Pot of Gold

March 2, 2021
The exploding cannabis security market has potential for locksmiths if they prepare.

One of the secrets of expanding a business and growing new revenue is staying current with vertical-market trends. That’s particularly true for locksmiths who run operations on tight margins and sometimes have difficulty generating recurring monthly revenue (RMR). Although the exploding cannabis market might not fit the profile of every locksmith business, there’s no doubting the potential revenue open to those who make the leap.

The U.S. marijuana businesses could pump up to $130 billion on an annual basis into the U.S. economy by 2024, according to new information published in the Marijuana Business Factbook. It shows the total economic effect of legal cannabis sales increasing to $106 billion–$130 billion by 2024 from $38 billion–$46 billion in 2019, which is a staggering 181% increase. As the push for federal legalization gains momentum every passing day, a smart locksmith and security professional should be able to harness this opportunity.

Mark Berger, president and chief product officer of Securitech Group, already works within the cannabis security space and agrees that locksmiths can enter this vertical and find success. He says locksmiths can help stop these facilities from making the same mistake retailers used to make. Code-compliant multipoint deadbolt exit devices have stopped break-ins and prevented looters and burglars from causing thousands of dollars in damage, not to mention theft of product that’s easy to sell on the street. Locking interior spaces properly, restricting access and providing audit trails are the type of locking and access control solutions locksmiths should be quoting and supplying.

“Locksmiths should put their security knowledge, experience and familiarity with life-safety codes to good use with dispensaries, retail locations and grow facilities,” Berger stresses. “Perimeter doors, both entry and exit, require fortification, and no one knows that better than a qualified locksmith. Facility owners and managers will benefit from the deep familiarity locksmiths have with preventing break-ins in a code-compliant manner. We need to show them that slide bolts and padlocks are not the way to protect high-value locations.”

Compliance and regulatory issues can create big design and installation problems in the cannabis space, so locksmiths have to have both eyes open if they choose to be there. According to Tim Sutton, a veteran security consultant with Guidepost Solutions who specializes in the cannabis industry, it will take time, money and certification for most locksmiths to move beyond simple access control if they want to install video and more.

“I do agree there is opportunity for locksmiths within the cannabis industry for four- to 10-door access control and smaller video surveillance setups,” he says. “If a locksmith is to be successful in this endeavor, they must be both honest with themselves and forward-thinking enough to realize they may not be qualified to design the systems, and either take the steps necessary to educate themselves and become a subject-matter expert on physical-protection systems design or partner with a consultant who is.”