Inside MSO: Marijuana Security Officer Training Class 20-007

Inside MSO: Marijuana Security Officer Training Class 20-007

Take a rare look inside marijuana security officer training during an interview with new recruit Dempsey VanderHeyden.

VanderHeyden:  (I Grew up in Belgium.) At the age of 18, I joined Airborne Commandos, The Green Berets of Belgium. I served there for three years, and never got deployed. I had my first back surgery from jumping out of planes at 21, (and then after that) back surgery, I went into sales, I’m gonna say for about three years. (Then) I joined The French Foreign Legion, because they would still take me with the back injury. The Belgian army wouldn’t. I served five years in the Airborne Division, 2nd Rep in The French Foreign Legion.

(I got into) the guard business, but unarmed security at a rehab (facility), (and) a security officer, a juvenile correction officer. Then I saw the ad. A requirement was a CPL (Conceled Pistol License), that was like the thing which I
have. So I was like, yeah, this sounds really good. Applied for it, got a phone call, and now we’re here. I’m excited.

Interviewer: What are some of the places you were at in the military?

VanderHeyden: I served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa.

Interviewer: Awesome. Thank you. And you did that for eight years?

VenderHeyden: Well, five, for those countries. Five years; two years in Africa, about a year in Iraq, and maybe eight months in Afghanistan.

Interviewer: Awesome. Thank you.

VanderHeyden: You’re welcome.

MSO is proud to have Dempsey on the team! His exemplary military record and training, with overseas experience, is exactly what we look for in marijuana security officer recruits.

Dempsey comes to MSO with skill in firearms and tactics from his time in the military, as well as civilian security experience.  This gives him a great background for cannabis security.

Does Your Cannabis Security Company Have the Right Insurance?

Cannabis business owners face pressure from all sides.  State regulations, local regulations, and heavy competition that may want to sabotage your business.  With all of the things you have to worry about, your cannabis security company shouldn’t be one of them.

Choosing the right security company can be a challenge.  So, one of the things you should look for is that they cannabis-specific insurance with the right amount of coverage.

Many security company owners that transition into the cannabis industry fail to realize that most traditional insurance companies won’t cover cannabis operations.  Thus, they may be completely uninsured in a high risk industry. 

The next insurance related matter to consider is the amount of coverage your security company may or may not have.  For example, the State of Michigan allows security companies to operate with only a bond of $25,000.

cannabis security company

If there were an incident where a cannabis security company used force to protect assets, the claim would be well above $25,000. Then, the client (i.e. you) could be liable for the rest of the settlement or award. 

Bottom line is that a good cannabis security company will have cannabis-specific insurance coverage in the millions of dollars range.  This level of insurance coverage is necessary to cover any incident. 

Therefore, we strongly recommend checking with your security provider and asking for a Certificate of Insurance.  Any reputable, well-operated company will have no issue providing this as it is a standard business practice.  

So be aware of security firms that claim to be able to operate in the cannabis industry and provide rates much lower than their competitors.  Odds are pretty good that they are cutting corners somewhere to provide services at a lower rate.  

One of the most common ways to cut corners is to have sketchy insurance, or worse, no insurance.  If this happens and there is an incident, you could be held responsible for paying out any law suits. 

MSO carries $2,000,000 in General Liability Insurance that specifically covers all of our cannabis operations.  To learn more about our facility guards Click Here.

Security Cameras Don’t Stop Crime

marijuana security cameras

Many people overly rely on security cameras.  They tend to think that cameras are all they need to secure their marijuana facility.  It’s important to understand that cameras, by themselves, don’t actually stop crime.

When designing marijuana security plans, clients often ask if they need marijuana security guards in addition to security cameras.  After investing large amounts of money into a surveillance system, they feel that is all they should need to stop crime and internal loss. Whether it is a cultivation, provisioning, processing, or safety compliance facility.

I usually answer the question by asking them what their goals are for their security system.  If their goal is to stop crime at their cannabis facility, with only security cameras, they may need to be more realistic about their expectations.

