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Cannabis security plans in license applications carry one of the highest point values and play a meaningful role towards applicant’s success.  Cannabis Dispensary applications, as well as craft, grow applications require extensive rules, regulations and processes, and procedures as it pertains to on-premise security. All of these cannabis businesses are heavily regulated on a state-by-state basis, which requires effective security processes. This includes thorough planning and specific detail on your security policies related to customers, employees, and emergencies. The applicant’s security systems can make or break the security plan as a whole.

Umbrella Security Systems has delivered successful (in some cases perfect scores) cannabis security plans for several states in both medical and adult-use cannabis applications.  Choosing the right partner who has the technical aptitude, commercial experience, and knowledge of the cannabis industry is vital. This partnership will pay dividends during the application process and beyond, establishing the proper security system specifications, policies, and culture for your cannabis business.  

Take it from one of Umbrella Security Systems’ satisfied clients:


I’d like to thank you and let you know we were beyond impressed with the work that you provided for us. We had two Cannabis attorneys say that this security plan and the floor plan that you did for us was the most impressive that they have ever seen.

I thank you very much for working with our budget and giving our dreams in the cannabis industry a chance we couldn’t have gotten a competitive application in without you.

You should raise your prices, seriously people will pay for this and I will be at the front promoting your security firm, which I already have to at least 15-20 people in the industry so look for my referrals!

Win or lose we will be in touch in May!

Thank you!!

Fahad Qasim

Owner, The Grove Dispensary

Attention to detail for any cannabis security system is critical for compliance. To outline our perspective, we are going to take Illinois as an example. Why does the security plan (exhibit h) account for so many points (26%) in the Illinois cannabis license application? Below is an overview of the licensing regulations cited by the Illinois Department of Financial Professional Regulation (IDFPR). 

“Provide a plan that at a minimum: (i) accounts for the prevention of theft or diversion of cannabis, (ii) demonstrates safety procedures for dispensing organization agents and purchasers, (iii) establishes procedures, equipment, and designs that provide for the safe delivery and storage of cannabis currency, and (iv) demonstrates that all security procedures, equipment, and designs are and will be kept compliant with all applicable laws and administrative rules, including and in particular those set forth in Section 15-100 of the Act .”


The Cannabis Industry Is Largely Cash Only

An additional security factor is the frequent need to operate on a cash basis. Many banks fear committing unknown infractions until federal regulations can catch up to marijuana legalization (via Forbes). While more than 400 banks began working with cannabis businesses in 2018, there are still many cannabis dispensaries that have to store large amounts of cash on their premises.


How will Law Enforcement Adapt

There is no roadside sobriety test or ‘Weed Breathalyzer‘ to detect the specific quantity of marijuana usage like breathalyzer tests used by officers who suspect a driver is impaired by drinking alcohol


Prohibiting The Sale Of Cannabis To Underage Youth Is A High Priority

Cannabis has been categorized to be a ‘gateway drug’ for youths as a bridge to experiment with other highly addictive and illegal substances. The main priority is to keep kids safe as states begin legalizing the sale of marijuana.


The Monitoring of Packaging, Sales and Storage

Every step in the chain-of-custody must be accounted for with video surveillance recordings. Transporting marijuana and like-products for distribution is a high-risk business. Stolen products while the staff is distracted or a customer is in a blind spot can also be a massive issue. Preventing burglaries is a significant point of emphasis for cannabis facilities. The statistics for such crimes only seem to be growing. It’s a high-risk, cash-driven business, and it needs to be treated that way.

That’s why the security plan is an essential and meaningful part of cannabis business licensing applications in Illinois and throughout other states with legalized marijuana.

Having the right security technology, training, processes, and people in place are hugely important. Having a sophisticated security system can also help reduce your overall insurance cost. It can also aid in filing an insurance claim; if you don’t have the appropriate security technology to audit what happened during a crime, then you might be out of pocket for it.

“Traditional security system providers, in my experience, tend to shy away from the cannabis industry. Umbrella has done consulting and security for the federal government, the Chicago Transit Authority, the United Center, the National Football League, Retail Businesses and manufacturing facilities. I see this as a growing emerging industry, but the reality is when you work with a lot of law enforcement, perception can be miscued and anything that’s new, some people aren’t super comfortable with. So there is a stigma still in the security industry as it relates to helping out cannabis businesses.”

