How To Prevent Robberies at Marijuana Dispensaries

Posted by Patrick Vedder on


Medicinal marijuana has increased in popularity in the USA as it is becoming a legal option for persons living in a number of states.

One issue that has emerged however is security and safety for the employees and the dispensaries that sell the products.

People seeking marijuana treatment, persons who are permitted to grow the plant for medical purposes, and dispensaries that deliver it in some of the states where it is allowed are increasingly the victims of targeted robberies, and physical attacks.

Plan ahead and be prepared
Cannabis dispensaries are great targets for thieves because they usually have a lot of $$ Cash on hand.


Dispensaries sell a desirable product that can be resold in other cities and states.

As the industry continues to grow and expand, so will the demand (and need) for better security and safety programs to be in place.

Critics argue that such events demonstrate that marijuana and crime are inseparable.

However, activists and authorities find it difficult to obtain a precise picture of the crimes associated with medical marijuana, because many victims refrain from notifying the police, in the fear of drawing attention to their business.

** Interesting fact - Newly published research that analyzed LA crime stats found an immediate increase in crime around dispensaries that were ordered to close.

Busy dispensaries have a lot of pedestrian traffic, which is not what criminals want when they are planning a robbery. 


Security Measures to Prevent a Dispensary Robbery

Crime prevention and insurance policies are a significant portion of a medical marijuana establishment’s costs.

If you do not maintain a full security program, you will not see your business thrive and survive (after all that effort to open the dispensary)

For example, advanced door locks are useless if a ladder that is left out against the side of the building provides the thief with an easy access to a second-story window or roof.


The security measures for your business should include the following: 

  • Buy a Smart Safe to protect your cash and valuables.
  • Make sure the locks on the doors and windows are strong and adequate to do what they should do. If you have any questions, consult a trained locksmith, carpenter, or hardware dealer.
  • Stay alert while you and your employees open and close the business. Be alert to any suspicious person who looms nearby.
  • Keep a record of the serial numbers of the equipment and merchandise.
  • Keep only a minimum of cash in the dispensary. Frequently, deposit money in a safe or bank.
  • If you have an alarm system, check it regularly to determine if it is working adequately.
  • Know where the keys are, all the time. A poor key control system leaves you in a vulnerable position both inside and outside your business. Change the combinations of your locks if there is any doubt.
  • Change your safe combination periodically.
  • Park the company vehicles away from the building so they cannot be used to climb the roof or to obstruct the view of the entrances.
  • Make sure your employees have a safe place to leave their possessions (bags, and coats) during working hours. Desk drawers or drawers in offices which are left unlocked are favorite places to leave bags, and a primary spot for thieves to look.
  • Install adequate lighting inside as well as outside your dispensary. Remember thieves are looking for darkness or another way of hiding. A well-lit property has far less appeal to the criminal.



Employee Theft at Dispensaries

Three of four employees will steal from your business this year, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.

One of these will steal repeatedly or might have already done so.

Let this continue, and your dispensary has a big chance of filing for bankruptcy.

Statistics of theft by employees from 2012 shows that US companies lost between $20 and $40 billion arising from small-scale theft events to large-scale embezzlement.

If you already running dispensary you may even notice that cash, office supplies, or inventory items are missing.

You, like many small business managers have many tasks to do, and most of the time you do not realize that some thefts are happening behind your back.

In fact, 75% of employee theft is never discovered.

Just doing the following can help a lot


  • Carefully examine your prospective employees before hiring them. Check their references carefully.
  • Install a modern surveillance system
  • Spend time getting to know your employees
  • Show up at the dispensary at random times, surprise the staff


Buy a Smart Safe To Store Cash

A Smart Safe is a modern and secure way for dispensaries to hold their cash onsite.

Superior Press offers a wide selection of products that fit the budget of any dispensary.

Even a double door safe can help prevent potential robberies.

These new safes exist to help businesses secure their money and automate the process of cash handling.

Below are just some of the benefits of having a Smart Safe in your dispensary.

  1. Security - being able to secure cash is exactly what a smart safe does

Internal Theft

  • 5% of annual revenue is typically lost to employee theft
  • Internal theft is a bigger issue than customers shoplifting
  • 1 in 3 businesses fail as a direct result of internal theft 

External Theft

  • Pry resistant doors
  • Anti-lock drilling features
  • No employee access deters would be burglars
  • High security locks and keys
  • Locking bolt for reinforcement
  • Tamper siren connected to store security 
  1. Dispensary Operations - smart safes provide owners with data 

Real Time Visibility Of Cash

  • Web portal tools to view real-time cash status on phone, computer, etc.
  • Cash trend analysis tools available
  • Data breakdown by cashier, shift, even transaction type
  • Desktop tools allow viewing of cash status-in-store 

Integrate With POS

  • Allows for coordination of the POS and the smart safe 

Preventing Theft Is Crucial

All the steps you take to prevent a theft will also help you lessen the risk of a robbery.

Do not overlook the value of good lighting, good visibility, strong locks, key control, an alarm system that works well and a thorough examination of the employee’s background.

These points are also vital to ensure your dispensary is profitable and safe.

Tips To Follow:

  • Avoid setting a regular time or route when dealing with cash handling for the dispensary.
  • Uniform security guards are strong deterrents in areas where many crimes occur.
  • Never obstruct the view of the interior of your store by putting too much merchandise in the windows. It is very important to maintain good visibility during working hours.
  • Instruct your employees on how to behave if a robbery occurs.
  • Announce your security measures and your money management policies.
  • Avoid letting customers enter the premises after your working hours, especially if they are alone.
  • Keep the rear doors locked.
  • Inspect bathrooms and storage areas, etc. before closing the dispensary at night.



What To Do If Dispensary is Robbed

  • Do not resist. Stay calm.
  • Obey the instructions.
  • Ring or activate alarms or other safety measures
  • Give the thief everything he asks for
  • Watch the thief or thieves very carefully. Note any part of their features that stand out, clothing, hair color, eyes, skin tone, beard, mustache, scars, tattoos, accent, and anything to help you identify them later. Identify their height using any mark on the door frame.
  • Memorize the type and description of the weapons that were used.
  • Try to get the brand, model, year, color, number of the plate, and the state of the registration of the vehicle plate they used to flee, and the direction they took when they fled.
  • Call the police immediately.

What To Do After A Dispensary Robbery?

  • Do not touch anything. Protect the crime area until the police arrives.
  • Inform the police of objects that you think the suspects have touched.
  • Close the business until the police arrive.
  • Insist that witnesses to the crime remain in the dispensary until the police can interrogate them.
  • Fully cooperate with the police.


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