By Steve Birkmeier
There’s no denying the tremendous evolution we’ve seen in the cannabis market over the last few years, and all signs point toward this expansion continuing from here. Spending on legal cannabis worldwide is expected to reach $57 billion by 2027, with North America’s spending projected to rise from $9.2 billion in 2017 to $47.3 billion in that time.
There are currently nine states across the country that have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana use, 22 that permit medicinal use and 15 that allow cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component derived from cannabis — leaving only five states with no laws regarding the substance. As more and more states are coming online from various levels of production, it is now the best time for integrators to truly understand the needs of this market.
Security plays a critical role in the success of facilities in this industry, with the main focus often on ensuring compliance. The approach taken can be separated based on the two subdivisions in the cannabis market: the production facilities, known as grows, and the retail side, known as the dispensaries.
In grows, we’re seeing a layered strategy that involves technologically advanced applications, such as video analytics, access control, license plate recognition, face recognition and perimeter security. The dispensaries are more traditional in that they often use video management software (VMS) integrated with access control and intrusion. This approach adds another layer of intelligence to the equation because stakeholders can view the video associated with access and intrusion events, enabling them to gain a better understanding of an event. Some grows are adding an additional layer through the inclusion of video analytics, which automates the identification of potential anomalies and detection of security events.
But for both aspects of the industry, the general use of video monitoring services is both required and crucial, and users must be able to extract relevant information and streamline events from this video to save time and enhance responses. Intelligent solutions must prioritize resource management, enabling various security components to merge into a common picture and increase situational awareness.
While security is certainly a significant factor facilities in the cannabis industry must consider, another exciting component of this market is the operational applications that can be tied into a video platform. At the end of the day, this is a business, and producers must also overcome challenges with building automation, electrical consumption, quality control, manufacturing machinery and more.
For example, meeting compliance standards involves using track and trace software, also known as seed-to-sale, which follows the plants throughout the cultivation process. Users can now integrate this into VMS as an event, which is tied to the video and becomes searchable by data points. Additional alarms can be incorporated, such as temperature and humidity controls, creating a truly universal and collaborative solution.
And it won’t stop here: as the cannabis market continues to develop, security integrators will customize their service portfolios to accommodate a variety of needs, including the blending of technologies in security, logistics and automation to help growers meet evolving challenges.