Security Dealer & Integrator

JUL 2018

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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38 Security Dealer & Integrator / July 2018 of the cannabis industry but had a change of heart as he learned more about the drug and its medicinal uses. In fact, Jeffrey Breier, who co-founded Hardcar with Kleperis, is a veteran law enforcement officer and executive protection professional whose views on marijuana were changed aer it was recommended to him by a doctor for pain relief fol- lowing a back injury. "Jeff had been a police officer putting people away for cannabis for 20 years and he thought that it was never going to work, but oddly he tried it and it stopped the trem- ors and the pain that he had and he said, 'wait a minute, there's something to this,'" Kleperis says. threat of federal intervention that has hung like a Sword of Damocles over the industry. Because most banks still refuse to accept deposits from marijuana-related business due to its federal prohibition, the industry is essentially an all-cash business, raising con- cerns about not only how the money itself will be protected but also whether authorities could seize payments to con- tractors working with cannabis growers. As a service provider, Gordon says that integrators are not as susceptible to money seizure because they are not actually working with marijuana but merely the facili- ties that house it. "We have been working with investment groups or the people who are building the facility – which is a new construction environ- ment," he says. "We are not touching the products and the business is not as yet up and running, so the money being paid to us is coming out of traditional bank accounts and normal sources," Gordon adds. Kurt Will, president of St. Louis-based systems integrator Will Electronics – which outfit- ted a cannabis facility in Illinois with security systems nearly two years ago – says the fact that growing marijuana is still against federal law, combined with the limitations growers have in working with traditional banks, can make things challenging for security integrators. "It adds a layer of complexity for a company like ours to be able to evaluate (a cannabis business's) credit worthi- ness," Will explains. "Are we going to get paid to do this job, and what kind of recourse do we have if we don't get paid through the courts?" Perhaps the biggest concern for integrators working in this business is the liquidity of those who have contracted their services. For example, Kleperis says it is not uncom- mon for a company to come in, have several million dollars in funding, start growing plants and then suddenly go belly up because they did not have any additional capital. Available capital was also a major concern for Will when his company won the contract for the Illinois facility. "It was a new company that was created to do this project so there were some concerns about their credit worthiness," he says. "As the job (progressed), it became quite a challenge – but they did pay for it." Cover Story We have been working with investment groups or the people who are building the facility – which is a new construction environment. We are not touching the products and the business is not as yet up and running." — Chad Gordon, Vice President of California-based integrator Visible Intellect Still, Kleperis says he is not interested creating a gener- ation of potheads – instead he wants to help those with a medical need. "I am supporting the medicinal growth of this industry. I don't want to see five million more stoners out there that are just getting high," he says. "e objective is we need to securely grow a segment of the industry that is right now a wild wild west." Common Challenges One of the biggest lingering questions for the industry has been whether or not the Department of Justice and federal law enforcement would start cracking down on legal can- nabis growers under the Trump administration. However, just last month, President Trump said that he would likely support a bipartisan bill recently introduced by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that would end the federal government's longstanding ban on marijuana and defer to state laws on the issue. Should the legislation come to pass, it would mark a proverbial sea change in U.S. drug policy and remove the

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