It’s important to understand two things about what video surveillance systems do.  They first thing they are able to do is alert a response element (e.g. security guards, police, business owner/employee) to what is happening.  This only works as long as someone is actively monitoring the video feeds and able to quickly respond to what is being seen.  Otherwise, security cameras become an investigative tool.

Security Cameras are an Investigative Tool

This takes us to the primary function of security cameras in MMFLA facilities; as an investigative tool.  This is also why government agencies, such as the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) require facility owners to have surveillance systems with comprehensive coverage.  They, and the Michigan State Police officers who advise them, are well aware that few incidents at cannabis facilities are caught in the act.  Thus, they will need to rely on the cameras to investigate whatever issue or crime that occurred.

This is also why all entrance/exit into the camera room needs to be logged; Why all those with access to the surveillance system need to be logged; why there needs to be a camera in the room containing the recorders; and why the system needs to have video tampering detection.  The police want to ensure that video evidence of whatever compliance issue or crime is preserved.

Learn more about Marijuana Facility Security Plans 

More Hemp Security Issues for Farmers

A recent article about a farmer in Kentucky highlights the hemp security issues surrounding cultivation and transportation.  The farmer in the article said the same thing that I have heard many clients say.  They never thought that growing hemp would have the same security risks as marijuana cultivation. 

Unexpected Issues

Our hemp clients all saw a simple, newly legalized, cash crop to grow and sell for a tidy profit.  Simple, easy, and a natural extension of their current business model.  None of them thought that they would have to deal with people looting their hemp fields.  They go through the fields thinking they are stealing marijuana to get high on or sell on the black market.  Unfortunately, hemp has the same security issues as marijuana because criminals can’t tell the difference. 

I have one client that called and said that he couldn’t believe anyone would want to steal hemp like that.  He posted signs all over his greenhouse that say the crops inside are hemp and not marijuana, and that the plants contain less than .3% THC, etc.  He then had a retired Michigan State Police (MSP) officer fcome by and tell him that those signs didn’t matter.  If anything, they call attention to the fact that he has something in there worth stealing and thieves wouldn’t be likely to believe the signs anyway. 


The Same Security Issues as Marijuana

The retired MSP officer then told him that he needed armed security for his greenhouse.  He was also told that if he tries to just put his hemp harvest on a truck and drive it down the road to sell, he’s asking to get robbed.  Having received my card from his cultivation consultant, he then called to ask if that made sense to me.  I had to agree with the advice he received from the MSP officer and others, there is a need for hemp security.

Fortunately, this client had received some good advice before he had security issues.  He hired Marijuana Security Operations (MSO) to provide both armed security for his greenhouse during harvest time and secure transportation for his hemp harvest when he is ready to move it. 

The farmer in the article mentioned above learned the hard way and now has the same security measures in place.  

The most risky time for hemp and marijuana cultivators is when the plants go into flower, through trimming.  Please give us a call before you approach this time and find out how we can help. 

Let us handle the hemp security issues so you can focus on what you do best. 

Do I need Hemp Security?

A client called me the other day to ask if he needed security for his hemp cultivation operation.  He owns a local greenhouse where he is growing hemp. The client has retired police officers telling him that he’s crazy not to have security! 

The man also said that his cultivation consultant told him that he needs secure transportation.  His consultant told him that if he tries to just put hemp on a truck and take it down the road, he’s asking to get robbed. 

He called us to ask if that made sense?

I told him “Yes it does. Because the bad guys don’t know the difference between hemp and marijuana”. 

Hemp and marijuana are very similar. Hemp looks like marijuana and Hemp Securitysmells similar to marijuana.  While the plants are very similar, hemp has nearly all of the THC removed.  Hemp also doesn’t have nearly the black market value of marijuana. 

Criminals have taken to stealing from hemp cultivators and processors, as well as hijacking hemp shipments. This is because they are hoping to get their hands on the higher value cash crop. 

What does this mean for hemp farmers and processors? It means that the need for good security is just as important with hemp as it is in the marijuana industry.

Marijuana Security Operations specializes in all aspects of hemp security. 

We provide on-site armed security, secure transport, and security planning.