Did you know that the cannabis industry grew 33% in 2021, even as many industries crumbled due to the lingering effects of the pandemic? Currently, there are almost half a million legal cannabis jobs in the United States, and 107,000 of them were added just last year! If you’re looking to enter a career with job stability and potential for growth, the cannabis industry is booming and shows no signs of slowing down.
One career within the cannabis industry to consider is a cannabis security consultant. In this blog, we’ll explore the training, skillset, and day-to-day of a security consultant in the cannabis industry.
What’s a cannabis security consultant?
A cannabis security consultant is an independent third-party that assesses a cannabis company’s business plan, logistics, operations, standard operating procedures, and physical design of a facility to identify any liabilities or security issues. Some states, like California, require all new cannabis companies (including manufacturers and distributors) to hire a knowledgeable and board certified security consultant to perform the above activities before they can officially start doing business in the state.
Unlike a staff member or employee, a cannabis security consultant is not employed by the cannabis company and operates independently (or works for an independent consulting company.)
What do security consultants do?
This consultant will assess all of the above and will provide a written report/security plan that details anything related to the security of the business. In states where it’s required, the plan should be both city/county and state compliant, and include architectural drawings that highlight where improvements need to be made and where additional security cameras and systems should be installed.
Based on the specific requirements in the state where the cannabis security consultant works, their security plan may include any (or all) of the following:
- Overview of floor plans and building design
- How the plan will assist law enforcement
- Improvements for record keeping, tracking, and monitoring inventory
- Recommendations for criminal activity deterrents (guards, surveillance systems, intrusion alarm systems, access control, safes and vaults)
- How to securely dispose of surplus cannabis
- Cybersecurity and data protection tips
- Identifying liabilities in shipping and transportation
Depending on the day, a cannabis security consultant may find themselves doing paperwork and putting together reports, visiting cannabis facilities in-person, or doing a mix of the two.
What’s the training look like?
Although the education and other requirements for a cannabis security consultant will vary from state to state, in most cases, applicants will need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Since it’s a security position, a clean criminal background is also a must. Some companies will train their entry-level security consultants from the ground up, and that training will touch on the following:
- Compliance training (on a federal and state level)
- Review of cannabis security best practices
- How to put together a full security report
- The entire security auditing process, from start to finish
Those applying for non entry-level positions should come from a military, law enforcement, security, or a similar background. A bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as criminal justice, law, cyber security, homeland security, or public safety may also prove to be beneficial for potential applicants.
What skills should a cannabis security consultant have?
The duties of a cannabis security consultant are vast and, as such, they should have a variety of hard and soft skills. In addition to meeting the educational requirements for the position, an applicant should be an effective communicator and should be able to easily put their thoughts and recommendations into words. They should be able to interact with people, both online and face-to-face, and should be well-versed in anything compliance-related. More experienced consultants will need to be familiar with loss prevention and anti-fraud measures for inventory and POS systems, and should have hands-on experience in the same or a similar role.
What’s the job outlook?
Since most cannabis security consultants work independently (and cannabis is still illegal on a federal level), sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics don’t actively report on job statistics within the cannabis industry. For this reason, it’s difficult to determine the job outlook and growth potential. But, with so much anticipated growth in the industry, we anticipate that the career for cannabis security consultants will remain positive for the time being, particularly as more states legalize cannabis.
How do I become a cannabis security consultant?
The best way to find a cannabis security consultant position near you is to visit sites like Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed for open positions. You should also make an effort to research the industry as much as possible, including brushing up on laws, regulations, and compliance standards in your city and state. If you do get offered a position, your employer may want you to get additional training or certification before you officially start. Just remember: in the grand scheme of things the cannabis industry is just starting and is constantly changing. Above all else, keep an open mind!