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How intercoms add value in securing cannabis retail

March 14, 2023  By Brad Kamcheff

Photo: Adobe Stock

The legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use has been steadily sweeping North America. In Canada, where the Cannabis Act allows for the legal use of cannabis, different provinces and territories may enact their own restrictions relating to retail sales, distribution, and consumption.

Because of this, the growing cannabis industry comes with a unique set of security requirements and challenges. From securing grow facilities and providing continuous video surveillance at license holder locations, to tracking product throughout the entire lifecycle — including in retail settings.

The cannabis industry needs to monitor every aspect of the business in order to provide a safe and secure environment for customers and employees. Here’s how video intercom systems enhance security and customer experience in the retail cannabis market.



Screen customers before entrance

Intercom systems can provide a valuable access control tool for retail cannabis facilities, enabling them to establish an initial point of contact with customers before permitting them to enter the store. When strategically placed outside of a building, a video intercom can be used to communicate with the customer and allow staff to conduct an initial identification check if desired.

Some facilities might use a mantrap entrance – a small vestibule with two interlocking doors. One door has access to the outside and another door provides access to the inside of a building. A video intercom system located at the entrance of the mantrap can eliminate the need to physically have a staff member at the door to check identification.

Whether the cannabis shop has a mantrap entrance or not, using a video intercom to pre-authorize customers before they gain full access can help to diffuse potential issues should the customer become disruptive. Once a customer is fully vetted and allowed to enter the store, staff can conduct a more thorough review of the customer’s identification if deemed necessary.


Enhancing employee safety

Like all other retail businesses, cannabis retailers must ensure the safety of employees, whether they are accepting deliveries, working in inventory rooms, or handling cash. An IP video intercom system can be strategically placed outside a delivery door so when a delivery person arrives, a cannabis employee can use a master station to visually screen the delivery. This can help to verify that the delivery person is alone or that no one is outside the door when the delivery person leaves.

In addition, an intercom system can be used to enhance the overall security and communication within secure rooms, such as inventory and cash handling rooms. When an employee needs to gain access to these secure areas of the facility, an IP video intercom can visually verify the identity of the person. Audio capabilities as part of the intercom also ensure a reliable method of communication behind closed doors.


Manage customer volume

By screening customers first, retail cannabis facilities can better manage large volumes of customers.  A video intercom system allows staff to see, hear and interact with customers before allowing individuals to enter the store. It also makes it easier for staff to actively track the number of people waiting to enter.

Managing large crowds in a cannabis retail setting can be a challenge. Many retail facilities take pride in providing top-notch, individualized customer service as they help customers select the right product.

By using a video intercom system to streamline the pre-screening process, retailers can provide better customer service by limiting how many customers are in the store at the same time. It also gives staff a way to communicate with any customers waiting outside.

For example, cannabis retail staff can tell customers they will need to have a government issued photo identification, the wait time to get inside is five or 10 minutes, or to answer any questions.

Intercom systems have proven to be a trusted and reliable access control tools across many different industries. Now, the cannabis industry can also leverage the value, ease of use, and security provided by video intercoms.



Brad Kamcheff, marketing manager, Aiphone Corp., has been in the security communication industry for more than 30 years. Long-time experience has helped shape his overall view on both the industry and the way he guides his team in marketing. Brad is passionate about emerging trends and using innovative methods to promote and inform industry peers about Aiphone.

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