Smoke Security and Cannabis Business Compliance

What is Smoke Security and is it Compliant?

With the unique nature of the cannabis industry and the fact that cannabis is still considered a high-profile crime target, businesses are wisely investing in comprehensive security frameworks to protect their investment from potential threats. But for some businesses traditional security cameras, remote monitoring, building fortification, and physical guards just aren’t enough. As a business owner, your two main priorities for security are protecting your business and staff, but nearly as important is maintaining compliance with your local regulatory body.

A dispensary in Edmonton was recently the subject of a compliance infraction that resulted from an inspection by Alberta’s cannabis regulators who discovered the business had installed about $20,000 worth of security equipment called “SmokeCloak” devices, commonly referred to as Smoke Security. The owner clearly had positive intentions in mind and was simply looking for an innovative solution to business security, but the Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC), considered it to be out of compliance.

What is Smoke Security?

Smoke Security cannabis dispensary complianceSmoke security is a trigger-based mechanism that releases clouds of heavy smoke into a business in a matter of seconds. The smoke carries a unique DNA signature that ends up settling on the intruders clothing and skin, effectively “tagging” them at the scene of the crime. The DNA signature allows forensic investigators to identify the unique signature at the scene of the crime, with the ability to take the same signature off of the clothing and/or skin of an identified suspect. While the DNA signature does create an undeniable link of an obtained suspect to the scene of the crime, it does create some limitations to your broader security plans.

Is Smoke Security Compliant?

Upon initial inspection, the AGLC ruled this to be out of compliance and the business was subject to fines and altercations to their building to meet the security compliance requirements. Their reasoning, which is most certainly the biggest disadvantage of smoke security, was that once the smoke is deployed the security cameras are rendered ineffective due to a lack of visibility. Inversely, the thick clouds of smoke do make it extremely difficult for a criminal to navigate the inside of the building, adding a layer of difficulty to locating your business’ valuables. However, smart criminals will already know the layout of your business before arriving, so this lack of visibility would only slow them down.

One of the most important elements to solving crimes that have already been committed is the ability to review camera footage and record/store that footage for a certain period of time. The inability to review the security camera footage leaves investigators with less information to solve the crime. However, the DNA signature adds a highly valuable element to the search as it provides investigators with an undeniable tie to the crime scene, though that is only useful if a suspect is identified and detained in the first place.

After the dispensary filed an appeal with the AGLC, they reversed their decision and approved the dispensary’s smoke security, but that does not mean it’s within broader compliance requirements for other legal cannabis businesses. In the US, this is not a compliant practice. As of this instance, businesses in Canada may seek approval to use smoke security, but they must receive proper approvals prior to installation to remain compliant.

We at Helix Security believe that Smoke Security could play an effective role in deterring and solving crimes, but it’s not worth the cost of losing camera visibility of the crime in action. It could be more effective as a manually-controlled mechanism at the entrance/exit of the building, so as your Virtual Guard services remotely monitor your business around the clock, they can manually trigger the smoke at the entrance or exit of the crime, maintaining the security footage while tagging the individuals with the unique DNA signature.

Not sure what level of cannabis business security you need? Reach out to one of our security experts at Helix Cannabis Security for a FREE security consultation of your premises to help ensure your business security is effectively secured.

Have questions about cannabis business security or want to learn more about pricing? Contact us here! Formerly Security Grade Protective Services, Helix Cannabis Security provides end-to-end security services for licensed cannabis businesses or traditional industries.

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