Designing a successful dispensary can be difficult in any location, but when the retailer is located in a high crime area, this task becomes even more difficult. As it is not always possible to obtain property in a low crime area due to competitive markets, zoning laws and other factors, dispensary owners must mitigate the additional risks associated with high crime areas. through intelligent facility design and effective security strategies. When combined with appropriate security measures, dispensaries can be designed to not only deter crime at the retailer, but throughout the area.
Depending on the area, it can be difficult to ensure that the store is well protected while remaining welcoming to customers. Potential customers may be hesitant to shop at a cannabis dispensary designed like a prison with high walls and armed security guards, even though those security measures were implemented with the best of intentions.
Instead, cannabis dispensaries can be designed to implement proactive safety measures while remaining welcoming to customers. Even in a high crime area, it is possible to design an attractive and inviting retailer, facilitate a positive customer experience and secure valuable assets and goods.
Additionally, a recent report by the CATO Institute showed that cannabis legalization does not appear to have a significant impact on crime rates. Although cannabis dispensaries can still become targets for crime if they are improperly designed and secured, there is some evidence to suggest that they actually reduce crime rates in their environment when designed with security. sufficient.
What is the impact of dispensaries on crime?
As the cannabis industry in the United States continues to mature, more and more studies are investigating the relationship between dispensaries and crime. Although research has produced mixed results, many reports have indicated either a reduction in crime rates in areas near cannabis dispensaries or no change at all.
Most research on the impact of cannabis on crime has been conducted on medical marijuana markets, as they generally predate the legalization of cannabis for adult use. One such study concluded that crimes, including robbery, murder, and aggravated assault, are reduced by approximately 13% in areas near states where medical marijuana is legal.
Other data from Sacramento, Calif., suggests “that the density of medical marijuana dispensaries may not be associated with crime rates or that other factors, such as the steps taken by dispensaries to reduce the criminality (i.e. doormen, video cameras), can increase guardianship in such a way that it deters potential, motivated offenders.
“Cannabis dispensaries have 24-hour security and surveillance on the property, which makes the community as a whole safer,” said Virginia Maggiore, Director of RDC.
There is less data regarding areas with recreational cannabis dispensaries since the industry is younger, but most research indicates that adult cannabis use has no impact on crime, such as one conducted by RAND Corporation in California that found “no relationship between county laws that legally authorize dispensaries and reported violent crimes.
Although research findings on the relationship between cannabis and crime have produced varying results, cannabis dispensaries can still become targets for crime like any other type of business if they are poorly designed and secured.
Designing a cannabis dispensary that prevents crime
When building and operating in a high crime area, it is important that the cannabis dispensary is designed to deal with additional security risks. Cannabis dispensary owners need to ensure that their store design does not attract crime or open the retailer to vulnerabilities. If the cannabis dispensary is poorly designed, weak spots in the retailer’s security could serve as a beacon to would-be criminals looking for an easy score.
One of the main considerations when designing cannabis dispensaries in high crime areas is to ensure adequate surveillance of the premises through the use of professionally installed and monitored CCTV and alarm systems. Another valuable security measure is an exterior lighting system that covers all areas on the premises and the parking lot. When people know a property is well lit and well monitored, they are less likely to commit a crime.
Another key factor when designing a safe cannabis dispensary is to ensure that the retailer earns a positive reputation in the community by maintaining the premises and removing graffiti and strollers from the property. Would-be criminals are more likely to choose an easier target if they see that the dispensary premises are maintained and such petty infractions are not tolerated.
“It’s important for cannabis businesses to stay on top of their property maintenance by cleaning up trash and debris, fixing broken windows and removing graffiti,” Virginia Maggiore said. “It will send a clear message that the property is being watched and taken care of.”
Controlling access to premises is another crucial factor in preventing crime and the design of the dispensary should use the retailer’s architectural elements to control entry and egress, including physical barriers like high security doors equipped with access control devices and landscaping or terminals in front of the exterior. Access points.
The use of concentric circles of protection in dispensary design is another successful strategy for retailers in high crime areas. This approach involves increasing security levels as the facility design moves inward into the building towards high-value assets. An example of this is the separation of cannabis storage areas from customer accessible areas using walls, high security doors and access control systems to create multiple barriers. Dispensaries designed with these concentric circles of protection provide better security for cash and cannabis onsite by requiring an intruder to penetrate multiple layers of security.
Finally, the most vital step in ensuring that a dispensary in a high crime area is designed efficiently and securely is to work with professionals with experience in the cannabis industry. Cannabis dispensaries designed without consulting experts may not meet regulatory requirements and even “legal compliant” retailers may have security gaps that increase the dispensary’s risk of crime.
How can RDC help?
Using an architecture and design firm and a security consultancy to design and build the cannabis dispensary is the only way to ensure quality, compliant and secure designs. RDC’s team of expert architects and designers have worked extensively with cannabis dispensaries to build high performing, compliant stores and we are ready to help design dispensaries in any area.