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There will be a huge demand for security professionals and providers of related services, when the medicinal cannabis industry gets into high gear in Barbados.

This was underscored by overseas facilitators last Friday, as the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BMCLA) held its online BAJCAN Connect Forum: Securing the Industry, for security personnel and operators of related firms.

Speaking on the topic: Opportunities For a Complete Cannabis Security Solution, panellist and Head of the Caribbean Law Enforcement Foundation, David Watson, stressed that security officers were very important to the cannabis industry.

He said that their demand in the medicinal sector would range “from a one-officer guarded facility, to multi-officers’ facilities with cameras and monitoring”.

Mr. Watson, a Barbadian with three decades of experience in the New York Police Department, however, maintained that training for these officers was paramount.

He said they needed to be knowledgeable about the industry, and familiar with all technology systems required for monitoring and training in first aid and facility evacuation.

Adding that they should also be instructed about hazardous materials used in the facilities, since some of these materials, especially those used in the laboratory, were irritants, plus corrosive and explosive by nature.

While also acknowledging that training was another niche security firms could become involved in and offer specifically to the industry, he said: “Any person who has that knowledge base of the cannabis industry now has a potential opening to help the security firms; so that’s another job in itself, this training of security officers.”

The law enforcement professional further stated that one of the first things security providers needed to undertake was a “decent” security survey of the location they may want to use or possibly build on.

David Watson, a Barbadian with three decades of experience in the New York Police Department, maintained that training for officers working in the medicinal cannabis industry was paramount. (GP)

Pointing out that there were crime prevention practitioners, like former law enforcement personnel, trained to do surveys and give assessments of what to build or enhance, he said: “A security survey is based upon techniques to safeguard a business against intruders, employee theft and industrial espionage.”

Mr. Watson further stated that this particular skill set could become a field within the medicinal cannabis industry. He noted that where the individual was a crime prevention professional, they would now be in demand helping those licensed by the BMCLA to acquire their security budget and the optimal security plan, especially when it came to combatting praedial larceny. 

“You will have very big challenges with praedial larceny – the stealing of these plants or the products from these fields, so that security professional can help,” he said, adding that trained professionals could both conduct the initial survey and later undertake any upgrades as the industry got bigger.

Meanwhile, another panellist and security professional with Hyde Advisory and Investments, David Hyde pointed out that service providers who would really service and support the industry would be those who acknowledged that Barbados was a signatory to the United Nations Conventions on International Drugs.

He said: “The objectives of the security (aspect) are to: support public health with respect to security – biosecurity; prevent the illicit diversion of cannabis to the black market and to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth. These are all things that are enshrined in the security programmes and the work that you fine folks will be doing with the licensed holders and the applicants.”

While he acknowledged the industry was both “unique” and “quite small”, he said people who took time to research it would understand that the security aspect would have to “fall into the facility” as it didn’t exist on its own. “There is also quality, record keeping, [and] many other areas that have to be put into the security programme,” he added.

Mr. Hyde also encouraged security professionals and providers to learn as much about the cannabis process, since he noted that security, no matter the nature, had to be compliant and commercially viable.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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