Large plastic bags of trimmed cannabis product.

Sarah Climaco

Cannabis Transportation: Developing a New Market

Where does all the cannabis industry’s cash go, and how does it get there? Someone is moving all that cash and product around the state, but it’s not your usual delivery people doing it: there is a whole new industry in cannabis transportation that has developed following the reform of cannabis laws. But this industry demands professionalism, forethought, and compliance.

In California, for example, highway patrol has done a fantastic job in recognizing how quickly this market is evolving and has been quick to teach officers the need for up-to-date documentation whenever cannabis product is in transit. Without the right papers, how would an officer know the product you have is not stolen or produced illegally? What if your company had a truck stolen — how would you lock it down and make sure your product and/or cash is safe? Staying compliant with remote management software and solid road management/inventory systems, as well as the use of instant-on or always-on video systems, enables cannabis transporters to be confident in any and all interactions with law enforcement during their journey.

However, there are also areas where state officials may have dragged their feet. For example, existing California laws require that the product is locked in a box in the back of a vehicle. This minimum state regulation keeps product safe, but not the people carrying or delivering it.

Planning for the worst and expecting the best

Numerous electronic measures now exist for auto-interrupt and/or climate control remotely on rigs running in this space. One thing to consider adding would be climate control alerts so that you’re always aware of the product temperature where your cargo is riding. Also important may be a battery backup cord should your truck run out of power and your cargo starts getting hot in the middle of the desert — then it becomes critical until your rescue vehicle comes to swap things out. Most importantly, GPS alone will not solve all of your issues.

This part of the business is expensive, so do your research! Whatever you do, surround yourself with professionals who understand how to keep procedures in place and compliance at the front of everything you do. Then, hire a great legal team to make sure you have all of the licenses and applications in place.

Have a comprehensive plan of action:

  • Route planning to avoid large areas without escape routes;
  • Scheduled maintenance done in advance to not take a truck or vehicle out of rotation;
  • Daily inspection of all vehicles to ensure the technology is in working order;
  • Route mapping software and delivery information systems like, Geotab, and others;
  • Create a technology plan to understand your customer need. Ask questions of the customer – do they need refrigeration? Do they need RFID tracking? Will the upcoming 2018 track and trace protocols be an issue to existing infrastructure?
  • Maintain supply chain best practices, including documentation of all anomalies;
  • Safety and security training to ensure risks of high-value deliveries are minimized.

Overall, even with the most solid standard operating procedures you still will have things pop up in the cannabis space that you might not expect, like the occasional request to move product to another state (a HUGE NO under federal and state laws) or the Russian mobster who meets you at 2 am outside of a shady building and says, “we will do big business together.”

Our space has challenges like no other that can be helped by security professionals. So, if you have a consulting business in security, a plumbing or A/C group, electricians that know green houses, or an alarm company — now is the time to start looking at this space and working towards your first customers.

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