The time, effort, and expense of cultivating marijuana plants warrants having rock-solid security – for a number of reasons. First off, the plants themselves have significant value, which makes them an attractive target for theft. Secondly, the cultivating equipment and supplies may also be the object of would-be thieves. Grow-tents, special lighting, fans, hydroponic gear, and nutrients aren’t cheap, and are certainly worth securing. And if your grow room is part of a dispensary – or even if you’re simply a craft grower – there’s likely to be cash involved, which also needs to be secured.
Installing grow room security measures was once limited to professional cannabis growers. But, as recreational use becomes more commonplace, the idea of grow-room security has become more prevalent among home-growers and hobbyists.
State Laws on Grow Room Security
Aside from the financial reasons for wanting to protect your investment, securing your product is usually mandated by state law. It is the legal responsibility of the owner/license holder to ensure proper measures are in place to prevent access by unauthorized personnel.
State law may also require that cannabis plants are not visible from outside your dwelling or building. If you happen to grow your plants outside, you need to ensure proper sight barriers are in place in order to remain legally compliant. A number of states’ marijuana laws require plants to be unseen from the surrounding neighborhood.
In addition to limiting actual theft, having a secure grow room can help limit the likelihood of attempted theft. Even the most basic elements of security will eliminate crimes of opportunity. Seeing that a facility is secure can be a deterrent for those considering crime. Once you’ve shown that your grow room is no easy target, the odds of theft start to decline.
Securing Your Grow Room Doors
The first and most basic form of security for a grow room is a deadbolt lock that is keyed uniquely from the rest of your facility. A quality deadbolt helps limit who can access the room, while keeping the contents protected from theft/pilferage. While a simple latch may be enough to keep toddlers and children out of your grow room, that will only work for so long. Kids grow older, and the temptation may eventually match their ability to access a room where marijuana plants are cultivated. Avoid storing keys to your grow room in any common areas, such as on a hook or in a drawer.
The door to the grow room should be metal or solid wood to prevent break-ins. Avoid builder-grade doors that can easily be destroyed. A reinforced doorframe with extra deep screws prevents doors from being kicked-in. Electronic door locks allow you to easily change access codes or reprogram pass cards. It’s a more expensive way to secure a room, but also comes with the benefit of being able to log who accessing the grow room, and when.
Grow Room Surveillance & Sensors
Motion sensors installed inside the room will alert you to the presence of unauthorized people – provided you have total room coverage. Furniture, exposed air conditioning ducts, or equipment can all block the sensors from being able to “see” the entire room, so be sure there are no blind spots that could hinder the motion sensors.
Video surveillance allows you to keep tabs on anyone inside or at the entrance of your grow room. Color cameras are optimal and should be positioned out of reach of anyone who might attempt to damage or disable them. The camera feed should be recorded on a secure hard drive or in the Cloud, with the ability for you to review video history from past days or even weeks. Because the best and clearest video requires lighting, you might consider outfitting your grow room with motion-sensor light switches that cannot be manually turned off.
A video security system provides an excellent deterrent during business hours, plus visual evidence of after-hours trespass or theft. Many systems offer offsite monitoring that lets you go online to watch a live video feed of the area being secured. This gives you a chance to react in real time, rather than having to wait to review the video feed.
Basic systems with high-quality video can be easily installed at a moderate price point, while fully integrated video surveillance can help growing businesses scale-up in terms of coverage, connectivity, and integration with lighting and climate control. It’s recommended that you check state laws for any compliance issues related to video surveillance and retention.
Grow Room Access Control & Security
A strict access list helps limit the number of people who can or should be inside your grow room while providing accountability for any breaches, break-ins, or thefts. Limit access to a few essential personnel, and make it known by keyholders that they are the only ones authorized to access the room. You may even consider having the locks re-keyed periodically to ensure there are no duplicate keys floating around.
Sudden circumstances such as fires, medical events, safety breaches, and natural disasters necessitates having a lockdown plan. This enables the building (or individual rooms in the building) to be locked down during emergencies as a means of minimizing loss, damage, or theft to assets. An ideal system includes occupancy tracking and the ability to deny entry during such events.
The amount of sensitive personal data collected by a dispensary makes secure data storage as vital as securing cash or product. An encrypted system with data backup and redundancies is a must in order to protect customer information while remaining compliant with related consumer protection laws.
Cyber Security & Grow Rooms
Cyber security cannot be overlooked, as malware, ransomware, and data hackers will exploit any vulnerabilities you may have – and do it from locations around the world. Two of the biggest miscalculations a business owner can make are believing a business is too small or too large to be attacked. Cyber safety is not determined by the size of the business, but the strength of the security protocol. Protecting customer information should be standard business practice.
Grow Room Vaults
A grow room safe provides product security comparable to a bank vault. It can store your product and your cash in a climate-controlled and light-controlled environment, shielding its contents from fire or water damage. Depending on the size of your operation, you may want a walk-in version that combines bank-grade security with high-volume storage.
Outdoor Grow Room Security
Outdoor growers face enhanced challenges in securing their product. In addition to theft, you need to protect your protect your product from wild animals, curious hikers, and the watchful eye of law enforcement officials. Motion-triggered trail cameras give you feedback about the privacy of your plot and what type of visitors are passing by (or snooping around). If your growth and cultivation activities are somewhat less than kosher with state law, it’s important that your trail cam doesn’t store images or video of you tending to your crops.
The vegetation surrounding your grow can serve as a natural barrier, both visual and physical. Strategically planting your crops between non-invasive trees and plants provides camouflage, as well as protection from two or four-legged visitors who might otherwise happen upon your product.
Finally, one of the simplest ways to protect the fruits of your labor is to keep it on the down-low. As proud as you may be of your agricultural engineering, resist the urge to brag about it. Tell enough people and eventually someone will decide to see for himself/herself, resulting in unwanted conflict. You don’t want that smoke!
Grow With Woodrow
Whether you need advice, support, or a full-scale system, Woodrow Technology Solutions is here to guide you every step of the way.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can get your grow operation up to compliance.