Marijuana Security Strategies from Cradle to the Grave  

A marijuana security plan covers more than the time period from sowing the seed to selling the product. The plan itself plays a major role in a strategic security strategy designed to protect people, property, assets, brands, and, of course, marijuana. While architects of a marijuana security plan need to focus on the steps taken long before the cultivation phase and well after the transaction occurs, I can make the case that more time, resources, manpower, and strategy invested in pre-cultivation results in a more comprehensive, efficient, and effective marijuana security plan.

Seed to Sale

In the marijuana industry, the phrase “seed to sale” suggests that everything is covered, but that’s not necessarily true. You certainly need to address everything from growing to selling—the pathway, in supply chain terms. But supply chain pathway operations focus on much more, like production and logistics and the security technologies such as tracking and monitoring needed to coordinate these activities more effectively and concurrently. For the specific processes of seed to sale, the pathway follows the movement of marijuana internally at a grower/processer and externally as product travels to the dispensary and cash to the bank.

Cradle to the Grave

A holistic marijuana security plan covers from “cradle to the grave, ” which expands the range of security responsibilities to include product development (cradle), sourcing, transportation to the grower/processor, and movement after the sale, such as patient and customer safety. Additionally, security measures need to protect people outside your building who could be the victim of a crime because they are in possession of a Schedule 1 drug with a substantial street value. Also, you must ensure disposal (grave) of marijuana in a manner consistent with federal, state, and local laws so that waste is destroyed properly and rendered unusable.

A Chain Is Only as Strong as Its Weakest Link

A marijuana security plan creates clear, succinct, and measurable processes to safeguard product, people, and property—while incorporating supply chain pathway risk management strategies with specific guidelines that address all hazards, such as adulteration, contamination, corruption, theft, and diversion. The plan also should develop additional strategies for on-site protection from power outages, fire, chemical spills, trespassers, or criminal actions including physical security measures, security technologies, policies and procedures, personnel practices, emergency management, incident reporting, and risk mitigation guidelines applicable to the people, product, property, and supply chain pathway.

Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail

To get a complete picture of your security profile, you should schedule a professional assessment that will evaluate the technical, physical, personnel, and procedural security measures currently in place at your place of business. You’ll find out what you’re doing well and where you’re exposed to unnecessary risk as well as receive recommendations and strategic considerations with next steps to protect critical components of your processes—especially where vulnerabilities currently exist. Also, this assessment will identify what, if any, security and safety measures or systems are needed now or should be introduced at a later date.

Nothing Fits Better Than a Tailor Made Plan

We can also work with you to construct a tailor made marijuana security plan that addresses specific areas of concern, such as transportation, storage, access control, credentialing, security officers, cameras, alarms, and internal theft, and provides you with a planned response and recovery in case the unexpected happens.

Do you have a marijuana security plan to protect your people, property, permit, and product? All plans start with an assessment to ensure your operations reflect best practices in safety, security, and emergency management and protect against all hazards, such as a crime, weather, accident, or utility failure.

We can design a plan that’s right for your culture and, most importantly, protects your people. Contact me, Mike Verden, Owner and CEO of The Lake Forest Group, at [email protected] or 312.515.8747 to find out more—or share this article with anyone who needs to create a marijuana security plan to safeguard their business, employees, customers,  and assets.

Arena and Stadium Security Requires Protecting People, Property, and Assets

The tragic event this week in Manchester, England at an arena filled with families and children attending a concert reminds us of the evil of terrorism. The attack by a suicide bomber was Europe’s 13th terrorist incident since 2015. As ISIS claims responsibility, it calls for supporters to strike anywhere and with whatever weapons possible—vehicle, firearm, or explosive—showing us once again that this danger is real with no signs of going away. My professional experiences have taught me how to effectively plan, prepare and implement multi-disciplinary security measures to counter this threat. Remember, security has to be right all the time, but the terrorist only needs to be right once.

High Profile = High Risk   

Large-scale venues, such as an arena in Manchester, stadium in Paris, or major league ballpark in the U.S., are prime targets due to the high volume of people in a condensed area. A terrorist who wants to inflict as much damage as possible to numerous victims is drawn to these types of facilities, especially a high-profile site like an iconic sports venue. Protecting buildings and properties this big is no easy task but risk can be controlled and lives can be protected with the right combination of knowledge, experience, and resources. The key to safeguarding a large piece of real estate is the strategic placement of security assets, which can only be learned from real world experience.          

Your Plan Needs to be Tailored, Customized, Reasonable, and Effective

After years of protecting large-scale operations and major events on a global stage with both the Secret Service and as a security consultant, I understand that a large-scale venue security plan requires appropriate countermeasures to mitigate the various types of hazards and ensure the safety of both the people attending the event and the operation of the venue. With that understanding, a security plan needs to be uniquely tailored to the environment and culture of the property. The Lake Forest Group’s security planning follows a developed and still evolving process based on the 35+ years of experience in law enforcement, security, legal, and human resources of our team.

