1. How should the cannabis industry vet security company prospects?

I would recommend vetting security companies the same as all integral components to running a business and making it successful: banking, hiring, insuring, etc. More specifically, trust, but verify. Many times, gut instinct helps. For a security company, do some research, join trade groups and associations, ask for referrals, interview candidate firms, request a business portfolio, conduct background checks and mandate random drug testing—as in many states, security officers may not be authorized to carry firearms if they consume illicit drugs.

Further, a strong security company is solid on the ground and at the management and ownership levels. Bri-Bet is extremely selective when hiring to support our cannabis clients. We seek and hire employees who have law enforcement or military backgrounds because of their discipline, attention to detail and situational awareness. Continuous employee training programs are a bonus.

2. How can a security firm’s law enforcement experience be an asset for a cannabis business owner?

I am partial to using current and retired law enforcement personnel at our client dispensaries. We provide the client with a trained asset, skilled in critical incident management and with the ability to de-escalate situations tactfully and professionally.

3. Why is security a worthy investment from the get-go?

Security as an afterthought increases incident risk. As a startup company, you want a security company that partners with you from the start. Involve them in your pre-start events such as state inspections, soft openings (if you own a dispensary) and early registration events. You want your security to know as much about your operations and facility as necessary. Invest in security the same as you would for banking, insurance, employees and a first-class facility. Employing professional security firms protects your assets and may lead to lower insurance premiums.

4. Is employee theft a big problem—and if so, how can it be prevented?

Employee theft costs American companies billions each year. Can it be stopped? Not totally, but the frequency and bottom-line impact can be stemmed through effective business security practices. Be vigilant. Hire good people. Look for signs of struggling employees or those living beyond their means. Use human and automated monitoring systems. Maintain stringent and limited access controls, electronic inventory surveillance, cash transaction logs and conduct frequent inventory and currency audits.

5. Can you speak to your decision of arming your guards?

I get this question from clients all the time. Bri-Bet only pursues contracts where armed officers are preferred. This is for their protection and the protection of your employees, facilities and assets. Bri-Bet is a family-owned business. We love our employees and credit them for our success. We want them going home to their families after every shift.

We’ve lost contracts in the past over this issue, but it’s our policy, so I guess you could say we “stick to our guns” at Bri-Bet and meet all firearm training and safety requirements.