The medical marijuana industry is here and gaining acceptance. Things are still evolving for growers and dispensaries, which can make the business side of it difficult. From what we see some of those issues are:
- Cannabis dispensaries and growers are much more likely to suffer break-ins than traditional businesses. The product involved, and the perception that huge amounts of cash are involved, make dispensaries tempting targets.
- Insurance may be difficult to obtain which opens up business owners to out-of-pocket losses.
- Start-up loans are extremely hard to get, so more out-of-pocket money is required to open a business.
- Banking difficulties may require that more cash be kept on-site.
- Regulations are likely to change at the local, state and federal levels. What you spend today to comply with regulations might be wasted money by next year.
In one way or another, the following products will help with physical security issues: Door locks & hardware, safes & vault doors, camera systems, alarm & monitoring systems. Hoogerhyde deals with the first two of these.
Locks: A dispensary’s building should have high security locks. Avoid using residential quality locks that you buy at box stores. Commercial grade locks are much stronger so they will slow down would-be burglars. Restricted key systems will prevent employees from having duplicate keys made without authorization. Consider up-grading to keyless locks to eliminate keys altogether.
Safes: Most cannabis suppliers for whom we have provided safes have chosen to save money by purchasing less security than we would recommend. This is usually because cash is in short supply when starting the business without bank loans. Naturally, safes are important for protecting inventory and cash. We always have a selection of used high security safes in stock to help save money.
If a business does not have good insurance a break-in could cause a major financial loss. Top notch physical security then becomes especially important, to minimize potential loss. Besides that, a vault with a high security rating may be a requirement to be insured. One of our dispensary clients who purchased what we consider to be an appropriate safe, was told by his insurance company that a TL-15 rated safe was needed to obtain coverage.
If the federal government eventually relaxes marijuana laws, it may require suppliers to comply with the same D.E.A. requirements that it dictates when dealing with other controlled substances. In that case the dispensary that initially bought a cheap safe would need to spend money again to buy a TL-15.
Hoogerhyde Safe can help protect your medical marijuana business. Out store is in Grand Rapids but we deliver to anywhere in Michigan. We have a big assortment of new and used safes, from small to huge — and vault doors. We also have the knowledge to answer your questions. In addition, we can increase your building’s security by installing high quality locks and key systems.
If you share a large safe or gun safe with family members, especially children, you might need a separate little compartment inside it for sensitive items. Maintain a little privacy and security – a place to hide your fun money, or the jewelry you bought your spouse for Christmas. There are many options for this sort of thing, from a light duty security safe (Amsec’s EST916 on left) to a heavy duty Fort Knox Handgun safe (right).
Putting a small high-security money chest in the bottom of your safe might be a good idea, especially if your big unit is light on burglary deterrence. The added weight makes it more difficult for someone to move your safe. Even if your big safe is forcibly opened it is extremely unlikely that the money chest could be compromised. This arrangement was very common in businesses when everyone still dealt with cash rather than credit cards. While the round door money chest pictured is only 10”H X 12.5”W X 20”D, it weighs a whopping 290# because the steel is over an inch thick. Perfect for silver, gold or cash. In retirement planning you hear about 401K’s and IRA’s; money chests are good for URA’s – Unreported Retirement Accounts.
Alarming your gun safe is another option for increased security. Some alarms just make noise to hopefully scare off a burglar. Others can notify your cell phone or a monitoring company. Door contact systems are the most common; the alarm is activated if the door is opened.
Having “a safe within a safe” makes sense for many people, and in West Michigan Hoogerhyde Safe is where you come for expert help.
In past years a particular type of two-door commercial safe was common in grocery stores. A large fire rated compartment, for cash register trays and paper work, had a big square door. This compartment was usually on the bottom.
Large amounts of cash, like the day’s bank deposits, were kept in a small top compartment, which usually had a small round door. This high security money chest (usually TL rated) has a heavy plate steel body which is encased in about 200# of concrete.
A single outer steel skin encloses both safes into a single unit. If the money chest is on top the units are top heavy and tricky to move. Weight requires these double units to be placed on concrete floors.
These units fell out of favor about twenty years ago because the high security compartment is too small. In addition, it is difficult to fit round doors with electronic locks. Stores seldom want these safes anymore, so that creates an opportunity for homeowners: Used round door /square door safes are readily available at safe shops for reasonable prices. Protect your personal papers from fire in the fire rated lower part, while your cash, silver and gold is safe from burglars in the high security money chest.
Tom’s two general rules about safe prices: 1) You can get fire protection relatively cheap or you can get burglary resistance relatively cheap, but the price of both fire and burglary will be relatively high; 2) Good quality used safes will save you a significant amount of money.
Here is a scenario we see often: A couple has been gradually (or suddenly) converting much of their personal wealth into silver and gold, to protect their life savings from a financial market collapse. They also want to prevent the government from knowing too much about their business. But they want to buy a cheap safe. They want to store a large portion of their life savings in a “garage sale price” safe. That doesn’t make sense. And they usually are more concerned about fire than break-in, so they buy a fire safe.
If you buy coins with numismatic value, or it they are in plastic cases or presentation boxes, then fire and smoke protection is important. But if you are just buying rounds, bars or bulk silver coins I recommend a used plate steel high security unit. A used safe with 1” or 1 ½” of solid steel on the door and a “TL” rating will get you outstanding burglary resistance at a reasonable price. It is extremely unlikely that your metals would melt in a safe that did not have fire protection because the melting points are high. Following are melting temps for typical investment grade metals.
Gold, 24K 1945 F
Silver, pure 1761 F
Silver, coin 1615 F
Silver, sterling 1640 F
The used safe shown on the left is small, 10 x 12 x 16, perfect for hiding under a cardboard box in a closet. But it has a TL-15 rating and it weighs 250#! Steel on the front is 2″ thick and the rest is 1″ thick. The other unit is 22 x 22 x 25, a TL-15 rated safe with a 1 1/2″ solid steel door — it weighs 910#. These units are great for low volume/high value contents like silver or gold.
Ironically, immediately after my last post, we got in a used commercial safe with a history of injury. And it came from the same restaurant chain to which I referred in that last post.
Some years ago, AFTER an employee lost a finger in this safe, it was fitted with three safety devices to prevent additional accidents. 1) The photo on left shows the slam damper that was installed, which keeps the door from slamming on someone’s hand. (I know the photo in the last post was poor.) 2) In the other photo, you can see a push/pull handle. When using this handle to close the safe your fingers are not near the edge of the door. 3) That picture also shows the yellow figure guard. This piece of steel extends up 3” above the edge of the door, again, to keep fingers from getting pinched as the door is closed.
My guess is that the cost of installing these three items was much less than the business ended up paying for the severed finger!