Legal pot hot new security market—but ADT declines to partake
Voters in Washington State and Colorado last fall legalized the recreational use of marijuana—and created a new demand for security, with pot warehouses and stores in those states anxious to protect their valuable stash. However, according to a report from CNNMoney this week, the fact that pot sales are still illegal under federal law is creating some security hassles.
Not only is ADT refusing to provide security services to such businesses, citing federal law, but other security companies that do want to partake are finding it hard to get loans from banks, which are experiencing federal pressure, the report said.
That comes amidst a growing demand for security from pot dispensaries and warehouses, the report said. It said they’re targets because a pound of marijuana sells for $2,000 wholesale and—with pot sales illegal under federal law—business owners prefer transactions in cash.
“A robber who swipes the jars on display alone could make away with $20,000 of product, plus whatever stacks of bills are behind the counter,” the report said. As a consequence, it said, “a typical store has more than a dozen cameras, motion detectors, infrared sensors and flood lights. Some even line the ceilings with tripwire to avoid rooftop burglars sawing their way in.”
However, CNNMoney added, “some store owners who use ADT, the nation's largest security provider, say the company has dropped them in recent months.
Sarah Cohn, ADT director of media relations, told me, "ADT has made a policy decision not to sell security services to businesses engaged in the marijuana industry because it is still illegal under federal law."
But other security companies are stoked about protecting newly legitimate pot businesses, the report said. “The security needs create an opportunity for startups like Canna Security, a Colorado company currently expanding to Washington,” CNNMoney said.
Canna Security’s founder, Daniel Williams, told CNNMoney that footage from video security cameras shows that robbers targeting pot growers and stores sometimes rely on far-out methods.
He said footage included video of teenagers ramming an Audi through the door of a pot warehouse and a “cat burglar” who cut a hole in a warehouse roof to rappel down to the green loot. The robbers were foiled in both cases.
CNNMoney said the security demand is so great that Williams’ “employees are working 12-hour shifts every day, installing cameras and alarm systems across both states.”
His only problem is that his bank recently denied him a credit line to finance his company’s growth, even though it accepted his cash deposits, the report said.
“It gets frustrating when I get a whole new channel of business and funding isn't there to adjust to it,” Williams told CNNMoney.