Medical marijuana security in Canada has just been tightened so as to be inaccessible to all but the most resolute companies. Since the new rules have given right to sell and dispense of medical marijuana only to licensed growers and producers, there are many companies who are interested in taking part in the business of growing weed. With the medical marijuana business expected to expand rapidly in the next few years, companies wanting a piece of the proverbial pie have deluged Health Canada with license applications.
But even with the increasing demand for medicinal cannabis, and the large number of companies seeking license to produce the drug, license approvals have been slow in coming. This is due in large part to the complexity of the medical marijuana security required of firms wishing to obtain legal producer’s accreditation from the government.
Browsing through the website of Health Canada provides a glimpse of just how complex the security arrangements required of companies seeking legal grower licenses can be:
- Containment: All spaces that contain marijuana in any of its forms must be contained and access limited to essential personnel. Containment requirements are so intense that even marijuana wastes and pollen need to be controlled, the latter through special air filters.
- Intrusion: Sensors and alarms need to be installed to document possible attempts of unauthorized people to gain entry. Where such intrusions are suspected, or do happen, “appropriate response procedures” need to be in place to deal with them.
- Access Control: Access to sensitive areas containing marijuana or any of its derivatives should be protected by devices opened only through pin codes, proximity cards, swipe cards, biometric readers or passwords. Access control devices should also record the identities of people entering controlled spaces, the time and date of such entry and exit.
- Surveillance: Sensitive areas need to be adequately lighted. They also require the installation of a sufficient number of CCTV devices that operate and record video on a continuous basis. Surveillance systems should always be manned or monitored physically through a central monitoring and control center. Video surveillance records should also be backed up regularly to an offsite location.
- Records of surveillance videos, intrusion alarm systems and access control data are to be kept for a minimum of 2 years.
- Tampering: Where tampering of the signals of any of the components of the security system as a whole is suspected, an “appropriate response procedure” is required to handle them.
With that complex requirement for marijuana security, most companies will only stand a chance of obtaining the necessary marijuana security clearance with the help of security professionals. Fortunately, there is no shortage of security experts who have been providing sophisticated security systems for homes, industries, banks, schools and even military installation. Some of these security firms are so good they have obtained the endorsement of the Better Business Bureau.
If you represent a company interested in obtaining a legal medical marijuana grower’s license, your best bet is to consult with a security expert.