The Six Pillars of Large-Scale Venue Security Design You Must Consider

The design, creation, and implementation of a large-scale venue security plan begins with an on-site assessment of the site to evaluate risk in six crucial areas:

  1. Personnel security: chain-of-command, manpower, staffing, posts, and supervision
  2. Systems technology: alarms, access control, cameras, monitoring, X-ray screening, metal detectors, and command center capabilities
  3. Physical security: fencing, gates, barriers, locks, windows, and hardware
  4. Processes: security policies, operational protocols, access control, parking, transportation, player/performer protection, crowd control, and guest management
  5. Emergency preparedness: emergency management, incident response, lockdown, shelter, evacuation, and relocation
  6. Liaison with critical third parties and first responders
Leveraging All of the Assets and Resources of the Federal Government

Given the current nature of the terrorist threat and the severity of the consequences associated with many potential attack scenarios, the private sector will need to look to organizations within the U. S. government for intelligence information at critical times. In order to offer you maximum protection, The Lake Forest Group works in collaboration with international, federal, state, and local entities to convene and schedule meetings; develop, write, and disseminate security plans, emergency management procedures, continuity of operations plans, roles and responsibilities of agencies and private sector partners, and counter surveillance plans, among others; and provide daily on-the-ground assistance to meet our client’s goals and objectives and produce a safe and positive environment for participants, guests, employees, and all in attendance.

A Preventative Protective Security Methodology Balances Ends, Ways, and Means 

Ultimately, successful security planning and event management focus on a preventative protective security methodology that balances ends, ways, and means, using the appropriate personnel to identify and assess targeted threats and create enhanced countermeasures to mitigate risk. The Lake Forest Group has provided trusted counsel and thought leadership to our clients by successfully securing professional sports and collegiate stadiums and arenas, corporate offices, industrial plants, commercial properties, government venues, entertainment sites, medical facilities, and academic institutions across the country and around the globe.

Supply Chain Security Is Only as Strong as Its Weakest Link

A supply chain is only as strong or efficient as its weakest link, whether that’s a policy, process, or person. Successful supply chain security requires a constant effort to stay knowledgeable and current with the most effective security countermeasures against emerging threats while at the same time continuing to develop and run operations in the most effective and efficient way possible.

How do you know if your supply chain is at a best practice based level? Your specific strategic supply chain security objectives can be achieved after an independent and comprehensive assessment of the physical, technical, procedural, and personnel security measures currently in place. After conducting numerous supply chain engagements in the private sector, I have gained access to comparable organizations in both similar and disparate industries and can routinely benchmark those operations against yours—offering you valuable insight.

Trust the Process

When I assess your supply chain’s movement of materials out of the organization to the end consumer, I apply the benefits of best practice-based security disciplines, including a supply chain risk management strategy tailored specifically to your culture and environment. Because we know that successful supply chain security requires a change from managing individual functions to integrating activities into key processes, we show you how to exploit existing assets through improved coordination.

In order to enhance supply chain security, you need to:

Conduct an on-site security survey of buildings and properties;

Examine risks, threats, and vulnerabilities affecting the supply chain;

Consider suggested modifications along with operational enhancements;

Develop additional strategies for protection from accidental and intentional theft, diversion, and tampering;

Create a detailed timeline to implement strategic recommendations; and

Accept continued support from a trusted security advisor.

The Wheels on the Truck Go Round and Round

A critical link to successful supply chain security focuses on ground and air transportation and the third-party companies that typically supply these services. After conducting a thorough process review of the carriers that are under contract and how each customer receives delivery of product, you’ll be able to develop cargo theft awareness and mitigation strategies for third-party carriers, further strengthening your security posture.

The screening of third-party suppliers and vendors should result in a list of approved providers with current data on standards, performance, areas of concern, or product-related issues. Also, all contractors, vendors, and third-party providers are responsible for providing current proof of successful background screening for their personnel who require access to the supply chain product.

Do As I Say and As I Do

Make sure you do what you say you’re going to do when it comes to your supply chain security strategy. It’s not enough to construct and distribute current best practice-based guidelines to all relevant internal and external entitiesyou must also ensure that these standards are clearly understood and followed completely.

When you implement a standardized process, you can mitigate risk on various levels, which is not only important for compliance reasons, but can also save you money. A coordinated, strategy-driven approach provides significant business benefits over time, such as operational improvement, fiscal efficiency, and decreased risk, and should be well defined and continuously reviewed, modified, and updated to ensure best-in-class industry supply chain security disciplines.

Do you have the resources, staffing, and expertise to plan, prepare, and implement a holistic supply chain security strategy within your organization? The Lake Forest Group is here to help. We’ll provide the necessary insight and hands-on advice that lead to tangible results—and help to ensure the integrity of your supply chain. To find out how we can address your particular security challenge, contact me at [email protected] or 312.515.8747. Or share this blog post with someone who wants to improve their security program.