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How to Meet Security Requirements for California Cannabis Businesses

California voters made recreational cannabis legal in 2016. Since then, thousands of cannabis dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses have opened their doors. In 2020, California cannabis sales topped $4.4 billion, up 57% from 2019. 

The cannabis industry is thriving—even with very strict state regulations. 

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) regulates commercial cannabis activity in California. The department requires a certified security plan for all cannabis companies. The plan must include provisions for the logistics, operations, procedures, and physical design of the cannabis facility. 

If you want to grow, distribute, or sell cannabis, your business must comply with all security regulations—and that is no easy task. But if you don’t comply, you can’t get an operating license to do business in California. 

The Department of Cannabis Control’s Text of Regulations is long and dense—we’re here to help make sense of it. 

The official DCC regulations are 138 pages long. It’s a lot to sift through, but a cannabis business must meet all the codes to operate in California. 

Bay Alarm is a member of the California Cannabis Industry Association, and we’ve helped many cannabis companies comply with security regulations. Our expert team knows how to design and install a compliant security system. We’re here to help you obtain your operating license. 

Let’s dig into some of the more common codes. In addition, we will discuss video surveillance, access control, and burglar alarm systems. Each of these security systems is required. 

The DCC requires that each licensed premise have a digital surveillance system with HD camera resolution. 

Code 5044 deals with security camera systems. It states all licensed premises must have a digital video surveillance system with a minimum camera resolution of 1280 × 720 pixels. These cameras are standard in many buildings. 

One important factor to consider is that the system must retain surveillance video for a minimum of 90 days. Not all security cameras can do this, so be sure your alarm provider gives you a storage system large enough to accommodate this much video.

Code 5044 also touches upon how and where to install cameras. It states to place cameras in:

  • Areas where cannabis goods are weighed, packed, stored, loaded, and unloaded for transportation, prepared, or moved within the premises.  
  • Limited access areas  
  • Security rooms  
  • Entrances and exits  
  • Point of sale areas

By following the regulation, you’re ensuring your business is compliant and your security system is robust enough to keep everything secure. s. Code 5044 has additional requirements, which you can find in the official text of regulations

You will need an access control system that can monitor who is coming and going in limited-access areas. 

Next up is Code 5042, which regulates building access. A cannabis business must have in place non-residential locking mechanisms that prevent unauthorized entry to limited-access areas. These are areas that only employees may normally access.

To put it more simply: you need an electronic access control system that will help you comply with Code 5042. 

An access control system gives you complete control over who can enter restricted areas and when they can enter. You can configure who has access and who doesn’t from an online platform. Then all you need to do is give key fobs to allowlisted employees. If they have entry access, the door will open automatically when they present their fob. If they don’t have access, the door will remain locked. We even work with vendors that can use employee mobile phones as their access cards.

Code 5042 also states that you must maintain a record of all authorized individuals who are not employees who enter the limited-access areas. For example, if you hire a plumber and they need to enter a restricted area, you must record who they are and when they entered. An access control system can keep a log of who enters and exits.

You must employ a professional alarm company to install, maintain, monitor, and respond to the burglar alarm system. 

As the owner of a cannabis business, you need to pay close attention to Code 5047. It stipulates that you must equip your business with a professionally monitored burglar alarm. You also have to submit alarm operating procedures to the DCC that include how the alarm system will be shared and who is responsible for contracting with the alarm company. 

This requirement makes a lot of sense. Cannabis is valuable, and cannabis-related crime is on the rise in California.  

Bay Alarm offers alarm monitoring services. We have a dedicated alarm monitoring center that keeps an eye on your system 24/7. If we receive an alarm alert, we contact both you and emergency services if necessary. 

We can also handle all system maintenance, including software updates or replacement of old equipment on site. 

To summarize: you need a burglar alarm system, it must be monitored, and you have to submit operating procedures to the DCC. All of which Bay Alarm can help with!

Ready to open your own cannabis business? In order to obtain a license to operate, you must comply with a variety of regulations. 

Opening a cannabis business in California is no easy task. The state regulates just about every aspect of growing, distributing, and selling cannabis. 

Complying with all security codes is one of the biggest and most important hurdles. At a minimum, your business must have security cameras, an access control system, and a fully monitored burglar alarm system. Each system has its own set of requirements, like camera quality and emergency response plans. 

Bay Alarm is here to help. We have experience designing and installing compliant security systems for cannabis companies in California. Over the past decade Bay Alarm has become a leader in commercial cannabis security. If you’re ready to open your own cannabis business, don’t wait! Contact Bay Alarm today for a system quote.