Landlords leasing to a retail or commercial operation will also have to reassess their current insurance coverage
“Operators planning to enter the retail cannabis market should be setting up their security protocols now,” advises Thomas Gerstenecker, founder and CEO of 3|Sixty Secure, an Almonte, Ont.-based company that handles security needs from seed to sale for both cannabis producers and retailers across Canada and the U.S.
Ontario’s retail security requirements are still “in a state of flux, although we don’t believe they will be as stringent as they were for the licensed producers,” expects Gerstenecker, whose company’s services include conducting front-end security assessments, training staff, providing personal equipment and transporting product. Nevertheless, there’s going to be a “real-time crunch,” as the province anticipates the first private retail outlets could be opening as soon as April 1, 2019.
“Security considerations will likely be a component of the application process,” says Harrison Jordan, a Toronto-based cannabis lawyer and consultant who is helping clients apply for retail store licences in Ontario. Jordan agrees that applicants should be preparing a plan that shows their security measures will be adequate to mitigate theft and other risks.
“We don’t know how specific the requirements will be,” Harrison says. They might be open-ended, or they might require secure storage, surveillance systems, reinforced walls and so on.
“In any event, it would be prudent to partner with someone expert in security practices,” he recommends. Jordan says he expects the regulations covering cannabis stores could be posted at “any time,” so that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) can begin to accept and process licence applications in December.