Recreational use of Cannabis is now legal in 16 states and allowed for medical purposes in 36 states. The Cannabis industry is growing rapidly, with annual market values expected to reach $30 billion by 2025. Still, as with any sector experiencing rapid growth, security challenges remain a top concern for the Cannabis industry.

In the United States, the Cannabis industry is not without difficulties. Growers, manufacturers, dispensaries and distributors continue to face a host of regulatory and operational challenges.

The United States remains a highly complicated environment for Cannabis companies to operate, mainly because Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level while an increasing number of states have legalized it locally.

To get a clear understanding of the Cannabis regulatory environment, you'd need numerous days and extensive studying. In fact, various online educational institutions offer legal and regulatory courses for people that want to learn more about the industry. Although obtaining a comprehensive evaluation of the regulatory environment remains difficult, an overview of what has occurred since 2012 provides us with sufficient context.

On Dec. 6, 2012, recreational use of Cannabis was legalized in the state of Washington. Colorado followed suit four days later and with that, the so-called green rush era was born. Industry analysts compare this event with the gold rush of the 1800s due to the similar widespread excitement and optimism that resulted from these rulings. Cannabis is currently recreationally legal in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington.

In a fast-growing business such as the Cannabis industry, it’s important to be up to date not just with business-related regulations, but also with rapidly changing security requirements. Though there are no federally recognized security standards for the Cannabis industry, all states that have legalized Cannabis have common requirements, including:

  • Maintaining strict access control throughout the facility.
  • Operative alarm systems.
  • Documented standard operating procedures.
  • 24/7 video surveillance systems for all entrances and exits to dispensaries and growing facilities. In addition, most states require that cameras also capture all internal areas of the dispensary as well.

By integrating robust security features such as video surveillance, access control and automated closure systems, Cannabis facilities can strengthen their security posture and meet mandated requirements.

Navigating the Cannabis industry’s regulatory landscape is not an easy task and industry analysts foresee similar challenges moving forward. The United States will continue to be a complicated place for Cannabis businesses to operate due to the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Though the industry will take some time to evolve, there are measures that business owners can take right now to protect their staff, facilities and merchandise.

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