How do you secure your place in the weed business?
- By Todd Kleperis
- Oct 01, 2017
Where is all the money in the marijuana
business going? Who is moving the cash
or product as it seems to be in the news
all the time? Here we share why it’s important
to your business that you know how
this is all happening.
Over the last two years, Hardcar Security has grown to more
than 20 clients and numerous awards for providing armored
truck services to the cannabis market place in California. Why
California and cannabis? California alone is slotted at becoming
the United States’ largest market by far, at a projected $3 billion
within the next five years. Other areas in the United States, such
as Colorado, may have been open earlier but no market will come
close to the size of California. So whether you are an A/C company,
security installation firm, plumber or electrician, you are
going to want to know more about this space.
Armoring the Weed
Why armored? “Bad things happen at bad times from bad people,”
is a quote from an admiral in Malaysia named Admiral
Aziz. It has been around even until today and describes the need
for armor perfectly. We chose this armored product because the
product can be insured and our employees, who are mostly veterans
of all U.S. military branches, won’t come home full of bullets.
Hardcar has lobbied and tried with the state a number of times
and will continue to push for armored in our space.
Currently, under the existing laws, only the product needs to
be locked in a box in the back of a vehicle. This minimum state
regulation keeps product safe but not the people carrying or delivering
it. Companies use trucks that are able to conceal the fact
they are armored. From SUVs to vans, most people would have
no idea that the truck next to them was carrying millions in cannabis
products or cash.
One lesson learned is that protocol and procedure tops all else
when dealing with the California Highway Patrol. The CHP has
done a fantastic job in recognizing how quickly this market is
evolving and has been quick to train officers know the need for
up-to-date documentation while the product is in transit.
For instance, say you are transporting product in the state of
California and your travel documentation is not updated with recent
product changes. How would a CHP officer know that the
product you have is not stolen or produced illegally? What if your
company had a truck stolen? How would you lock it down and
make sure your product and or cash are safe?
Drivers have been pulled over a number
of times and allowed to continue on down
the road because all material and paperwork
is up to date within seconds of our
trucks leaving locations. Remote management
software and solid road management
and inventory systems enable that to happen
seamlessly. Instant on or always on video
systems enable us to monitor our agents
and or interaction with others like CHP.
Planning for the Worst
and Expecting the Best
Numerous electronic measures now exist
for auto-interrupt and or climate control
remotely on rigs running in this space. One
thing to consider adding is climate control
alerts so that you’re always aware of the
product temperature where your cargo is
riding. More important may be a battery
backup cord, should your truck run out of
power and your cargo is getting hot in the
middle of the desert. That becomes critical
until your next rescue vehicle comes to
swap out things.
Securing the location should you have
to pull off the road becomes a bit trickier.
Hardcar rigs are up fitted with a number
of technological advances to thwart
thieves from trying to steal vehicles. More
importantly, GPS alone will not solve all
of the issues. This part of the business is
expensive and can run in the thousands of
dollars, so do your research. When people
think of armored trucks they would never
think FedEx has them, but they do.
FedEx Custom Critical runs a unique
and profitable section of the business with
medical deliveries and other time-sensitive
or temperature-sensitive products all over
the United States. The delivery of products
is changing and so are the laws on
how it is delivered. Whatever you do, surround
yourself with professionals who understand
how to keep procedures in place
and compliance at the front of everything
they do. Then hire a great legal team to
make sure you have all of the licenses and
applications in place to step onto this wild
carpet ride in your magic bus.
A plan of action might be something
you would really need if you are considering
entering into this space. Say you
have a transportation company now, how
would you do that? Seek out professionals
in this space and see how you might
work together. There are a few and make
sure they have every license that a regular
armored carrier has. A delivery firm may
not even be able to get insurance because
they can’t protect large amounts of cannabis
product from loss. Think about the
risks you are taking way in advance of doing
A comprehensive plan of action with
steps outlined would help, including:
- Route planning to avoid large areas
without escape routes.
- Scheduled maintenance done in advance
to not take the truck out of the rotation.
- Daily inspection of the vehicles to ensure
all technology is in working order.
- Route mapping software and delivery
information systems like roadnet.com,
Geotab and others.
- Create a technology plan to understand
your customer need. Ask questions
to the customer—do they need
refrigeration? Do they need RFID
tracking? Will the upcoming 2018
track and trace protocols be an issue to
your existing infrastructure?
- Supply Chain best practices to include
documentation of all anomalies.
- Safety and Security Training to ensure
risks of high value deliveries are minimized.
Overall, even with the best solid standard
operating procedures you still will
have things pop up in the cannabis business
that you might not expect in other
businesses, such as the occasional request
to move product to another state. (Federal
HUGE NO) Or, the Russian mobster who
meets you at 2 a.m., outside of a shady
building and says “We will do big business
together.” This is still the Wild West, and
yes, the pioneers did do well, but a lot of
those guys had arrows in their backs and
never came home. Our space like no other
has challenges that can be helped by security
So, if you have a consulting business in
security, a plumbing or A/C group, electricians
that know green houses or an alarm
company now is the time to start looking
at this space and working on getting into
customers. Now is the time to expand your
business and grow like a weed, so reach
out to us and let us know how we can help.
The market is huge and your company
should be getting a piece of this cookie.
(All puns intended.)
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Security Today.