The State of Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements in CA, OR, WA, AK and Canada

Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements

Ever Changing Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements

(Updated May, 2021)

The cannabis industry is experiencing explosive growth, despite marijuana being illegal under U.S. federal law. Medical marijuana is often used to relieve pain caused from headaches and diseases like cancer, as well as to treat long-term conditions like glaucoma. Cultivation, promotion, and sales of marijuana for medical use are legal in 29 states in the United States and the District of Columbia, and eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of cannabis products. Recent legislation paved the way for full legalization of both medical and recreational use across all of Canada. Despite the recent reversal of federal enforcement policies, nearly all industry experts expect that legal marijuana is here to stay and will continue to be legalized. The massive tax windfalls (expected to be over $6.7B in 2018 alone) combined with more effective public control of a previously uncontrolled process are too enticing to attempt to put back in the bottle.

Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements   Disgraced Attorney General John Mitchell of the Nixon administration placed marijuana as a Schedule I drug (naming it equal to Heroin, LSD and Ecstasy) in 1972 as part of the ranking or “scheduling” of all drugs under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana’s classification under the Controlled Substances Act has become increasingly out of step with scientific research, public opinion, medical use and state law. Citing marijuana’s potentially significant therapeutic potential for a number of serious ailments, including chronic pain and epilepsy, organizations such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have called on the DEA to change the drug’s scheduling status to Schedule III which would decriminalize it federally. It is unknown at this time how the states rights versus federal regulations battle will resolve in the case of marijuana. However the weight of scientific evidence, public pressure and now the sheer economic value to states seems likely to force the DEA to move marijuana to schedule III, thereby making it fully legal.



Despite the disconnect with federal regulations, state regulations require all cannabis operations and dispensaries to implement and maintain effective video surveillance systems. Forecasts show sales of $6 billion to $7 billion in 2018 and, when combined with sales of complementary products, may have a total economic impact of over $21 billion. By 2024, sales are projected to reach as high as $61 billion and have a total economic impact of over $90 billion. As more states pass legislation, sales for recreational use are expected to outpace sales for medical use over time. Video surveillance is helping cannabis facility operators protect their retail stores, merchandise, warehouses, and growing operations. But it is not a luxury—it is required by state law.


Growth in Video Surveillance Footage

Every state has specific mandates for video surveillance systems. The state of California, for example, requires a minimum camera resolution of 1280 x 720 (720p) pixels and no less than 15 frames per second. Cameras and storage must be Internet Protocol (IP) compatible. And cameras must be placed at all entrances and exits, and record from both indoor and outdoor vantage points 24 hours a day with no interruptions regardless of lighting or conditions. In addition, fencing and gates surrounding growing operations must be monitored at least 20 feet beyond the perimeter. Although today’s advanced camera technology—with multi-sensor, high-resolution quality— allows owners to provide better security and watch over their operations remotely, it creates a storage challenge. The California mandate required cameras generate approximately 13 GB of data per day, and most states require surveillance cameras to record continuously (24/7 year-round) wherever cannabis is present. Retention time is also a concern. Regulations governing the cannabis industry in the state of California require video footage to be kept for a minimum of 90 days. There are other states that require footage to be kept for as long as a year. Insurance and legal coverage may require your operation to meet industry standard 1 year retention requirements for all video surveillance. Overcoming these challenges requires a flexible storage solution capable of delivering the capacity needed in a cost-effective way. The cannabis industry is poised for growth. As of 2017, the estimated number of cannabis-related businesses in the United States totaled 7,800 to 11,000. When added to the number of ancillary services, technology, and product companies, the industry total was between 15,000 and 23,500. New business owners from outside states are joining the ranks. This increase is driving a trend toward intelligent enterprise surveillance systems that provide the capacity, scalability, and remote monitoring capability needed to operate large growing and production facilities. Getting the most from these systems requires a robust storage solution that scales as you grow. Constantly evolving Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements.


cannabis security requirements



State by State Video Surveillance Requirements Summary

As the Cannabis industry goes from startup to established, new stricter requirements and regulations will continuously roll out. As of today the below requirements are accurate and compiled from each states statutes and laws. Expect them to be updated and amended as they encounter new scenarios and situations. Likely legal actions will directly impact both minimum requirements and best practices standards. Err towards best practices and assume the requirements will go up rather than lessen. It is our expectation that the myriad and non-conforming laws on retention time for video will standardize to 1 year. That matches most law enforcement, corrections and manufacturing requirements. So even if your state is currently only mandating 45-90 days now, assume that they will start requiring 1 year retention times for every video. And just attempting to retain the video wont cut it, authorities are starting to roll out fines to organizations that can’t actually retrieve archived video. Not only should you expect to be required to archive 100% of all video footage for at least 1 year, smart organizations will also ensure that every frame of every video is protected and access is guaranteed with no downtime and no lost frames or data corruption. A useful resource for overall Cannabis regulations and status for every state. (focused on end user impacts)


There are quite a few states with coming initiatives on the ballot to legalize Cannabis.

cannabis security requirements



California is in many ways leading the industry forward with a robust set of regulations.

Of course California is also causing a lot of chaos and confusion with their ever changing regulations and the unique way that local cities and counties can set their own micro requirements. California’s three state cannabis licensing authorities have announced the publication of proposed regulations in the California Regulatory Notice Register, the first step toward adopting non-emergency regulations. This publication is the start of the formal rule-making process and marks the opening of the 45-day public comment period. Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements.

The current emergency regulations, adopted by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, California Department of Public Health and California Department of Food and Agriculture in December 2017 and readopted in June 2018, were originally issued through the emergency rule-making process to meet the legislative mandate to open California’s regulated cannabis market on January 1, 2018. These emergency regulations will remain in effect until the non-emergency rule-making process is complete.

