Welcome to Part 2 in this series on New York’s cannabis retail dispensary regulations, covering security. In Part 1, we covered the rules around dispensary operations.
As we also previously summarized, on Friday, October 28, 2022, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) released its “Guidance for Adult-Use Dispensaries” (the Regulations). The Regulations are promulgated to provide guidance for Conditional Adult-Use Retails Dispensary (CAURD) licensees and applicants. Last week, at a hearing with the Cannabis Control Board, it was announced that 36 CAURD applicants were granted a license.
The information contained in the Regulations is a mix of substantive requirements, operational guidance and insight into the OCM’s plans for the issuance of licenses and operation of New York’s cannabis industry. As part of our series explaining and detailing the Regulations, this post provides licensees with guidance on the security measures and systems that must be operational in the premised utilized as a retail dispensary. Of course, this post cannot go into each and every mundane detail of the Regulations. Instead, it should serve as a basis for your knowledge going forward and as usual, we encourage you to review the Regulations and consult with an attorney.
Licensees must implement sufficient security measures to deter diversion, theft or loss of cannabis and cannabis products, theft or loss of cash, prevent unauthorized entrance into areas containing cannabis or cannabis products, and to ensure the safety of the licensee’s workers and the general public.
Per the OCM, the Licensee must implement and maintain a security plan which must include, at a minimum, a description of the measures a licensee will undertake to prevent unauthorized access to the licensed premises, protect the physical safety of all individuals on the premises, deter theft or loss of cannabis products, and prevent loitering.
During the design and buildout of the licensed premises, Licensees must ensure that both the inside, and the outside perimeter of the premises are sufficiently illuminated to facilitate surveillance and the trees, bushes and other foliage outside of the licensed premises must be maintained in such a way as to prevent a person from concealing themselves from sight.
The maintenance of the outside foliage may present a challenge because the Licensees cannot choose their location and the foliage may belong to another entity or town/city/state that prohibits the Licensee from removing or modifying such foliage. Watch for some interesting issues here.
Licensees are also required to have a security system at the dispensary that utilizes commercial grade equipment to prevent and detect diversion, theft, or loss. The system, at a minimum, must include a perimeter alarm that communicates with an internal designee and a third-party commercial central monitoring station when intrusion is detected and specific video camera surveillance and technology. The security alarms and video surveillance system must be able to remain operational during a power outage for a minimum of eight hours.
The Licensee must maintain video camera surveillance in all areas that may contain cannabis products, at all points of entry and exit, and in any parking lot. Video camera surveillance shall meet, at a minimum the following additional requirements:
- Video cameras shall have the ability to immediately produce a clear color still photo from any camera image (live or recorded);
- Video recordings shall allow for the exporting of still images in an industry standard image format (including .jpeg, .bmp, and .gif);
- Video cameras shall include a date and time stamp embedded on all recordings.
- Video cameras shall produce continuous recordings during hours of operation and at any time that cannabis products are handled, and motion activated recordings at all other times;
- The Licensee shall make available via remote access or login credentials for immediate viewing by the OCM or the OCM authorized representative upon request;
- All recordings shall be retained for at least 60 days;
- Licensees shall make an unaltered copy of video camera recording(s) to the Office upon request; and
- If a Licensee is aware of a pending criminal, civil or administrative investigation or legal proceeding for which a recording may contain relevant information, the Licensee shall retain an unaltered copy of the recording until the investigation or proceeding is closed or the entity conducting the investigation or proceeding notifies the licensee that it is not necessary to retain the recording.k9