There must be no room for error and no room for praedial larceny.
This was among the messages from security experts to those interested in getting involved in the medical cannabis industry in Barbados.
The issue of security in that burgeoning industry came under the microscope on Friday as the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BMCLA) hosted its BAJCAN Connect service providers’ forum under the theme Securing the Industry.
Chief of security with the BMCLA Edwin O’Neal said as Barbados builds out the medicinal cannabis industry “we cannot afford to make any mistakes”.
“This is truly a case that we have only one opportunity to make the first impression. It is against that background that the security measures have been developed and are continually reviewed,” O’Neal told the high-level online forum.
Pointing out that individuals and firms must be aware of the risks and mitigation measures for the industry, he stressed the importance of continuous training and retraining of security personnel.
In fact, O’Neal encouraged anyone getting involved in the medicinal cannabis industry to have a security master plan in place that he said should include having physical security officers in place, along with technological and procedural security measures.
“This industry cannot allow what happens in other areas where persons just put on a uniform and that satisfies the human security.
One has got to be prepared to invest in training, retraining, and training until we get to what is required,” he insisted.
He advised those seeking to set up a medical cannabis farm or business, pay close attention to the Town Planning Department regulations, which he said provided specific requirements for the building of facilities.
“I don’t need to elaborate on how tempted the raw material of this industry or the semifinished or finished products can be. So while there are other areas in Barbados where farmers may live with praedial larceny, we really have no room for praedial larceny to be occurring in the medicinal cannabis industry area,” he warned.
In addition to 24-hour security of businesses, the BMCLA official insisted that there should also be careful monitoring of the transportation of medical cannabis products.
He recommended that vehicles be retrofitted with high-level security systems including GPS, motion detectors, and pressure switch and alarm systems, pointing out that medical cannabis products “have the potential to become an attractive piece of cargo”.
“Therefore it is necessary to make every effort to disincentivize those persons who may be so tempted. Hence the use of cameras, the vehicle alarm systems, GPS and motion detectors may be viewed as the preventative aspect,” said O’Neal.
Currently, there are some 50 draft applications and five completed applications that have been submitted to the BMCLA.
Individuals are able to apply for licences for research and development, laboratory work, import and export, transportation, cultivation, processing, and retail and distribution.
During the session, stakeholders and other interested participants were able to get answers to their questions.
Toronto-based Security and Risk Management expert David Hyde, who now focuses on security, licensing, and compliance in the cannabis industry, encouraged Barbadians to get involved to learn as much about security as they could.
He also advised that they read the necessary pieces of legislation and requirements carefully to ensure full compliance. He also urged individuals to pay close attention to the security of the cash they generate from the industry.
“While there are regulations that will cover some of it there needs to be corporate security where every business has an obligation to have appropriate security that is commensurate with the risks and threats that it faces.”
Meanwhile, Barbados-born David Watson, a former NYPD officer, recommended that individuals first do a “decent security survey on the location they want to use or possibly build” before setting up shop.
“A security survey is based upon techniques to safeguard the business against intruders and employee theft,” said Watson, who also suggested that individuals have trained security dogs at their premises to help deter theft and keep monkeys at bay in the case of a medical cannabis farm.