Chris Anderson, Silvertrac Software

Over the past decade, states all over the country have been slowly legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis use. However, industry regulations continue to be confusing, especially since each state manages its own cannabis regulations.

In order to better understand where the cannabis industry is going and what it means for your security operation, let’s start with some general knowledge of where exactly the country sits on the topic.

Cannabis regulation is almost exclusively managed at the state level. At the federal level, cannabis is categorized as a Schedule 1 substance, grouped with drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. This creates obvious hesitation and concern for entering the industry.

Our goal here is to help shed some light on how you can get in on this $12+ billion industry (estimated to shoot up to $66+ billion by 2025) legally – if you decide it’s the right move for your business. Given the nature of the industry, there will continue to be an increasing need for security, and some of these bids are worth some good money!

It should be noted, Silvertrac does not take a political or ethical stance on the cannabis industry or use. We are just here to provide facts and information relevant to the physical security industry, should you choose to go after cannabis bids.

Where is it Legal

As of January 2020, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis use and 11 states (along with Washington DC) have legalized both medical and recreational cannabis use. Most notable are California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, the first four states to legalize recreational use in the country.

To see a visual of cannabis legalization in the US, check out this map created by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA).

In addition to the current legalized states, it is anticipated that another 6 states will likely vote to legalize recreational use in 2020.

Security Regulations

Because cannabis is regulated at the state level, it can be tricky to know exactly what regulations vendors have to abide by.

Silvertrac’s advice for anyone questioning what regulations apply to their business, regardless of what verticals they operate in, is to always assume the most strict regulations are the ones that you should follow.

In most instances, when dealing with security regulations, California’s laws and regulations are a great place to start. They are more often than not the leader in security standards. If you default to California, by the time your state comes around to upgrading their standards, you will likely already be compliant.

Here are a few resources on California standards to get you started:


Video Surveillance Requirements

While there are a few different video surveillance requirements between states, the one standard requirement for all legalized states is that there must be 24/7 video surveillance for all entrances and exits at any dispensary.

Other common video surveillance requirements include:

  • Minimum camera resolution
  • Minimum frames per second
  • Back-up systems & failure detection
  • Areas surveilled
  • Monitoring accessibility
  • Video retention times (45/90/120 days)

For more information on these different areas of video surveillance requirements, these 3 articles are a great place to start:

For premises specific regulations, see section 500 of the BCC Text of Regulations.

Other things to keep in mind when researching video surveillance for cannabis security are:

Cannabis Security Trends & Best Practices

Any time you’re trying to break into a new vertical, it’s important to keep up on best practices and trends. We have compiled just a few for you here, but you can always check-out Silvertrac Extra for updated security best practices in a number of verticals, including cannabis security.


Now that you have a foundation for entering the cannabis industry, it begs the question, is your guard management software ready to take on the challenge? Silvertrac sure is! Request a demo today to see how you can simplify your security operation to take on new opportunities.