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Marijuana dispensaries to have state-of-the-art security

Thursday - 3/29/2012, 11:39am  ET

AP: 027a786f-b463-4144-95a3-e534d6e79d26
Medical marijuana is expected to be available to patients in the District by the end of this year. (AP/Carlos Julio Martinez)

What will medical marijuana mean for D.C. residents?

WTOP's Mark Segraves, investigative reporter


Mark Segraves,

WASHINGTON - Medical marijuana growers and sellers will have to take thorough measures to ensure their product doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Measures from state-of-the-art surveillance systems to panic buttons for employees.

Applicants for licenses to either sell or grow medical marijuana were required to submit detailed security plans to the Department of Health and the Metropolitan Police Department. The final rulemaking, issued by the mayor's office, set forth some basic requirements.

Distribution and cultivation centers must have the following security measures in place:

  • High-tech motion detectors: "Volumetric intrusion detection device(s) installed and connected to the facility intrusion detection system."

  • Storage safe that can withstand 30 minutes of drilling: "The safe shall be a UL listed burglar-proof safe with a minimum rating of TL-30. Safes weighing less than seven hundred fifty pounds (750 lb.) shall be installed in a steel clad concrete block or otherwise securely anchored to a fixed part of the facility structure."

  • 24-hour surveillance cameras: "A dispensary or cultivation center shall be required to operate and maintain in good working order a twenty-four (24) hour, seven (7) days a week, a closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system on the premises that complies with the following minimum standards."

  • Professionally monitored alarm system: "At a minimum, the system shall provide coverage of all facility entrances and exits, rooms with exterior windows, rooms with exterior walls or walls shared with other facility tenants, roof hatches, skylights, and storage room(s) that contain safe(s)."

  • A panic button for employees: "The system shall include at least one (1) holdup alarm for staff use."

  • Outdoor lighting: "A cultivation center or dispensary shall be required for security purposes to have sufficient lighting outside of the registered business each day between sunset and sunrise that adequately illuminates the cultivation center or dispensary and its immediate surrounding area, including storage areas, parking lots, entry areas such as the front fašade, and any adjoining public sidewalk."

    "Outdoor lighting shall be hooded or oriented so as to deflect light away from adjacent properties."

  • Records and tracking of product: "Each registered dispensary shall keep and maintain upon the registered premises, true, complete, and current books and records which include invoices that adequately and fully reflect all purchases and sales of medical marijuana made to and by the dispensary."

    "Each registered cultivation center shall keep and maintain upon the registered premises true, complete, legible, and current books and records."

  • Background checks for employees: "Each applicant required to be registered under the Act and this title shall be required to undergo a criminal background check conducted by MPD prior to being registered. In the case of an applicant for a non-profit or for-profit corporation, partnership, or limited liability company, a criminal background check shall be conducted on all of its directors, officers, members, incorporators, or agents. The criminal background check shall include both a local and FBI investigation. The applicant shall be responsible for paying the applicable fee to MPD. No director, officer, member, incorporator, agent, manager, or employee of a dispensary or cultivation center who has access to the medical marijuana at the dispensary or cultivation center shall have:

    (a) A felony conviction; or (b) A misdemeanor conviction for a drug-related offense."

Medical marijuana is expected to be available to patients in the District by the end of this year. On Friday, the District's Department of Health will announce the cultivation centers that potentially will be allowed to operate in the city. Distribution centers are expected to be named in June.

WTOP's Mark Segraves contributed to this story. Follow Mark and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)