Green Rush: High-level Protection for Good Cannabis Business
Veridin Systems Canada
A physical security breach can cost property and lose sensitive data, and the consequences can be severe. Veridin Systems Canada is a leader in providing custom security systems that help businesses meet industry regulations and mitigate risk.
As the light turns green for the legalization of marijuana in Canada, cannabis companies and brand developers are going full-tilt to get a share of the emerging market. There are huge dollars at stake and money to be made by established growers and new entrepreneurs in medical marijuana and a wide array of cannabis-infused products from edibles to skincare.
But how do producers protect their assets, right from the grow room through to the product leaving the facility? This is done with top security and continuous surveillance.
That is where Veridin Systems Canada comes in. The Mississauga, Ontario-based company has designed integrated security systems for organizations in a range of sectors, including transportation logistics, financial services, property management, and healthcare. The company is also an early adopter in the cannabis market and has made a name for itself as a security expert for marijuana facilities across Canada.
“Our experience in the cannabis sector started in the pharmaceutical sector, providing security systems to organizations under the Controlled Substance Act,” says Colin Doe, Veridin President.
“When Health Canada came out with its security guidance documents about what would be required to secure a cannabis facility, we looked at that and said, ‘Great, we’ve already been doing that within the pharmaceutical industry. All we need to do is add the video component, and we’re already there.’ So the cannabis sector in our space was kind of born for us, and we’ve been going ever since.”
What sets Veridin apart from competitors is the company’s extensive experience with similar requirements in the pharmaceutical industry and designing custom security solutions that unify disparate systems to work together as one. Whereas producers in the U.S. have legislation that differs from state to state, Canadian producers have national regulations that “keep everyone on the same song sheet,” Doe says of his strategic focus on the Canadian market.
“We like operating in industries that are regulated. These are clients that understand that security is part of their process, and we help them to develop that process.”
Doe founded the company in 2004 and has been working in security since 1991. His interest in protection goes back to helping his dad install home alarm systems in the 1980s during weekends and summers when he was not in school. Then he launched his own security business right out of high school. More recently, he decided to continue his education with a criminology certificate and is working toward a master’s degree in terrorism, risk, and security with Simon Fraser University.
He also makes time for his family and 5 A.M. workouts at the gym three days a week. “When it comes to life, you get out what you put in,” he says. “I’ve been in the security space for a very long time. I’ve always had a bit of a bent for protecting things. I’ve always been fascinated by electronics and computers, so in the security space, I’ve got all three.”
Veridin works with clients to develop a plan and design a security system that encompasses video surveillance, card access and biometrics to give dual factor authentication required by Health Canada – such as a card and PIN or a card and eye-recognition, for example – and intrusion detection, all in one user-friendly integrated system.
In addition to the design, installation, and set-up, Veridin provides the video-monitoring service, so clients do not need to have security guards on the premises, and they can also meet Health Canada requirements for video surveillance and retention more easily. Veridin looks at video from central monitoring stations to detect nefarious entry and deal with it immediately.
The legislation is a “moving target,” that is going to evolve as the industry matures, Doe says. More changes are anticipated as the Cannabis Act comes into force this month.
One sure thing is that the future is bright for Canada in the sector. The necessary expenditures for security, quality control, and processes for cannabis producers to get licensed set a high threshold for entry into the market. This has set a high bar for ensuring that Canada will become a global leader in the sector because it is going to have that high-quality product.
“And we’re going to be able to protect that quality product, not just from pilferage or nefarious activities, but also on the safety side, as far as food safety or drug safety would be concerned,” Doe says.
“A lot of the big players who were the first to enter the market have become big because they’ve had a limited amount of competition. They’ve been able to consolidate amongst themselves and create efficiencies.”
The security is a two-step component: to secure the facility and monitor quality control. Most facilities have to be entirely fenced, so that first ring of security starts at the fence line. The next is the security at the building, then another ring is in production areas, and yet another ring is in growing areas and secure storage areas.
All of this has to be protected with camera coverage, access control and intrusion-detection systems, set up at the fence line all the way into where the product is stored. An extensive camera network is required to meet Health Canada’s standards, and they have raised the bar recently to ensure that video surveillance provides detailed images, day or night.
Despite raising the bar on image quality, Health Canada relaxed coverage requirements in the last six months, so now producers do not have to have any camera coverage in the grow rooms. However, complete camera coverage is still required once the product is harvested, from drying rooms to storage, and complete coverage is required in all hallways where cannabis is moved throughout the facility until it is shipped.
In other words, there is a definite need for the niche solutions that Veridin provides. When you get an entirely new sector opening up, you do not necessarily get to set the course, but you can learn very quickly what works and what does not work, Does says.
“We’ve been able to learn what Health Canada requires and what we don’t have to do, so we make sure our clients are well-served on both ends. One: that they have the systems they need, and two: that they can continue to maintain their license and put out a great product.”