ohio cannabis dispensary


Ohio Dispensary Security Laws & Requirements

Recreational cannabis is now legal in Ohio thanks to the passage of Issue 2 in November 2023. As part of the process of setting up the new market, Ohio regulators have changed security regulations, nixing the old medical rules and creating a single set of rules for both recreational and medical dispensaries. Let’s take a look at what the new security rules are, and for those with existing medical dispensaries, how the new rules compare to the old ones. 

New Dispensary Security Regulations: 

As part of the Common Sense Initiative by the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Cannabis Control, the new regulation bearing code 1301:18-7-05, Minimum Security And Surveillance Requirements, has been added for every dispensary to create and follow written protocols to ensure sufficient security and surveillance of their premises, preventing any diversion, theft, or loss, meeting the minimum requirements specified in this rule. 

This rule applies to both medical and non-medical cannabis. 

According to 1301:18-7-05, Minimum Security and Surveillance Requirements, dispensaries are instructed to adhere to the following regulations: 

  • Each dispensary must have written policies and procedures for security, surveillance, and control to prevent diversion, theft, or loss, meeting the minimum rule requirements. Additionally, any major security changes must be approved by the division before implementation. 
  • Prior to the commencement of business, each dispensary shall meet the following security and surveillance requirements that ensure compliance with all standards established by the division:
    • Designate a secure, limited access area for all equipment maintained, that is accessible only by authorized registered dispensary employees with foundational training in security and surveillance;   
    • Install a security alarm system with commercial grade equipment that includes the following:   
      • An access alarm on all entry points and windows;   
      • Motion detectors that identify unauthorized access into the facility; and  
      • A silent alarm, that sends a pre-recorded voice message to designated security personnel and law enforcement during duress. It can signal that the user is being forced to turn off the system by entering a specific code into an arming station. 
    • Install a video surveillance system that complies with the following:  
      • Capable of electronic monitoring of the facility and real-time access by the division;   
      • Collects 24-hour live video feed with motion-activated recording capabilities for all video cameras that record in at least 15 frames per second;   
      • Archives and retains recordings for at least 45 days;   
      • Contains a display monitor with a minimum screen size of 19 inches;  
      • Exports still images in an industry standard format that guarantees authentication and prevents alteration of the recorded images;   
      • Produces clear color still photographs that are a minimum of 9600 dpi from any camera image, live or recorded;    
      • Embeds a date and time stamp on all recordings; and  
      • Includes a failure notification system that provides an audible and visual notification of any failure in the electronic monitoring system.   
    • Install unobstructed, tamper-evident cameras that capture the entirety of the facility premises and clearly identify all individuals and activities within the surveilled area;   
    • Camera placement at all the following locations:   
      • All points of ingress and egress;   
      • All secure, limited access areas;   
      • Any area that stores cannabis or facility inventory;   
      • The facility’s cannabis destruction and disposal area;   
      • All areas where sales proceeds are stored or transferred; and  
      • Each point of sale.   
    • Document all entry and exit with time in and time out of secure, limited access areas;   
    • Develop emergency policies and procedures for securing all inventory and currency in the event of diversion, theft, or loss; and  
    • Any other requirements the division deems necessary to maintain proper security and surveillance and ensure public safety.   
  • Each dispensary must inspect and test all security and surveillance equipment at least once every 30 days to ensure functionality.  
    • Dispensaries must record and maintain all security and surveillance equipment tests.   
    • The division must be notified of any failure in the facility’s security or surveillance system or equipment.   
      • Any necessary repair or replacement must occur within twenty-four hours of identification.   
  • In the event a dispensary is made aware of any investigations or legal proceedings where a video recording may contain relevant information, they must retain an unaltered copy of the recording until the investigation is closed, or the investigating authority notifies that it is not necessary to retain the recording.   

Differences from old Medical Regulations: 

The main difference between the older regulations and the current new regulations is that the older regulations were applicable to medical cannabis, prior to the passing of Issue 2, whereas the current regulations are applicable to both medical and recreational cannabis. 

Upon comparison, the following differences can be observed, according to certain criteria: 

Level of Detail 

The older set of regulations covers detailed security policies and procedures, including access control, employee ID, emergency prep, surveillance, and equipment specs. 

The newer regulations emphasize essential security needs, highlighting access control, alarms, surveillance, documentation, emergencies, and equipment tests. 

Approval Process 

The old rules do not mention needing approval from a regulatory body for major security changes, whereas the new rules state that major security changes require approval from the division before implementation, indicating a formal process for modifying security procedures. 

Recording Retention Period 

Previously, there was a requirement of video recording retention for at least six months.  

The new rule mandates retention of recordings for at least 45 days, indicating a significantly shorter period. 

Frequency of Equipment Testing 

According to the old regulations, inspection and testing of security and surveillance equipment was required at regular intervals, which should not exceed 30 days.  

The new regulation requires testing of equipment at least once every 30 days to ensure functionality, without specifying any maximum interval.  

Repair and Replacement Timeframe 

The old rules do not specify a timeframe for repairing or replacing failed equipment, however, the new mandates require any necessary repair or replacement of security or surveillance equipment to occur within 24 hours of identification, indicating a stricter timeframe for addressing equipment failures. 

How Cure8 can help 

If you’re a medical dispensary operator, we can help you adapt your security system to meet the new requirements. If you’re looking to open a new dispensary, reach out for help with planning, procuring, and building the security and tech for your new dispensary. 

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