It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is expanding at a rapid pace across North America. Legal sales of cannabis are expected to grow to more than $20 billion by 2022, approximately doubling the sales from 2018. Market growth is projected to exceed $60 billion by 2024, and after Canada’s legalization of recreational cannabis in October, it’s clear that this industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
The advancement of the industry impacts numerous areas, such as job and tax revenue creation, providing a wide variety of valuable opportunities. With only five states remaining in the United States without some type of legal cannabis policy, now is the best time for technology integrators — especially those with a national footprint — to invest in this market and truly understand its demands.
For cannabis facilities to experience success and keep up with the market, they must face two prominent challenges: achieving effective security and efficient business operations. Though both can be seen as separate concerns, growers and producers must merge processes and solutions to tackle the issue as a whole.
On the security side, the most important factor cannabis facilities must consider is the video security required for compliance. Though levels of compliance vary by state, strict adherence creates the need for a strategic approach to the solutions used. The methods commonly deployed for both compliance and security in general can be divided based on the two subdivisions of the market: the production facilities and the retailers.
Today’s grow facilities are employing technologically advanced applications and implementing a layered approach to security that involves video analytics, access control, license plate recognition, perimeter security and in some cases facial recognition. This multilevel technique adds additional protection in the event that one method is surpassed. For example, if an individual steals a badge, facial recognition can be used to detect an intruder in real time.
Dispensaries typically use traditional video management software (VMS) integrated with access control and intrusion. But there also exists a significant demand for offsite monitoring services as well as cash/product transit services to ensure coverage of all aspects of the operation.
These intelligent security solutions are multifaceted, and the importance of convergence comes into play when you look at the operational applications that can be tied into a cannabis facility’s video platform. In order for the overall business to be successful, producers must take into consideration components such as building automation, production machinery, shrinkage, quality control and more.
A perfect example of how security and business operations can be merged involves tracking a cannabis plant through the cultivation process. Most states require the use of seed-to-sale software, and for the first time, this can now be integrated into a VMS platform and treated as an “event” with timestamped video updates. If there’s ever a question about compliance, this data becomes searchable within the system and can be accessed at a later date.
And when it comes to building automation, factors such as temperature, humidity and electrical consumption must be monitored and controlled at all times. By combining this data within a video platform, producers and growers can receive real-time alarms from building automation devices or output triggers that provide the necessary video verification to ensure appropriate levels are maintained.
As the cannabis industry continues to develop, we can expect to see more integrators customizing their portfolios to accommodate a wide range of needs, including the conglomeration of security and daily operations. Cannabis facilities must take advantage of solutions that streamline efficiencies and processes for overall safety and success.
Steve Birkmeier is the vice president of sales and business development for Arteco. He is responsible for sales operations for North America, Latin America, Africa and Australia. He began working with Arteco in 2005 and has played an integral role in founding and developing Arteco’s U.S. division. While at Arteco, he has held key roles in marketing, sales and operations. He has an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurial studies from the Saint Louis University.