot of what should be in the security plan. Always make sure to include and comply with the regulations.  To help out with steering your dispensary in the right direction, here are 10 things which should always be included in a dispensary security plan and a few details to be considered in each topic.  This is not necessarily an exhaustive list, hopefully it will be of some valuable guidance.


Visitor Policy

Describe your dispensary visitor policy. This usually a mechanism for reporting name, date, time and reason of the visit. Also include how visitors will be identified in the facility, which is usually using a visitor badge which must be displayed while on premise and must be returned upon leaving.  Define what type of visitors are allowed on premise (regulators, contractors, scheduled meetings, etc.).


Access Control System

Access control usually includes frequency operated buttons and/or cards which are assigned to specific individuals so that the access can be reported electronically.  The access control system should also allow for access-controlled rooms to allow only certain people to access the room, such as managers, and security guards.


Surveillance System



Here, describe your camera placement (good idea to have a drawing of camera placement on your floor plan), the features of your camera system (how far can the cameras see, can they recognize faces, do they work in low light, what's the resolution of the camera, where is footage stored, how long can footage be stored, can pictures of freeze shots be provided for regulators and law enforcement?).  Some states and jurisdictions specify camera requirements, so make sure your dispensary complies with those requirements.



Also describe your internal and external lighting. Describe how the lighting will ensure that all corners and typically low light areas will be well lit, and how will lighting be placed to ensure that the cameras are assisted in getting clear images, both inside and outside the facility.  Make sure your parking lot is well lit as well, and that no trees are obscuring the camera sight lines.


Alarm System

An alarm system includes a general facility alarm which detects intrusion via glass break and other methods.  What are the features of the system?  Describe under which circumstances it will sound and who will be notified automatically (management, security company, and/or law enforcement?)


The alarm system also includes panic buttons/alarms.  Describe where panic alarms will be placed throughout the facility, and how many agents will have panic alarms on their person during a shift.


Floor Plan

The floor plan shows how your physical facility will contribute to keeping the dispensary secured. Is there a man trap when customers first enter? Is there a barrier between the lobby and the sales area? Is there a secured exit which would prevent intruders from entering through the exit?


Vault and Safe Info

Cash storage is crucial for security plans.  Intruders would definitely target cash storage areas because they know dispensaries store a lot of cash on site.  Describe the cash safe/vault's size, level of security, camera surveillance, alarm system (panic button inside or nearby?),who has access to it, what kind of reporting capabilities the lock has (ex:electronic locks often have access control records based on individually assigned codes) and how cash will be handled (does it get transported by an armored car service on a regular basis?)


Product vaults are another important security measure to prevent theft and loss. Specify the product vault size, who will have access to it, and how it will be managed during the day (closed all day? security gate?).  Explain the security features of the vault door and how  the room is fortified (bricks, thicker cement?).  


Inventory Control

Here focus on what your internal policies are for identifying loss, theft and diversion.  

Answer the question "How will you know if product is missing?"


This usually means frequent physical counts of inventory and reconciling physical counts with your inventory control system report.  What else does this mean?  Check state and jurisdiction regulations for specifications on the frequency of counts. Only some areas specify this, so if not, define whether your dispensary inventory counts will be weekly or daily, and how they will be conducted.  Having accurate inventory reconciliations which are effective at detecting theft or loss means training employees to accurately use the inventory control system for sales transactions and for product intake.



Cannabis Specific: Just about every regulated market specifies signage that must be conspicuously posted in the dispensary.  Write about that signage, what it will say(read the regs for this), how large the signs and font will be (also usually specified in regulations), and where they will be posted.  This specific signage usually has to do with warning consumers about the effects of marijuana, health warnings, and state laws concerning possession.


General Signage: Signage is usually required in businesses generally.  Remember to include signage notifying customers and employees that the area is under surveillance and prohibiting weapons on premise.  Also make sure to post signs usually including but not limited to and OSHA sign in the break room, and a Workers rights posting.


Emergency Response Protocol

Dispensaries are considered high risk environments. Describe how your company will handle emergencies. Include the personnel that will be responsible for handling emergencies, what reporting will be submitted to executives, regulators and law enforcement.  Address emergency scenarios such as : intruders, fires, and bomb threats.


We are a strategy and business development firm. We are nota security company or legal advisors. make sure to have a security company and legal advisor to double check your dispensary security plan and provide guidance on regulations, if possible.


Connect with us at J. Whitney & Co to speak more about how our team can help with all of your licensing application plans.