Each licensing authority’s proposed non-emergency regulations and rule-making documents have been posted in the links below.

Bureau of Cannabis Control Proposed Regulation Documents

California County and City Ordinances –
Butte County Medical Marijuana Ordinance
Calaveras County Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ordinance
Humboldt County Ordinance (Proposition 215)
Los Angeles County Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ordinance
Santa Ana Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ordinance
San Francisco Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program
– San Francisco Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) Inspection Program
Shasta County Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ordinance
City of Oakland Medical MJ Ordinance
City of Santa Barbara Medical MJ Ordinance
City of Santa Cruz Medical MJ Ordinance
CA NORML Guide to Laws and Penalties




  • 5044. Video Surveillance System


This section has been amended to remove the requirement that surveillance system storage devices or the cameras be transmission control protocol capable of being accessed through the internet. The Bureau determined that this requirement was not necessary to ensure the health and safety of the public as recordings are required to be saved for 90 days which provides the Bureau and the licensee with sufficient time to review the surveillance footage in case a crime or unauthorized act occurs on the premises that necessitates an investigation. With the removal of this requirement, the numbering of proposed subsections (b)-(m) have been changed.

Subsection (e) which was formerly subsection (f) has been amended to clarify licensed microbusinesses authorized to engage in retail sales are required to record point-of-sale areas. This change was necessary because the requirement to record point-of-sale areas does not apply to all microbusinesses, it only applies to microbusinesses that have been authorized by the Bureau to engage in retail.

Proposed subsection (h) contains an amendment to the requirement that surveillance recordings be kept for a minimum of 90 days. The Bureau has amended this section to clarify that the 90- day requirement is 90 calendar days. This was necessary to provide consistency with other sections of the regulations where the Bureau has clarified business days and calendar days.

Subsection (j) has been amended to insert “of” into “United States National Institute of Standards and Technology.” This change was necessary for accuracy. A grammatical change was also made to clarify the appropriate standards to be used.

Subsection (l)(3) amends a cross reference to subsection (i). This change was necessary due to the renumbering of the section.



For the Western states and Canada more detailed information is outlined below:


California Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements:

§40205. Video Surveillance

  • 24 hour continuous Motion detection is not allowed
  • min 15 fps
  • min 720p
  • min 90 days On-Site, NO Cloud allowed

with only 100 cameras at minimum that is 350TBs useable storage

Oregon Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements:

845-025-1450 Video Recording Requirements for Licensed Facilities

  • 24 hour continuous Motion detection is not allowed
  • min 10 fps
  • min 720p
  • min 90 days
  • Must be backed up to a location not in the surveillance room (can be a fire safe room or fire safe)

with only 100 cameras at minimum that is 230TBs useable storage

Washington Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements WAC 314-55-083 What are the security requirements for a marijuana licensee?

  • 24 hour continuous Motion detection is not allowed
  • min 10 fps
  • min VGA 640×470
  • min 45 days On-Site, NO Cloud allowed

with only 100 cameras at minimum that is 40TBs useable storage

Alaska Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements 3 AAC 306.720. Video surveillance

  • 24 hour continuous
  • min 10 fps
  • min 720p
  • min 40 days

with only 100 cameras at minimum that is 36TBs useable storage

Canada Cannabis Video Surveillance Requirements Guidance Document – Building and Production Security Requirements for Marihuana for Medical Purposes

  • 24 hour continuous Motion detection is not allowed
  • min 15 fps
  • min 720p
  • min 1 years

with only 100 cameras at minimum that is 1,500TBs useable storage

Cannabis Video Surveillance RequirementsThe Growing Cannabis Industry Requires Growing Video Surveillance

By 2020 video surveillance is expected to generate over 859 Petabytes of new video every day. A 1080P HD resolution camera in a typical cannabis setting generates up to 10Gb of video every day. Video surveillance technology is leaping forward with real-time frame rates (20-30FPS), HD resolutions, PTZ and 360 degree IP cameras, motion detection, and AI based machine learning among many other intriguing technologies. With the number of cameras increasing rapidly and mandated retention times stretching into years these modest baseline requirements can quickly consume Petabytes of storage. It’s not a question of if your storage and data protection needs will increase, it’s only will they grow 2x, 4x or 10x over the next 5-10 years? This technological tidal wave gets multiplied by increasing regulatory requirements impacting surveillance coverage, retention times, video analysis and even legal challenges. Some of these requirements and challenges are unique to cannabis and some are universal, but all of them are driving the need for smart storage systems that deliver scale as you grow technology and open standards solutions. Arxys has been crafting data storage solutions for customers for over 25 years and has the experience and technology to ensure your cannabis operation is in compliance with video recording and protection requirements.

cannabis video surveillance

Stay Up To Date on Cannabis Security Requirements

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Another excellent resource for up to date Cannabis information is 


Luckily, the centrist think tank “Third Way” released a collection of charts showing the history of marijuana legalization in the United States. They also included an analysis of how all those laws came into existence and how future legalization efforts can learn from the past. But for now, we’ll just enjoy these charts.

Security Considerations for Cannabis Operations

Despite the legalization of marijuana in a growing number of jurisdictions, there remains a thriving black market and high demand for cannabis across state or country lines where it is still illegal. Unfortunately, marijuana’s high black market value makes any business that grows, processes, sells, or transports cannabis a prime target for theft – by unscrupulous employees or outsiders.

Cash theft is another inherent risk for cannabis businesses. Because of marijuana’s federally illegal status in the United States, many dispensaries are still unable to accept credit or debit card payments, meaning their cash registers, safes, and deposit bags bound for the bank are filled with large quantities of actual cash.

Why Is Security So Important for Cannabis Businesses?

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