Cannabis facilities are a high value target for criminal activity, not because of what they sell or who they sell it to, but because they offer a highly valued commodity that can’t be traced, and often have large sums of cash on premise. This presents the obvious need for tight physical security focused on entry/egress points, and back areas where cash is handled.

The most pervasive and effective physical security solution is to keep cannabis facilities, products and cash locked down using door control technology as the first line of defense. Effectively keeping both customers, employees and assets safe.

Controlling Physical Access

Perhaps the most essential aspect of cannabis business operations is also the most precarious – customer interaction and access to retail areas. This earmarks entry/egress control as a primary priority when implementing physical security measures. Fortunately, there is more door technology on the market today than ever before, including advanced programmable door interlock systems (often called mantraps), which provide very high levels of security. Door interlock systems provide cannabis facilities with a unique form of protection for both customers and employees that is not afforded by conventional access control systems.

In its simplest form, a door interlock system is composed of two doors electronically connected so one cannot open until the other has closed. For cannabis facilities, a mantrap provides highly controlled access to an interior vestibule, where customers and/or employees can be screened automatically or by a security guard before entering the facility. Access is only allowed when the exterior door is closed, preventing tailgating of unauthorized individuals.

For retail locations, a secure entry vestibule solution may be employed. When individual(s) in the interlocked area are approved, the outer door remains  locked utilizing an electromagnetic lock or electric strike and the individuals can proceed through the inner door. Conversely, if an individual is deemed suspicious, an alert can be sounded, and the inner door will remain locked and the outer door will unlock allowing the potential threat to exit the building. This effectively prevents potential problems from escalating inside the facility.

A secure entry vestibule is also an effective solution for employee entrances. An electronic access system controls entry from the outside into the mantrap. Unlocking the entry door will lock the interior door of the Secure Entry Vestibule. Once the exterior door is re-secured, the interior door is unlocked to allow access into the facility. Any number of locking and unlocking configurations can be deployed to best accommodate employee traffic flow using a programmable door interlock controller.

The highest level of security is provided with a Restricted Entry & Exit System, whereby a door is unlocked by a request for access only if no other related doors are unsecured. Opening any one door keeps all other related doors locked. Restricted Entry & Exit Systems will buffer simultaneous requests for access to prevent two or more doors from being unlocked at the same time. Traffic lights are often utilized to signal when a door is locked or unlocked. This door interlock system configuration is most appropriate for back areas of cannabis facilities where inventory is stored and cash areas are located.

For Cannabis Distribution Facilities, Sally ports can be deployed to control vehicular entry/egress using any combination of overhead doors, gates or bollards.

Door interlocks are also available with different modes of functionality. Cannabis facilities with a high amount of pedestrian traffic in the morning and late afternoon may want two doors operating during these time periods with the ability to switch to a single door utilizing a key switch during midday or evening hours. Intercom systems can also be added to door interlock systems to allow communications between the individuals inside the “mantrap” and a facility greeter or security guard controlling the system.

For employee access to highly secure areas within cannabis facilities, advanced interlock systems can be deployed with biometrics that read faces, eyes and/or fingerprints to provide highly accurate identity authentication and verification, adding a much higher level of sophistication and security. This prevents lost, stolen or replicated physical access control credentials or even simple key locks to be compromised by unauthorized personnel.

While security is the core priority, a door interlock system deployed at cannabis facilities must also be user friendly and safe, or it can become a logjam for customer traffic as well as a potential source of liability. In an emergency, the door interlock system must enable people to evacuate the facility. For example, if the power fails, an emergency override would ensure that the door can be opened manually. Moreover, safety codes may require that the door interlock systems be integrated with the facility’s fire alarm control panel to allow emergency door release. A local emergency pull station may also be required to allow doors to be unlocked in non-fire alarm emergencies or to interface the system with NFPA 101 delayed egress controls. In every case, local compliance mandates must be carefully adhered to when designing a door interlock system for your facility. Working with a reputable manufacturer and system installer ensures you will get the ease of operation and specific door interlock capabilities and compliance you need, along with high-quality customer support and service.

Door interlock systems are highly cost-efficient and provide a highly effective means of securing cannabis facilities. As a leading designer and manufacturer of electronic locking solutions proudly made in the U.S.A., Dortronics experienced team can provide personal assistance to help you design the door control system that best meets your specific needs. We look forward to hearing from you!

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