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Mary Gamble, Esq., MBA, CPP and Tim Sutton, CPP, PSP, PCI, CHPA, sat down with us to discuss their upcoming webinar about the intricacies of security in the cannabis industry. To learn more about the webinar on 9 April or register now, go here.

Q: How did you become interested in cannabis security?

MG: After following the cannabis industry for years out of personal interest and curiosity, I began officially incorporating it into my professional practice in 2020 with the launch of my law firm. I have assisted clients in navigating the legal landscape of the cannabis industry across many jurisdictions and advised as to recommended security practices.  

TS: I became interested in the cannabis industry when my home state of Illinois began developing the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Pilot in 2013. I grew up with McGruff the Crime Dog and Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No program and had worked in the security sector since 1987.  When my friends heard that I was writing security plans and designing security systems for the cannabis industry, they were shocked. I wanted to ensure that if cannabis was becoming legal, the industry and all of its assets were as safe and secure as every other industry.  I also saw first hand how little beyond compliance is understood about security within the cannabis industry. I saw the need to share operational security expertise with an industry often taken advantage of by vendors who peddle spots and dots technology schematic drawings as security plans and having sold and installed cameras and other security systems and devices within the industry as actual experience in the industry. I wanted to make a difference more than wanting to simply make a buck. 


Q: What advice would you give security professionals interested in the cannabis industry? 

MG: It is a rapidly growing – and likely soon to further explode – industry with many new professionals exploring an entry into this area of practice. For those new to or interested in exploring the cannabis industry – don’t get too hung up on or intimidated by “cannabis”. Yes, of course, it is an important distinction and carries many unique elements, but it also shares many similarities with other industries. Use those similarities as your foundation and build from there.

TS: Understand that cannabis organizations are the most frugal when it comes to security. Many if not most cannabusinesses spend money on security based on being compliant with regulators requirements. Security is an inconvenience and always costs too much…until it is needed. Unless your product can yield an increase in production or profit, it is no different than any other product in the eyes of the cannabis industry. Learn how to quantify the benefits of your product or service and how it affects their bottom line, especially start ups.


Q: Why should security professionals have cannabis security on their radar?

MG: The legal status of the cannabis industry is rapidly evolving and with those evolutions comes a wide scope of security concerns to keep in mind – physical protection, protection of assets in transit, cross-border restrictions, impacts of climate and weather, cash and finance, and retail security. As the legal status of each jurisdiction changes, the security landscape in many of these practice areas evolves as well. Stay current and stay connected with other industry professionals.

TS: It is only a matter of time before cannabis is removed from the DEA’s Schedule I. No matter whether it is re-scheduled or simply no longer listed as a scheduled drug entirely, the industry is here to stay. Banking reform will lead to lending abilities as well and the industry will grow and may not be as resistant to spending money to strengthen their security posture beyond compliance.


mary-gamble.jpg Mary Gamble, Esq., MBA, CPP, is an attorney at Gamble Legal, PLLC, with a background in international law and intellectual property law. Gamble previously worked as executive vice president and general counsel for an international high-tech security development company, where her practice spanned emerging technology and technology development, physical and cyber security, risk mitigation, risk management, business continuity, and consumer protection. Building upon her experience with security, Gamble earned her Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certification and, in her role at Gamble Legal, continues to integrate additional areas of practice for which she holds a passion including Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM), immigration, and environmental and sustainability practices.





tim%20sutton.jpgTim Sutton, CPP, PSP, PCI, CHPA, is a senior security consultant at Guidepost Solutions and has more than 35 years of experience in the security industry, with expertise in operational security management and program development, loss prevention, physical security and risk assessments, and technical security systems design and implementation. Sutton is a security subject matter expert in the cannabis industry, speaking at security and cannabis seminars and events across the country.