Make your security system work for you

By Armando Perez

When it comes to cannabis industry security systems, we have all been focused on compliance. In traditional environments, a business owner may choose to install a security camera system or an alarm system for a myriad of reasons. Unfortunately, once they realize exactly how many cameras are required to be compliant with the I-502 regulations, those reasons give way to budgetary concerns and I-502 operators tend to forget some of the benefits of having these systems in the first place. Fortunately, there is some overlap. The purpose of this piece is to give some insight into how these systems can be used for the benefit of the operator, and not just the Washington State Liquor Control Board, or other governing entities.

Surveillance systems have been used by traditional business for decades. The single most common reason business owners install cameras is for the evidence they provide both to protect good employees and to confirm suspicions of poor employee performance. A camera system can give the owner loads of information about how employees behave when they think nobody is watching. This can provide opportunities to praise the good employees and terminate the bad ones. Having good employees makes running your business that much easier. The cameras keep the honest ones honest and helps you identify the bad ones before they can affect productivity and morale.

The second most common reason for installing a camera system is the convenience provided by remote viewing. The ability to take a look at your business from your cell phone or a computer can save unnecessary trips to the shop or farm and can provide peace of mind when you get that weird feeling in the middle of the night. If you haven’t had that feeling yet, just wait until your quarantine is holding the equivalent of your life savings and months of work in a single room and you wake up around 3 a.m. in the morning. Being able to take a quick look will be the difference between being able to sleep and nervously staring at the ceiling for an entire night. After the nerves have settled, it’s nice to be able to take a look and make sure the lights are on or off, and that employees got certain things done before they left for the day.

Access Control systems are capable of locking doors automatically as the Liquor Control Board wants. But they can also be configured to allow certain people into certain areas based on calendar days or time of day and can be reconfigured on the fly. For example, the quarantine room can be put on lockdown electronically, ensuring that access is denied to anyone trying to enter during the quarantine period. The office can be locked down to all but a few employees during off hours. The ability to create rules based on the individual employee can allow only certain people to access rooms with sensitive or expensive materials and tools. These systems create logs of users’ access times, simplifying payroll verification and confirming employees’ schedules without having to purchase a full-blown time and attendance system.

Alarm systems have evolved into much more than simple intrusion detection systems. Today’s alarm systems can transmit data and notifications that allow the owner to receive a text message when the business is opened for the day and when it is closed for the day. These alerts can also be configured to let you know if an employee has not arrived by a certain time or if they left early or late. Automations can be used to help lower what are sure to be ballooning electricity bills by having the system turn off unneeded lighting when the alarm is armed. Thermostat controls can be used to trigger email or text notifications if temperatures in certain parts of your building go outside of a predetermined range and water sensors can be triggered if water overflows from a busted pipe or clogged drain. Most importantly, these interactive alarm systems can be used to remotely arm your alarm system when — inevitably — the new employee forgets to arm it before he or she leaves for the day.

Most traditional business owners get to decide for themselves if or when to install these security systems. As a cost of being on the forefront of the legal recreational marijuana market, those decisions have been made for you by the Liquor Control Board. Since you are required to purchase these systems and incur those expenses, you might as well ensure that you can actually use those systems to help you run your business, sleep better at night and alleviate some of the stress of being in this market in the first place. At the end of the day, I-502 businesses are still businesses, and you still have to deal with all the traditional business issues, on top of the particulars of being in a highly regulated industry.

Armando Perez is the general manager of CCTV Dynamics (, a surveillance equipment distributor with a focus on system design and custom security camera systems.



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