Sowing the Seeds of Safety and Security 

By Justin Wilmas, Netwatch

There’s no denying the tremendous evolution we’ve seen in the cannabis market over the last few years; all signs point toward this demand continuing to increase. The U.S. cannabis market is projected to reach $72 billion annually by 2030, according to New Frontier Data.

Currently, 21 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana use, and 38 permit medicinal use. As more and more states come online with various levels of production and need, it is more important than ever to explore this market’s security and monitoring requirements. 

Security plays a critical role in the success of facilities in this industry, mainly because of security and compliance. Production and retail facilities rely on video monitoring services to monitor product from seed-to-sale and ensure safety throughout. Video helps stakeholders extract relevant information and events from captured video to save time and enhance responses. Intelligent video solutions take it a step further: prioritizing resource management, enabling various security components to merge into a typical picture, and increasing situational awareness. 

Challenges Abound 

From needing to provide a sitemap detailing security to ensuring various locations are correctly set up for security monitoring – compliance regulations are tedious, evolving quickly, and may vary from state to state, county to county. In cultivation operations, video surveillance cameras are required throughout, assigned to plants and specific areas within the manufacturing facility. It can be challenging for growers and sellers to keep up with the changing laws and regulations. 

Additionally, there is a need to protect a cultivation facility or dispensary from criminal action and liability. Some cannabis businesses may be targets for various types of crime, whether inside the facility or on the premises. With high levels of footfall in and out of dispensaries, it is essential to be protected from claims. 

Cannabis providers rely on robust security infrastructures to address these needs, and more often than not, they include video surveillance and security guards. But COVID-19 changed the landscape as more businesses looked to add intelligent technologies to protect sites that were now unmanned. Concurrently, contract guard companies endured challenging times due to the difficulty of hiring and retaining personnel and the rise in wage rates and health insurance costs.   

Today, companies are looking at finding ways to leverage both services. With technology designed to augment guards, there is an opportunity to embrace a process that will bring both together.  

The introduction of AI supports greater automation and augments the efforts of security personnel on the ground, allowing them to focus on more crucial tasks rather than everyday operations. By combining AI with guards, businesses gain an effective force multiplier that works to ensure the highest levels of security.  

One such solution that can be highly valuable is proactive video monitoring. Proactive video monitoring (PVM) empowers security personnel to focus on high-impact activities while an AI-based engine “watches” for potential security events. By monitoring, engaging in intervention, and reporting, PVM is proven to be highly effective at stopping criminal activity.   

PVM also augments on-site security staff by increasing their ability to see, hear and identify danger. Hazardous activities — such as responding to a dangerous situation — can now be managed by PVM. This approach significantly reduces liability and ensures the continued safety of on-site personnel. It can also help support less desirable jobs, such as working the night shift, where perimeter rounds are completed several times each hour. Using PVM removes the monotonous, sometimes risky work and leaves more strategic duties to your security guards.  

But there is far more to these types of intelligent video solutions.  

PVM detects threats and unauthorized activity and, within seconds, can alert a highly-trained intervention specialist to verify the incident-in-progress. Intervention specialists assess and confirm the danger over a live video feed from a remote location during a security event. When necessary, intervention specialists can proactively intervene by speaking directly to the intruder through a live audio warning advising the individual that they are being recorded and should leave the premises immediately.

These interventions can deter loiterers and other potential criminals from proceeding further onto the premises. In 98 percent of cases, a live warning through an intervention specialist will stop criminals from proceeding. 

Unlike traditional methods of video monitoring which are prone to signaling false alarms, PVM can reduce false alarm frequency by verifying actual actions through intelligent technology and the experience of highly-trained specialists. When necessary, operators will immediately alert the responding police department and management and provide insight into what is occurring to ensure response teams have the correct information at the right time.  

Though on-site monitors and third-party remote monitoring companies can successfully initiate an alarm should an incident occur, PVM companies can assist a cannabis business even further. When contracting with a PVM company, cannabis businesses can customize their alarm response and set pre-determined protocols for the PVM company, depending on the situation and threat level. These protocols may include live auditory interventions, alerting management of the cannabis business, and notifying law enforcement, depending on the incident. 

The Heart of the Solution 

“Proactive” is the driving force behind PVM and what sets it apart from traditional offerings. PVM always has an active presence behind the scenes, observing the situation. Organizations can rest assured they won’t need to pick up the pieces left in the wake of a destructive and potentially costly crime.  

PVM is effective at preventing criminal activity by monitoring, engaging in live intervention, and reporting. An intervention specialist is automatically alerted in real-time of risks caught by the built-in intelligence. If an intruder is detected, the operator can communicate with them directly to tell them to leave. PVM delivers numerous benefits that should be noticed.  

The video surveillance market is full of outdated solutions and reactionary measures that leave businesses with a steep bill to pay. Organizations can achieve guaranteed peace of mind by investing in proactive solutions.    

For those businesses in the cannabis market looking to supplement their security operations, PVM is a solution you should consider. With the experts handling all the heavy lifting, organizations can focus on growth. And, right now, in the cannabis industry, the sky’s the limit in terms of opportunity. 

Netwatch has been preventing crime and protecting assets for cannabis businesses and other organizations with proactive video surveillance solutions for almost two decades. The company’s technology and processes are designed to streamline the flow of live incidents across thousands of sites, enabling faster response with no nuisance alarms. 

Driven by machine learning, the system continually improves, increasing accuracy and quality. This enables faster reaction times and a reduction in false alarms, allowing Netwatch intervention specialists to work to the highest industry standards, including the strictly regulated conditions in the cannabis industry.  

Learn more about our unique approach by visiting our website at 

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