I recently went “mystery shopping” to experience first hand, how several different local recreational pot shops operate and serve their customers. Indeed, every pot shop is different, but I found out just how different each shop is.
From a marijuana security stand point, I want to know that a facility is not only warm and inviting, but clean and secure as well. I want a facility that is well lit on the outside, with convenient parking. I am also very conscious of the surrounding businesses, their security, and if they will attract unsavory characters. Every store has different set ups, different products, different staff and different security measures – or lack there of. Overall, I was shocked and alarmed in regards to some of my discoveries.
Initially, I was impressed by one marijuana store, which will obviously be unnamed. The store opened recently in the Pierce County area. The modern, decked out facility, looked clean and inviting. However, I was shocked to see no pot shop security personnel on the premises. Why would an owner put so much effort and money into their facility, but not hire real security personnel to help protect the investment? I believe this is very important and necessary, not just for the security of the legal marijuana store, but the security of the customer. In short, security personnel can be an important asset in ID’ing potential customers, monitoring the premises for suspicious characters or activity, and can offer a trained assistance in case an unwanted incident does occur.
I was greeted by a bud tender upon entering the shop. Once in the shop, I conversed with the staff who stood behind the counter. After a short while. I was asked to rotate around the front desk and the proceed behind the counters to get a closer look at a product. Ask yourself this: if you were an owner of a pot shop with lots of cash on site, would you want your staff to break the security codes and measures?
Without any security personnel on site, is saving money that would pay for real security worth the cost of an inside job? Does this bud tender have a plan incase of an emergency? A threat? A deranged citizen who was of his or her meds?
From a pot shop owner’s point of view, you must look at real security as a solution to avoid risks and possible liabilities. From a customer’s point of view, ask yourself does this store care about my security? Will they protect me if I’m placed in harm? Or will they just stand there and watch in shock like most customers would?
My last location was a real winner! Of course, I’m being sarcastic. First of all, the facility that looked very unappealing. In fact, I didn’t even know the facility was a marijuana store. The sign above their store was almost non existent. Because of the color scheme of the building, it was even difficult to find the door.
I waited in the parking lot for a few minutes to see if there was some kind of traffic going in and out of the store. When no one entered, I proceeded to see if anyone was inside. Not surprised, the weed shop was practically empty except for three budtenders. They were all behind the counters checking their phone statuses. No security personnel to check my ID.
Inside, the facility was bare, even a bit eerie. Two out of three budtenders helped out by answering my questions, while the third guy never even bothered to look up once. The store only carried one brand of cannabis flower and no edibles. Upon asking the budtenders how long the shop has been in business, one of the told me ever since mid August. In business for roughly 3 months and you still only carry one strain of cannabis?
But here’s the real shocker. Not only was I able to walk inside the shop without showing my ID, but I was able to purchas a pre-rolled joint without having to show my ID! These lack of standards are completely unacceptable! Especially, when there are recreational marijuana shops that are going the extra length and taking their business ventures very seriously. Why would the Washington State Liquor Control Board take an extended amount of time to issue licenses, then allow an operation such as this? Where are the checks and balances?
In my opinion, the WSLCB has got to do a better job of communicating their intent to all legal marijuana retail stores and hold owners accountable for their lack of standards. Oh, and while they are at it, they should also modify their regulations in regards to “third party” security companies, and allow them to be armed. Why wait for a tragedy to occur before changing THAT regulation?
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