Medical cannabis stored in glass jars

Cannabis Storage & Security FAQs

Cannabis storage and security are a big deal when ensuring optimal protection for your products and your people.

Take a look at some responses to frequently asked questions about cannabis storage and security from CustomVault Convergint.

What is a cannabis vault?

It is a DEA-compliant physical storage installation that keeps your cannabis products safe and secure from intrusions. With the right company to design and install the cannabis vault, you could see security benefits as good as any installed for the military.

Why might I need a cannabis vault?

State and federal regulations dictate that physical security measures be firmly in place at both cannabis dispensaries and growers. The vault is often the cornerstone of that effort, specifically designed to keep your product and/or cash protected. 

Notably, the right storage option can also provide the correct environmental conditions to keep your products fresher for longer. You should store cannabis away from direct sunlight while maintaining the proper temperature and humidity.

What are DEA requirements for cannabis storage?

Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug by the DEA, and therefore in the eyes of the agency, security measures must abide by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and specifically 21 CFR 1301.72. As such, physical storage must afford protection against surreptitious entry (30 man-minutes), forced entry (20 man-hours), lock manipulation (20 man-hours) and radiological techniques (20 man-hours). Where small quantities permit, this can be best achieved with a certified safe that is bolted or cemented in place. Larger quantities, however, dictate the need for a vault per the Code of Regulations. Parameters are specified in great detail, including wall thickness and steel rod reinforcements, and modular vaults best address all regulatory requirements. This option also affords greater flexibility in installation and supports the ability to expand or move secure storage as needed. No matter what physical security plan is implemented, complementing it with access control/alarm and close monitoring is critical to compliance. Ultimately, results are optimized via a layered system of physical and electronic security.

Woman's hands holding cannabis buds in a jar

Why does the DEA consider cannabis a Schedule I drug?

The U.S. DEA classifies cannabis and its derivatives as a Schedule I controlled substance, as the agency asserts that it has a high chance of being abused or causing addiction while having no FDA-approved medical use in the United States. 

Should my cannabis vault be complemented by video recording?

In most states, video recording and video cameras are required both inside and outside of the facility. States may require video recording and monitoring of:

  • All doors
  • The parking lot
  • Cargo doors for receiving product
  • All registers
  • Entry point of the vault
  • Common areas

That said, individual state requirements will vary in terms of specifics and enforcement. For instance, some states also require you to keep the video recordings for a certain period of time, such as 30 to 90 days.

Green and white cannabis sign on a building

What alarm systems do I need for my cannabis storage and security?

You must have an intrusion alarm linked to your vault, per federal regulations, that is monitored and alerts authorities to respond to an intrusion.

States may require an alarm system for doors, windows, and cargo areas. When you have an alarm system in place, your monitoring service will guard any possible intrusion.

What is a cannabis security officer?

Cannabis security officers are focused on patrolling the premises of a cannabis facility to ensure that unauthorized access is prevented.  

What is cannabis process security?

Process security in the cannabis industry basically translates to standard operating procedure. As such, it dictates how your employees will interact with the physical environment of the dispensary.

You will need to determine:

  • Which employees should have access to the vault or other sensitive areas
  • Who can set or deactivate the building’s alarm system
  • How you deliver money to the bank and who delivers it
  • How you transport product from one location to another and who handles it once it arrives
  • Who reports to whom in a chain of command
  • What to do in the event of theft or burglary on the premises
  • How your employees should handle unruly customers
  • Who to call in an emergency
  • What to do during severe weather emergencies

Many states require you to outline these processes as part of your cannabis security plan ahead of receiving a license to operate your business.

What else will I need for my cannabis storage and security plan?

Your application license will require a comprehensive cannabis security plan to which you will likely need to attach the following:

  • Blueprints of the facility, including the location of the vault and exit doors
  • Names and numbers of contractors hired to build the facility
  • Names of numbers of stakeholders, including owners and investors
  • Employee manual, including hiring and firing procedures
  • Photos of the site you plan to build or renovate

Young woman holding an open jar of marijuana buds

Who can help me design, plan, and build a cannabis vault & implement necessary security measures?

CustomVault Convergint can help design and implement a robust cannabis storage and security infrastructure, leveraging our decades of experience in the industry. 

Our staff can work with you to compile the documentation you need to fulfill state and federal requirements and help you secure a state license. We take a consultative approach to this process, and we’ll give you practical, relevant information and guidance.

Our planning process aims to ensure the construction of the best possible modular vault for your cannabis dispensary or facility.Are you still interested? Contact CustomVault Convergint, and we’ll start discussing your needs.