Security Requirements for Marijuana Dispensaries

Despite marijuana remaining illegal under US federal law, many states and districts have begun to legalize recreational and medical marijuana use within their borders. While medical marijuana is increasingly prescribed for use to relieve pain from diseases like cancer and to treat the effects of conditions like glaucoma, recreational marijuana legalization is often the result of states wanting to capitalize on the economic boom that the market presents. Due in part to federal laws against usage and possession, states that have opted to legalize the sale of marijuana, whether for recreational or medical use, have implemented strict monitoring requirements for dispensaries and pharmacies. If you’re thinking about entering this emerging market, read on to learn more about the security camera standards of the industry and how we can help you meet those cannabis security requirements.


Medical Marijuana Security

A growing industry

Recreational marijuana use has been legalized in 10 states and Washington, DC, while medical use is currently legal in 32 states. While the approaches to legalization differ by state, with some allowing home cultivation and other restricting access to dispensaries or pharmacies, the broad general support for medical and recreational legalization seems to point to further states legalizing in the near future.

While Ohio awaits the beginning of medical marijuana sales, 56 dispensary licenses have been approved across the state by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Whether located in Cleveland, Dayton, or Columbus, We  look forward to serving the dispensaries that will be coming soon to Ohio.

Map of Marijuana Legalization in the U.S.

Recreational legalization

Most states that have passed bills allowing for the recreational use of marijuana have settled on for-profit, private businesses sale of the substance to take advantage of the multi-billion dollar industry. Every state requires strict enforcement of age requirements, amounts that individuals can purchase or possess at one time, required packaging and disclosures, and tax collection. Additionally, some states allow a specific number of plants to be grown in individual households.

Marijuana Legalization

Medical legalization

Medical legalization of marijuana has seen growing support in recent decades thanks to the positive results of several studies and anecdotal evidence that point to its effectiveness in addressing pain management, nausea, and loss of appetite related to cancer treatments, limiting the impact of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, treating PTSD, and many of illnesses and diseases. Additionally, with the opioid epidemic continuing to ravage the country, marijuana’s application to treat chronic pain may help save many lives from overdose. Similar to recreational legalization, each state has its own enforcement and regulations restricting the amount, types, and fees related to use.

It’s the law

As you can imagine, states take the security risks associated with operating marijuana dispensaries, whether for medical, recreational, or joint usage, very seriously. While laws regarding the type of video surveillance vary from state to state, there are some constants and minimum requirements that every operation must meet.

Federal and State Marijuana Laws

Surveillance requirements

Every state that has legalized any form of marijuana usage requires 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. For transactions, cameras should capture the images of the employee, the customer, register, and the product exchange.

Some states have very specific requirements for camera resolution and frames per second. California, for example, mandates a minimum resolution of 1280×720 pixels and no less than 15 frames per second. Operators must be compliant with all surveillance requirements to receive their license.  The 1280×720 pixel requirement is equivalent to 2 megapixel (MP), the good news is that is the lowest resolution camera we offer, and the default framerate of our cameras is 25 frames per second or greater.

Storage requirements

All states with legal marijuana sales of any type require that the 24/7 security video be retained for a set period of time. That retention period varies by state, but dispensary operators should also consider insurance and legal coverage retention rules when opting for storage length as well.

24 hour video recording

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio must retain all footage for a minimum of six months, and the footage must be made available to the licensing board upon request. However, the insurance industry standard is one-year retention for marijuana dispensaries.  Storage of several 2MP cameras at 15 frames a second for that duration requires specialized storage solutions.  Luckily, through our partners at Computer Service Now, we have full time IT professionals on staff who can help design the solution to fit your needs and budget.

Helping your dispensary meet surveillance requirements

While dispensaries have operated in San Francisco since 1992, cities like Seattle and Boston are still emerging markets in the marijuana industry and the laws that govern dispensaries in these cities are still evolving. As the marijuana industry continues to grow and expand into new states, dispensary operators will have to remain diligent to ensure that they meet the demanding requirements sets forth by the licensing boards of individual states.

Security cameras for dispensaries can help your dispensary meet the exacting demands of your state’s licensing board. With our free site visit and consultation, our security professionals can help you develop the solutions that best meet the requirements of your state. More than just a sales call, our experts review your entire site and provide a 100 percent accurate quote for your security camera needs. Get a quote for all of your dispensary security camera needs.

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