Metro Detroit medical marijuana dispensaries talk security in wake of recent smash and grab robbery

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 11:22:30-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Legalizing recreational marijuana has opened entrepreneurs eyes to the potential money that can be made in the new industry.

But along with the dreams of striking it rich are the realities, the dangers the pot business still brings with it.

Matt Smith takes us to two dispensaries to see the expensive security measures owners are using to protect their business and their employees.

After an eye-opening smash and grab at a brand new Corktown dispensary, 7 Action News decided to look at the security measures owners are forced to put in place.

“When things like this happen, it’s always an opportunity to reassess your security measures,” said Anqunette Jamison Sarfoh from BotaniQ.

On New Year’s Eve at 4:00 am a pick-up truck smashed through the brick wall at BotaniQ pot dispensary in Corktown forcing former news anchor Anqunette Jamison Sarfoh and her partners to take another look at their security system.

“People will see we have armed security inside and outside,” said Sarfoh. “We have several cameras, numerous cameras at every angle.”

Though the vandals caused over $20,000 in damage. Sarfoh tells us that they really didn’t take much product from the dispensary because they lock it up in a secured vault at night----BotaniQ also uses cashless ATMs.

“Let’s say they were making a purchase for fifty-five dollars, we’ll put in sixty dollars into our system, they’ll get $5 back,” explains Sarfoh.

This helps cut down on cash on site. Sarfoh tells us they do have bank services which is rare for the pot industry but said she wasn’t at liberty to tell us much more about the bank. BotaniQ adds they want to be courteous to the neighborhood and don't want the building to look like Fort Knox.

“Our mission is to have a place that even your grandmother will even feel comfortable coming,” said Sarfoh.

At Greenhouse Dispensary in Walled Lake, they are currently a licensed medical marijuana dispensary and will be open for business in about six weeks. They’re taking some unique approaches to security.

“We have a panic button, we have these throughout the entire building in different locations, If you hit this in about 5 seconds the police get the notification and the Walled Lake Police are so good they are usually here in about 3 minutes,” said Jerry Millen from Greenhouse Dispensary.

Since they are not open for business yet, Millen hit the button while explaining the procedure, not realizing it was in full operation until Walled Lake Police showed up minutes later. We can call it an accidental test run.

Another security gadget that stands out is a digital pin that is worn on the shirt of employees.

“If you hold this button for 10 seconds it will secretly send a text message to three telephones you choose, telling them this pin is at this location and there's trouble,” explains Millen.

Greenhouse spent about $18,000 by installing a vault, a variety of camera systems, and bullet proof glass.

“We added bullet proof steel curved to match the wall that way they can’t shoot through the wall,” said Millen.

Greenhouse also is using an undisclosed bank and will have an armored car come to the dispensary for cash drops.

Both dispensaries obviously are making safety their priority and BotaniQ has repaired the damage to the building.

Unfortunately, due to the voluntary recall of a marijuana announced by the state Friday, BotaniQ will not be opening until later this week to the recall creating a shortage in product.