With Federal laws classifying cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, cannabis dispensary owners like you face certain unique financial challenges, such as difficulty obtaining loans and securing adequate banking services. When it comes to cash controls, however, many of the challenges you face are not unique. In fact, they will be seen in many other cash-intensive businesses; casinos are a prime example. Just like those in the gaming industry, cannabis dispensary owners should implement and maintain strong internal cash controls to reduce their risk of theft and losses.
Cash controls should start with your staff. All count team members should be fully trained on, and follow, your cash management procedures and processes.
To reduce the risk of misappropriation, important cash controls for personnel may include:
- Two or more staff members must be present at all times when accessing cash funds.
- Each step of the cash management process should be designated to different count team members; no one team member should be able to complete the process from start to finish without oversight.
- All count team members should be present before daily deposit counts begin, with a minimum of three employees per count. The more personnel who are involved, the less likely they’ll be able to find an opportunity for collusion.
- Access to the count room should be restricted while the count is conducted.
- All count team members should sign a document attesting to the accuracy of the daily deposit count.
Physical Cash Controls
Dispensaries should have physical cash controls in place anywhere in the store where transactions occur and where cash is counted and stored. These physical controls may include:
- Having video surveillance of the facility.
- Having protocols for access to the bank bag keys.
- Using a safe that keeps cash secure on site
- Using coin and banknote counters and sorters to keep employees’ contact with cash to a minimum
These types of controls limit physical access to your cash in high-risk areas. By limiting this access, you will keep your cash safer.
Cash management technology is growing at a rapid pace, and you now have access to many electronic safeguards that weren’t available in the past. These electronic controls track the movements of your cash at all times.
Upgrading your traditional safe to a smart safe, for example, will not only keep your cash secure on site but also enable you to track and record all cash movements in and out of the safe, including users, dates, times, and amounts.
Cash management devices like smart safes and coin and banknote recyclers may also be integrated with cash management software, which gives you the ability to track, monitor, and analyze trends in your cash operations as well. This will help you spot deviations from expected performance to indicate potential cases of misappropriation of funds or areas of weakness that lead to losses.
In a cash-based industry, proper cash controls are vital to ensuring the security of your cash and employees. These personnel, physical, and electronic safeguards may be developed, implemented, and maintained in cash-heavy cannabis dispensaries to reduce the risks of cash management.