Cannabis real-time security monitoring for dispensaries and cultivators

November 3, 2022

Cannabis products represent a high-value target for employee theft and shoplifters alike.

Regulators know this and have made strong security plans part of the licensing process for cannabis business operators. In this article, we will go through everything you need to know about cannabis real-time security monitoring.

This article is part of Solink’s ongoing series on cannabis security.

Cannabis security system requirements vary by location. However, locks, alarms, and video surveillance are key requirements everywhere. Before choosing a real-time video security surveillance solution for your cannabis operation, please consult with a legal expert familiar with the local legislation. You can also find the latest information at a cannabis convention near you.

Live security camera surveillance as part of your cannabis security plan

The legal requirements for your cannabis security plan depends on your jurisdiction. This is especially true for the requirements placed on cannabis video security monitoring.

Here are some examples of this variation:

  • Frames per second:
    • The minimum frames per second (fps) required to obtain a license can be as low as 3 fps (e.g., Illinois).
    • The minimum frames per second (fps) required to obtain a license can beas high as 30 fps (e.g., Saskatchewan, CA)
  • Video footage storage:
    • The amount of video footage you need to maintain can be as short as 14 days (e.g., Michigan).
    • The amount of video footage you need to maintain can be as long as 4 years (e.g, Pennsylvania).
  • Minimum video quality:
    • The minimum resolution of cameras in several states is 640 x 470 pixels (e.g., Washington).
    • The remaining states tend to require 1280 x 720 pixels (e.g., California).

If you aim to meet the most stringent requirements, then you should expect a significant financial commitment. However, meeting the most lenient of these requirements would likely leave you with an insufficient level of cannabis real-time security monitoring.

For example, a resolution of 640 x 470 pixels would make it difficult to recognize the face of an intruder up close and impossible from 20 feet away. If your cameras record 3 fps, you won’t get good evidence of shoplifting to bring to the police. Keeping video footage for only 14 days will hinder your ability to use your cannabis real-time video security surveillance system to improve employee training or store layout.


Where do you need live security surveillance in your dispensary?

States and provinces have specific requirements for where commercial security cameras need to be installed as part of your cannabis real-time security monitoring system. However, most require comprehensive coverage of all areas except break rooms and washroom facilities.

Here’s a list of locations that need to be covered by cameras:

  • Anywhere cannabis is weighed, packed, stored, purchased, sold, on display, and loaded or unloaded
  • Anywhere cash is handled, including the point of sale (POS), the count room, and over the safe
  • In all secure storage rooms and the manager’s office
  • Showing all entrances, exits, and windows
  • Where your surveillance footage is stored

Sign up for a free demo today and see what Solink can do for you.

What technology do you need for cannabis real-time security surveillance?

The basic regulations are outlined above, but obtaining a license is only the first step in comprehensive cannabis live video security monitoring.

cannabis dispensary security plan article illustration of clipboard

Solink provides an integrated VSaaS solution for the cannabis industry. By working with existing cameras, your POS, and more, we can help you get the most value from your business security system.

The Solink platform shows you what you need to see without scouring hours of video footage. You can use motion search to see every instance of a person in an area where a product was stolen. You can use events-based search to find discount abuse and other forms of employee theft.

Once your cash and products are secured, you can unleash Solink to optimize business performance. Heat maps, for example, will help you optimize your store layout.

You can do all of this and more remotely on your mobile device by using Solink’s cloud video surveillance solution!


Why do you need real-time cannabis video surveillance for your dispensary?

You probably installed cameras to meet regulatory expectations. It’s a key step in licensing that all cannabis cultivators and dispensaries must meet. However, regulatory compliance is only one of the reasons you need live video security monitoring for your cannabis operation.


You cannot obtain a cannabis license without complying with your local regulations. Your cannabis security plan will be scrutinized carefully before you are allowed to start operating.

However, compliance should only be your first concern. An effective cannabis video surveillance system will continue to bring value long after your license is framed on the wall.

Employee and customer safety

cannabis live security surveillanceCannabis is a high-value product. There is also a thriving black market, so thieves know that they can turn your merchandise into cash. That puts a target on your company.

Most criminals will be content to shoplift, which will only hurt your bottom line. However, some will think larger, up to and including armed robbery. With an inventory that could be valued in the millions and, potentially, cash on premise, you need to be thinking about the safety of your employees and customers.

A visible cannabis real-time security monitoring system will act as a deterrence. Making sure that video is being reviewed with the help of Solink and taking a hard line on theft add strength to your deterrence system. Employees and customers will feel more comfortable in your business when they see that you care about their safety.

Inventory monitoring

Employee theft is a struggle for all businesses. This is even more true in cannabis where the product is high value.

Using Solink’s motion search feature makes it much easier to find video evidence of employee theft. Linking this loss prevention management process with appropriate signage detailing your employee theft policy will help create a trustworthy work culture.

Revenue optimization and customer satisfaction

Single-item invoices can be a sign that customers are not finding the product they want. This can stem from a passive sales staff who aren’t engaging with customers enough or in the right way. Solink can help you find these instances. This helps you identify employees in need of further training.

Heat maps of your storefront show where customers tend to gravitate. Many cannabis dispensaries use a traditional retail layout with the highest value products at the front or near the POS (e.g., Cova, a dedicated cannabis POS system). However, cannabis customers can tend to go to lower traffic and quieter areas of the store.

Looking at heat maps and then flipping your inventory to match where customers go will improve your revenue and customer satisfaction scores simultaneously. That’s a win-win.

cannabis industry iconography

Cannabis real-time video security surveillance that makes you money

You need a video security system to obtain a cannabis license. Your video surveillance system will deter most criminals and help to catch the rest. However, that’s only the start.

By using Solink’s VSaaSsolution, you can unleash the full value of your security cameras. Solink will help you reduce employee theft, discount abuse, shoplifting, and more. It’ll also be there to help you optimize your store layout and sales approach for improved customer service and higher revenue.

Sign up for a free demo today and see what Solink can do for you.