Untitled design 11 min Cannabis Security Plans for License Applications

Umbrella Security Systems is proud to serve the cannabis industry as a security consultant and solutions provider. In contrast, many other security firms shy away from the cannabis industry due to the stigma of marijuana. Although many marijuana dispensaries are selling medical-use products, some security firms consider the industry a risk for their reputation. In this case, some security firms that could handle the unique requirements for cannabis access control might decline clients based on their association with the industry.

5 Sections Of Your Cannabis Security Plan 


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1.) Security Compliance Narrative

This section should be between 20-25 pages and consist of all the check-boxes of compliance related to securing your cannabis dispensary. It should include all of your security processes, procedures, and safeguards. This includes but is not limited to:



Emergency Operating Procedures


Active Shooter Response Plan


Crowd Control Plan


Information Security Plan (cybersecurity plan)


Security System Maintenance & Backup


Employee Background Checks and Additional Safeguards


Restricted Access Areas


Community Security & Outreach Program


Security Equipment Maintenance Program


Vault Lockdown & Theft Prevention


Cannabis Disposal


Transaction Security


Cannabis Goods Display Security


Cannabis Storage


Dispensary Site Access & Capacity

What is the customer flow upon entrance & exit?


Site Construction & Change Notification

How are you going to handle changes in the security plan after you get your conditional license?


And Much More...

Free Advice on your Cannabis Security Plan

2.) Security System Descriptions

This section should be in the 8-12 page range. It is a system-by-system breakdown of all your security system types. This should cover your video surveillance systems, access control systems, and intrusion/alarm systems. Also, make sure to detail what your dispensary’s security standards are within each system description. Cover all security compliance definitions and outline a system diagram for each layer of your security system. 

Untitled design 43 Cannabis Security Plans for License Applications

3.) Security System Floorplans

These are security system engineering designs that are an overlay to your established dispensary floor plan. You need to account for the following sections. This section will not count towards your 50-page application limit.

  • Interior Video Surveillance
  • Exterior Video Surveillance
  • Interior Access Control
  • Exterior Access Control
  • Interior & Exterior Intrusion Systems

I met Umbrella Security Systems at several events in which they spoke about security plans for Cannabis Dispensary Applications. Their insight provided me so much value we hired them for a social equity application. Their 50-page security plan deliverable was outstanding and not only cited every regulation by the state but its composition was that of a culture of security and transparency for new Cannabis Businesses. We look forward to using their expertise in future applications. I would highly recommend Umbrella to anyone who needs security.


Chicago, IL

John D Brooks

Attorney , Vermont Law

4.) Description of Security Vendors

This section should be in the 5-8 page range. The security vendors section will be an overview of all the selected private security firms who are a part of the design of your dispensary security system and who will be a part of operations. This should be a break-down and profile of each organization’s core capabilities, roles in the pre-construction and post-construction of the dispensary.

video surv 1 Cannabis Security Plans for License Applications

5.) Private Security Contracts

“Provide a copy of a contract with a private security contractor licensed under Section 10-5 of the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint, Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004 (225 ILCS 447/10-5”

We anticipate this section to be a highly misinterpreted clause for dispensary and craft growing facility applicants. Our interpretation is that this doesn’t mean that a single vendor contract should cover all of these services. We’ve been in the security industry for nearly 20 years. We’ve never seen an alarm company that does fingerprint screening, a fingerprint screening vendor who installs locks, or a locksmith who does private investigations or supplies armed security guards. It is unlikely that a single contract/company will provide the necessary security quality in every area. 

We believe it is advantageous for adult-use dispensary applicants to have contracts in place for EVERY license and core competency. Security firms should be thoroughly vetted. Applicants should conduct due diligence before signing a letter of intent to supply security services, conditional on their license approval.  Contracting a cannabis IT services company can help protect customer data as well. 


Telling Your Security Story & Proving Your Commitment To Security

In all exhibits, applicants should be providing detail on their compliance in every area. The last section is conveying why they should be the lucky ones to get a license. This is done by telling your story.

What is the fundamental framework of your culture of security? Security is much more than cameras, guards, and guns. It’s how you are training employees to interact with your customers. It should be a day one enforcement on how you’re engaging people from the beginning. If you’re not training your employees on the culture of security, you’re going to run into problems long term.

Is Your Cannabis Business Secure?

The rewards for launching a cannabis dispensary are many, but it may draw risks for which you must prepare. Do you have a reliable cannabis dispensary security plan in place that keeps your business safe and regulators satisfied? Umbrella Security Systems offers a full menu of high-quality security features to protect your business and help you throughout the cannabis licensing and application process. Get in touch with us to talk to our elite security professionals about your cannabis dispensary’s unique security needs.


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