Best Practices for Security Floor Plan Design

March 17, 2022
Failing to work with a professional security consultant regarding cannabis floor planning negatively impacts a cannabis business

A cannabis security floor plan serves as an artistic rendering of a facility’s layout and includes the location of all applicable security solutions. Security floor plans are an essential component for many cannabis business applications prior to build-out. For cannabis retail, processing, and cultivation facilities, a well-designed cannabis floor plan communicates that the applicant has reviewed every angle for which a business must protect itself from threats.

Utilizing a cannabis floor plan allows cannabis businesses to identify elements that may benefit or hinder security. Doing so creates a multi-faceted approach to security by not only considering necessary equipment but also the importance of having a proper building layout.

Best Practices

The first step in secure cannabis floor plan design is choosing and securing a commercial real estate location to lease or buy for a cannabis business. This will ultimately determine the base of a cannabis floor plan, providing hardline factors that will have to be taken into consideration, such as a number of entrances or windows. Dramatically altering a property’s floor plan severely impacts timelines, so a good amount of consideration needs to be given to the property’s permanent components. 

Next, consider the layout of these permanent building components along with rooms required of a cannabis facility, considering any local and state regulations. Position public restrooms near entrances and away from cannabis areas. Flower rooms in cultivation facilities and other areas where cannabis is stored or handled should be free of windows to ensure that cannabis is not visible from the outside. Each room should be thoughtfully planned out to coincide with the existing layout, levels of access, and required security. 

Think about using concentric circles of protection, wherein the first circle, or layer, of protection, is the building perimeter and additional layers are in place as you move inward through the building toward high-value assets. For example, separate vaults from other areas by using walls to create multiple barriers. Store dry goods and non-cannabis products, which hold less value than cash and cannabis, separately. Employing concentric circles of protection requires an intruder to penetrate a series of layers to reach their goal, providing better security for the cash, cannabis, and valuables on-site.

Common Errors

Keeping in mind the principle of concentric circles of protection, placing secure storage areas on exterior walls is a common error when crafting a cannabis floor plan. Placing a vault near a receiving door or along an exterior wall leaves high-value assets more susceptible to theft and/or diversion. The same principle should be applied to sensitive areas, including cannabis packing areas and areas where sensitive data may be stored. Indicating levels of access on a cannabis floor plan based on public, restricted, and limited access helps identify areas that require additional protections. 

Lastly, failing to work with a professional security consultant regarding cannabis floor planning negatively impacts a cannabis business, as well as not hiring an architect with experience in the cannabis industry. Cannabis security floor plans created without consulting professionals may not meet regulatory requirements. If the cannabis floor plan is not compliant or properly formatted, a cannabis business application could be denied. Additionally, even “legally compliant” floor plans may have gaps in security that increase the business’ risk of crime. Whether a floor plan is being designed for a cannabis business application, a build-out, or both, hiring professionals is the only way to ensure a quality, compliant, and secure design. 

About the author:Tony Gallo is a licensed security consultant and Managing Partner for Sapphire Risk Advisory Group, named one of the Top 100 ancillary companies in the cannabis industry. Tony has more than 30 years of retail experience in the Loss Prevention, Audit, Safety, and Risk/Emergency Management fields. He is considered one of the leading authorities in cannabis security, armed robberies and burglary investigations. Tony is a published author on cannabis security designs and over the last seven years has spoken at numerous cannabis business conferences across the country. 
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Compliance is the lifeblood of any cannabis operation. It assures you meet all mandates for state and local licensing requirements and for insurance.