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  • John Bazyk

Marijuana Dispensary White Paper

Introduction and Background


It’s nearly impossible to predict where or when an individual with nefarious intents will commit a crime. Marijuana dispensaries have the dual responsibility of keeping their patients safe and their products secure. Add to that the fact that 75% of employees admit to stealing from their employer at least once, and it becomes clear that dispensary owners need to be diligent about security at all times.

Command Corporation began addressing the needs of marijuana dispensaries over four years ago. With over 30-years of experience in the high security industry, Command Corporation not only knows what is required by the state and what is expected by official security inspectors, but has developed their own best practice standards for the specific challenges faced by dispensaries.


Video Surveillance


Video surveillance systems must be designed in such a way that both employees and patients are overseen during business hours and the dispensary is monitored at all times.

Video surveillance starts when a vehicle enters the parking lot. It is imperative that high-resolution cameras that can handle low-light environments are installed to best capture the make and model of the vehicle as it enters the parking lot. Next, Command Corporation designs a video surveillance system to monitor the perimeter of the building to view any potentially dangerous activity in the parking lot and around the building.


As a patient enters the building, they will be required to push the button on the video intercom. The latest IP Video Intercoms are fully integrated with Command Corporation’s Video Management Software. This allows security personnel to not only speak to the person at the door but to also see their face and have it recorded in the system. Security personnel can then ask the patient to show identification credentials before granting access to the building.


Interior video surveillance is vital to properly securing a marijuana dispensary. 4K cameras with True Wide Dynamic Range are directed at all safes, vaults, dispensing areas, sales areas and any other area where marijuana is being produced, stored or handled. We also install cameras at entry and exit points to capture clear, certain identification of any person entering or exiting the facility.


Command Corporation’s video surveillance recorders are custom built for marijuana dispensaries and designed with a solid-state hard drive to run the operating system, which allows the system to run smoothly and reliably. Western Digital Surveillance Grade Hard Drives provide optimum performance of recording video streams 24-hours a day. If a hard drive or server fails, our server hive architecture allows for a near instant transition of the cameras to a Redundant Failover Server (optional).


Our cameras are equipped with advanced H.265+ encoding, which allows for longer recording time on less storage space. Clients see as much as 90 days of video footage, even when recording 4K resolution in standard storage arrays.


Server hive architecture combined with DW Cloud allows for near real-time sharing across all client stations, making it easy to adjust layouts and share bookmarks or alarm events with co-workers, employees and police departments. DW Cloud also allows for a secure remote connection. No firewall port forwarding is required, as it could leave the network at risk of cyber attack.


Intrusion Detection System


Intrusion detection systems are not just for after hours when the dispensary is closed. When employees are in the building during nonoperating hours, they can arm the perimeter of the intrusion system. This triggers an alarm if a door is opened and helps to reduce the risk of employees coming under attack.


The XR550DN Intrusion Detection and Door Access Control System is UL Listed for commercial use. A broadband internet connection ensures the fastest and most secure communication to our central station. A fully integrated backup cellular radio is provided in the event that broadband connections are compromised. Command Corporation’s advanced Adaptive Communication Technology reduces the risk of missed alarm, trouble or supervisory signals by switching automatically between all communication paths. The system checks in with central station receivers randomly, and if the system misses a check-in due to a compromised communication path, dispensary key-holders are notified via text message.


Command Corporation designs intrusion detection systems to secure the perimeter using sensors on all perimeter doors, glass-break detection in rooms with windows and glass doors, and outdoor perimeter sensors for early warning intrusion detection. These sensors are mounted on the outside walls of the dispensary. If a person approaches the building and attempts to break in, the motion sensor activates and plays a prerecorded message to let the person know they have tripped an alarm and are being videotaped. The system also uses professional series Anti-Mask motion sensors on the interior of the building including every room where a wall is facing the outside or an adjacent space and above the ceiling tiles. These motion detectors cannot be compromised by simply masking the lens. Anyone arming the system will receive a notification if a motion detector has been masked.


We partition vestibules, waiting rooms, the dispensary and the vault into separate areas. This allows employees to arm each area independently from any other, increasing the overall security of the building and limiting access of specific areas to authorized persons.

Authorized persons can arm the system remotely via a secure portal or smartphone app. As a precaution, the system can arm automatically on a schedule at a predetermined closing time. The automatic arming time can be delayed by designated employees at the keypad if they are authorized to stay past the scheduled arming time.


Door Control (Electronic Access Control)


The Electronic Access Control system (EAC) compares a person’s credential to the access control list and grants or denies access. When access is denied based on the access control list, the door remains locked, a notification is sent to designated key-holders and the event is logged in the system. If access is granted, the control panel operates a relay, unlocking the door and logging the event.


Access to the dispensary should be limited to designated employees, dispensary technicians and escorted, pre-authorized patients. Employees not authorized to enter the dispensary portion of the facility will not be granted access through the door control system. If it is necessary for them to enter the dispensary portion of the facility, an authorized employee should escort them. Employee badges will not grant access to the dispensary facility outside of business hours or until a designated employee has previously entered the building and disarmed the intrusion detection system. Badges are created through a secure portal.


Example: If a receptionist with permission to enter the building between the hours of 5:00 AM and 5:00 PM does not have authority to disarm the security system, he or she will not be granted access to enter the building at 9:15 AM if the intrusion system is still armed. An employee with authority to disarm the system must first enter the building, even though the receptionist is trying to enter during authorized hours.


This feature helps to reduce the risk of otherwise authorized employees entering the building unsupervised. If someone attempts to enter the building when they do not have authority, the system sends a notification and the event is logged in the system.


Panic, Hold-up and Duress


Panic levers are positioned on the walls, at the gatekeeper’s desk, and inside the dispensary. These buttons trigger an audible alarm. The lock-down protocol should be used at this time, and the central station is signaled via the alarm communication system. This alarm is intended to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation.


Hold-up buttons are located under the gatekeeper’s desk and the receiving counter in the Receiving/Storage Area. Designated employees should carry wireless hold-up buttons on their person. Hold-up buttons do not trigger an audible or visual alarm. The monitoring station will be automatically notified via the alarm’s communication system. This alarm should be used when a threat is already in the building.


A duress code can be entered at any keypad if an employee is forced to disarm the security system. When a duress code is entered at a keypad, an alarm signal is sent to the central station, signaling that the employee is under ambush or duress. Police will be dispatched.


IP Video Intercoms and Network Speakers


Command Corporation fully integrates the Video Intercom System and IP Speakers with the Video Management Recording System. This records the interaction between the security desk and the person standing at the door and uses the video camera on the intercom as a surveillance camera, making it easier to view and record identification cards before the patient enters the building. After gaining access, the patient can then present his or her ID card inside at the security desk a second time.


Using network speakers rather than traditional sirens allows prerecorded messages to play as people enter the building. These messages may be used to ask patients to present their identification at the camera. In the event that someone enters the building without being authorized or attempts to break in after hours, a warning message plays. Command Corporation’s experience has shown that speaker systems are more effective than a traditional siren in deterring burglars, as employees can alert the perpetrator that police are on the way. These speakers can also be used to allow authorized employees to speak to people outside the building or inside the waiting rooms during the course of normal business.

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