New York’s Cannabis Retail Dispensary Regulations, Part 2: Security and Surveillance

Welcome to part 2 of this series on the regulation of cannabis retail dispensaries in New York, covering safety. In Part 1we have covered the rules regarding dispensary operations.

Like us before abstracton Friday, October 28, 2022, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) released its “Tips for Adult Clinics” (the rule). The Regulations are being promulgated to provide guidance to licensees and applicants of Adult Conditional Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD). Last week, during a hearing with the Cannabis Control Board, it was announcement that 36 CAURD candidates obtained a license.

The information in the Regulations is a mix of substantive requirements, operational guidance, and an overview of the CMO’s plans for the licensing and operation of New York’s cannabis industry. As part of our series explaining and detailing the Regulations, this article provides licensees with guidance on the security measures and systems that should be operational in premises used as a retail dispensary. Of course, this article cannot go into every trivial detail of the Regulations. Instead, it should serve as a foundation for your knowledge in the future and, as usual, we encourage you to review the Rules and consult with an attorney.

Security measures

License holders must implement security measures sufficient to deter the diversion, theft or loss of cannabis and cannabis products, theft or loss of money, prevent unauthorized entry into areas containing cannabis or cannabis products and to ensure the safety of the license holder’s workers and the general public.

According to the OCM, the licensee must implement and maintain a security plan which must include, at a minimum, a description of the measures that a licensee will undertake to prevent unauthorized access to the licensed premises, protect the physical security of everyone present on the premises, deterring the theft or loss of cannabis products and preventing loitering.

When designing and constructing licensed premises, licensees must ensure that the interior and outer perimeter of the premises are sufficiently lighted to facilitate supervision and that trees, bushes and other foliage outside authorized premises must be maintained in such a condition as to prevent a person from hiding from view.

Maintaining exterior foliage can present a challenge as licensees cannot choose their location and the foliage may be owned by another entity or city/town/state that prohibits the licensee from removing or altering that foliage. Watch for some interesting questions here.

Security system

Licensees are also required to have a dispensary security system that uses commercial-grade equipment to prevent and detect hijacking, theft, or loss. The system, at a minimum, must include a perimeter alarm that communicates with an internally designated person and a third-party commercial central monitoring station when an intrusion is detected, as well as specific monitoring and video camera technology. The security alarm and video surveillance system must be able to remain operational during a power outage for at least eight hours.

The license holder must maintain video camera surveillance in all areas that may contain cannabis products, at all entry and exit points and in any parking lot. Video camera surveillance must meet, at a minimum, the following additional requirements:

  1. Video cameras must have the capability to immediately produce a clear color still photo from any camera image (live or recorded);
  2. Video recordings must allow the export of still images in an industry standard image format (including .jpeg, .bmp and .gif);
  3. Video cameras should include a time stamp embedded in all recordings.
  4. Video cameras must produce continuous recordings during business hours and anytime cannabis products are handled, and motion-activated recordings at all other times;
  5. Licensee shall make available via remote access or login credentials for immediate viewing by CMO or CMO’s authorized representative upon request;
  6. All records must be kept for at least 60 days;
  7. Licensees must make an unaltered copy of video camera recordings to the Office upon request; and
  8. If Licensee becomes aware of an ongoing criminal, civil, or administrative investigation or legal proceeding to which a recording may contain relevant information, Licensee shall retain an unmodified copy of the recording until the investigation or proceeding is terminated or the entity conducting the investigation or proceeding notifies the holder that it is not necessary to retain the record.

And after

Stay tuned for future articles in this series. And don’t forget to join us on December 7 when we host a free webinar CAURD guidelines and what every applicant and licensee needs to know.

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