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Private Security Firms Are Hoping to Cash in On Massachusetts' Burgeoning Cannabis Industry

Last weekend’s New England Cannabis Convention was dotted with security professionals trying to sell their services to industry insiders.

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This past weekend marked Boston’s third annual New England Cannabis Convention. The event celebrated Massachusetts’ new recreational legalization laws, with vendors selling glassware, soil solutions, grow boxes, and app ideas throughout the Hynes Convention Center. But scattered among the booths of cannabis tech companies and hydroponic growers were a number of security companies, selling their services and hoping that marijuana’s transition from illicit drug to cash crop will bring increased business to the protection industry.

"We're trying to be the go-to security company for the cannabis industry," Gerard Boniello, the managing partner of Omnium Protection Group, told Mass Live. Omnium had a booth at the Boston convention, and Boniello spent his weekend trying to convince potential clients that their unique businesses would require a special type of security.

With high value product and federal prohibition blocking banking, Boniello argues that Massachusetts’ canna-businesses will face a high threat of robbery. 

In addition to Omnium, Arlington, Mass. based American Alarm and Communications Inc. put up their own booth, and handed out brochures detailing how complicated maintaining a legal weed business can be. 

"The security and life safety standards for marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries are not only strict, they are constantly evolving," the American Alarm brochure said. "You need a security expert to keep your business in compliance with the law, and technology that won't harm your crops."

American Alarm and Communications told Mass Live that they “put in fire alarm systems that detect smoke and heat, perimeter and interior motion sensors, entry and exit door controls, digital video surveillance and secure Internet monitoring.”

In established legal weed states like Oregon and Washington, cannabis specific security firms like CannaGuard and Green Shield Security have already popped up to fill those protection and threat prevention needs.

Massachusetts is currently home to only 10 medical marijuana dispensaries, but regulations to clarify the state’s new recreational laws are expected to create an explosive retail pot industry in the Bay State next year, and Omnium, American Alarm, and their peers are hoping to carve out their own corner of the legal weed industry.