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Want To Start A Cannabis Business? Hammer Out Your Security Plan First

Although about 23 states have legalized the sale and use of marijuana in some form, it still remains a dangerous industry to enter. One reason is because federal law prohibits most banks from accepting cash deposits or credit card transactions from cannabis businesses. This means these companies accumulate and retain thousands of dollars worth of cash on the premises each day, putting them at high risk of being robbed. If you're a new cannabis business owner or thinking about entering the industry, here are a few tips for keeping your premises secure and your employees safe.

Store Money Offsite

If you're unable to get a bank account to deposit the cash from your business, it may seem like the easiest thing to do would be to leave it in a safe on the premises. You'll have the money on hand to pay business expenses and you or your employees won't have to risk your personal safety taking the money to another location.

However, leaving the money onsite only increases your risk of being robbed, especially by opportunistic or desperate employees (75 percent of employees have stolen from their employers). If anything, storing the cash offsite will keep your losses at a minimum as the thieves will only get whatever happens to be in the store at the time they attempt to burgle it.

Even though you may not be able to get a bank account, you can usually get a safety deposit box. Banks typically don't ask about the contents of safety deposit boxes to avoid liability issues. Therefore, you don't need to worry about having the bank reject your money. At the same time, money in a safety deposit box is not insured by the FDIC. However, it's probably still much safer at the bank than at your business.

If the volume of cash you receive in your business is just too much to hold in safety deposit boxes, there are some security companies who will also store money in privately-run vaults. It's best to call security companies in your area to see who offers this service.

Hire a Security Team

Hiring security professionals to patrol your facility is a good way to deter people from attempting to steal money or marijuana. It goes without saying that criminals don't want to get caught. If they know that security is on the property, they will look for other places to rob where the risk of being apprehended is lower. For instance, after a Houston, Texas, community hired a private security team, burglaries in the area fell from 304 to 177 between 2013 and 2014.

In addition to monitoring the property, security personnel can also escort you and your employees when it's time to take money to the offsite location. Although there are armored vehicle services that can handle this task for you, having these trucks show up at your establishment may draw too much attention to the fact that your business is dealing in a high volume of cash. Having armed, plain-clothes guards can provide both security and discretion that can help you operate your business safely.

Install a Security System

At a minimum, you should install a security system that includes video surveillance. It's been proven time and again that alarm systems deter criminals. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that 83 percent of the burglars they interviewed stated they would stop attempting to break into a place if they found out it had a security system. As noted previously, thieves want to get away with their crimes and an alarm system would most assuredly hinder their ability to do so.

In the event that something does happen, having video surveillance recording the event can aid in catching and convicting the perpetrators. Additionally, security cameras will also help deter employee theft.

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