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Security requirements for the cannabis industry in California



Cannabis use, both medical and recreational, is legal in California. In fact, CA was the first state in the U.S. to allow medicinal cannabis use after the Compassionate Use Act was passed by voters in 1996. This law provided for people to possess and use cannabis without legal consequences if they had a medical necessity that required the use of marijuana.

This event set a precedent for future cannabis laws and on November 8, 2016, voters passed, with 57% of approval, proposition 64 of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which legalized the use, sale, and cultivation of recreational cannabis in California for adults 21 and over.

Although its use is permitted, the cannabis industry is strictly regulated by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to ensure operations are safe and products contaminant-free. These rules range from track and trace protocols to video surveillance guidelines and include provisions that support the safeguarding of logistics, operations, procedures, and physical security.

For instance, as per the official DCC regulations, record retention should be supervised. Section §5037 asks cannabis licensees to keep and maintain security records related to commercial cannabis activity for at least seven years, except for surveillance recordings required pursuant to section §5044.

Other directives to observe in order to get and maintain a cannabis operating license to do business in the golden poppy state are:

  1. Access control

    Section §5042 stipulates that only employees and other authorized individuals, including vendors and contractors, can access limited-access areas of the licensed premise.

    If an individual enters a sensitive area and is not an employee, then he should be escorted by a worker at all times while within the area.

    Further, a record of all authorized individuals that had access to limited-access areas should be maintained. These records should be made available to the Bureau immediately upon request. Likewise, all points of entry and exit and entrances to all limited-access areas should have a solid door and be securely locked using a commercial-grade, nonresidential lock mechanism.

  2. Video surveillance

    Video surveillance rules are provided in section §5044.

    First and foremost, licensed premises must have a digital video surveillance system, with a resolution of at least 1280 x 720 pixels, able to record unceasingly, 24/7/365, with a minimum of 15 frames per second (FPS), and with the right time and date display.

    In regard to the placement of cameras, they should be permanently mounted and installed in a fixed location that allows the device to clearly record activity occurring within 20 feet of all points of entry and exit.

    Entrances and exits to the licensed premises must be recorded from both indoor and outdoor vantage points.

    Further, it is essential that the video surveillance system allows for the clear and accurate identification of any person in all areas required to be filmed, such as where cannabis goods are weighed, packed, stored, loaded, and unloaded, prepared, or moved within the premises.

    Storage of surveillance images is very important and it should be duly protected from tampering and theft and kept for no less than 90 days.

  3. Alarm system

    Section §5047 discusses the need to maintain an alarm system in a cannabis facility. The system’s data related to monitoring and alarm activity must be made available to the Bureau upon request.

    Moreover, the installation, maintenance, monitoring, and response to the alarm system must be conducted by a fully licensed security integrator.

  4. Track and trace

    A track and trace system is required.

    An accurate list of system users must be maintained and compliance notifications must be monitored to timely resolve issues. If a licensee is unable to solve a compliance notification within three business days, the Bureau must be notified immediately.

    In addition, the track and trace system must record the name and type of cannabis goods, amount, total wholesale costs, date and time of transportation, and license number, among other information.

    It is also necessary to report the following cannabis activity:

    • Transportation
    • Receipt
    • Return
    • Destruction and disposal
    • Laboratory testing
    • Laboratory results

    RFID technology can support the tagging of mature plants, bundles, and products to ensure a precise account across your entire cannabis operations.

    By implementing advanced RFID solutions, managers and auditors can prevent the diversion, theft, and counterfeiting of products. This is a technology capable of optimizing labor-intensive protocols and supporting compliance with the DCC.

Maintaining your cannabis business safe and compliant in California requires a proactive approach to security and the implementation of advanced access control, video surveillance, alarm monitoring, and track and trace systems.

Collaborate with a professional security integrator who can simplify the complexity of adherence to strict rules, ensure your site is protected from criminals and sabotage at all times and knows in depth the specific cannabis laws and regulations in Manhattan Beach, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, or San Jose.

Ensure compliance Protect your business

Take the proactive step in securing your cannabis business. Contact us today to learn how our solutions can support your compliance efforts and provide peace of mind.