A.L.I.V.E.-NAIAS-Active Shooter Training

Our president, William Cousins, facilitated “A.L.I.V.E.” active shooter survival training for the North American International Auto Show (N.A.I.A.S.) security team. They are training for the upcoming 2022 Detroit Auto Show in September. This training will ensure that N.A.I.A.S. security will provide a safe environment for all visitors, vendors, and employees.

Bill is a certified instructor with the A.L.I.V.E. organization, which stands for “Assess, Leave, Impede, Violence, and Expose.” The organization provides programs to break down active shooter events—past and present—and give one the tools they need to survive when confronted with an active shooter situation, terrorist attack, violent attacker in the workplace, and other potentially deadly events. These survival programs are available to both organizations and individuals, both online and in-person.

Active shooter incidents are becoming increasingly commonplace today, and in too many cases, the attackers can inflict mass injury and casualty upon the innocent public before they can be stopped. So, if you are an HR, risk, or security and safety-industry professional, the A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooter Survival Training is a great way to elevate your knowledge of active shooting incidents while also learning how to help employees enjoy enhanced safety in both public and private locations.

A.L.I.V.E. offers active shooter training in Michigan, facilitated by Bill, which explains the five most critical steps one can take if ever faced with a mass shooter, workplace violence, or another potentially deadly event. Bill will also address all the concerns you have as a person, business owner, or member of a school, governmental agency, healthcare organization, place of worship, real estate association, or other group or organization.

A.L.I.V.E.’s active shooter training in Michigan can be tailored to groups of any size. It provides a simple step-by-step process that can be taken if a violent incident were to occur, helping to promote your safety and survival, as well as the safety and survival of your family, friends, co-workers, and even other innocent bystanders.

With the increase in gun violence, consider making your life and the lives of others your top priority. DO NOT WAIT to contact us so we can help ensure your place of employment, school, house of worship, or organization you belong to is safe! [ For more details about the A.L.I.V.E. organization, visit their website. ]

WJ Cousins and Associates founder, Bill Cousins, has over 35 years in the security industry—22 years of that spent as a US Secret Service agent. Bill is always willing to help and can be of service to help prevent or react to an adverse event. For more information about WJ Cousins and Associates or our services—security policies, procedures, and crisis management plans—contact them or call them at 248.703.4452 to discuss your security needs.

WJCA - Bill Cousins - Intellenet Award - 24MAR22

Our president, William Cousins, was a topical session speaker at the Annual INTELLENET Conference, and presented the topic Cannabis, Security and Beyond.” He discussed basic security requirements for cannabis facilities and then discussed how to provide the client with more value using risk management techniques and the Cannabis Risk Management Framework. This approach is more holistic in nature and will help the client to provide a safe environment and remain compliant.

INTELLENET is a worldwide network of investigators and security consultants specializing in law enforcement, investigations, intelligence, and private security. Its membership consists of highly experienced professional investigators and security consultants with national and international specialized investigative capabilities.

Their goal is to assist businesses to resolve problems with maximum professionalism and competency. They operate as a close-knit association—an alliance of experienced professional investigators adhering to a set of By-Laws and a Code of Conduct that stresses ethical, professional, and expert conduct.

Member capabilities, reputations, and accomplishments are sustained by membership and multi-faceted skills are acquired or enhanced by many seminars, conventions, and training experiences available through INTELLENET activities.

After his presentation, he received a Certificate of Appreciation from Jeff Stein, Intellenet’s Director of Training. [ Link to certificate ].


WJ Cousins and Associates founder, William Cousins, has over 35 years in the security industry—22 years of that spent as a US Secret Service agent. He and WJCA can be of service in these kinds of situations. For more information about WJ Cousins and Associates or our services—security policies, procedures, and crisis management plans—contact them or call them at 248.783.7190 to discuss your security needs.

Lockton Companies-Header Pic

One of the leading companies in insurance, Lockton Companies, interviewed our CEO, William Cousins about security measures for a cannabis facility. The following is a reproduction of that interview from Lockton’s Cannabis Advisory Newsletter.



With over 35 years of experience in law enforcement and security, Bill Cousins is a subject matter expert in security consulting, risk management and civil litigation suits. His firm, WJ Cousins & Associates LLC, is a trusted advisor for security and risk mitigation matters in the cannabis industry. Visit them at wjcousinsandassociates.com.

Q: The security measures for my cannabis facility have been inspected and approved by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. Is my facility considered safe?

A: The short answer is no. Just because you meet the minimum physical security requirements with video surveillance, alarms and access control doesn’t mean your facility safe. You need to have a crisis management plan which includes standard operating procedures for security-related incidents. For example, it should contain step-by-step instructions for adverse events such as armed robbery, workplace violence incidents, and sexual harassment, just to name a few. Your employees need to receive training, so they know how to react and handle such incidents. Failure to have these plans and training not only place your employees and customers at risk, but it also places your entire business enterprise at risk.

Q: I keep hearing about “risk.” How do I mitigate my overall business risk?

A: In order to take your enterprise to the next level, you need to appoint a qualified employee to act as your Risk/ Compliance Officer. Then that officer needs to develop
an overall cannabis risk management framework. This framework is used as a formal plan to identify, analyze and influence potential risk opportunities. It should contain the following six components:

• Internal control environment
• Risk assessment
• Control activities
• Information and communication
• Training
• Assurance

[ Click here to download the original PDF for the interview. For more information about Lockton Companies, click here. ].


WJ Cousins and Associates founder, William Cousins, has over 35 years in the security industry—22 years of that spent as a US Secret Service agent. He and WJCA can be of service in these kinds of situations. For more information about WJ Cousins and Associates or our services—security policies, procedures, and crisis management plans—contact them or call them at 248.783.7190 to discuss your security needs.

Oxford High School Shooting-WXYZ-William Cousins

Our founder, William J. Cousins, was interviewed about school security after the Oxford High School shooting (in Oxford, Michigan):

OXFORD, MI – WXYZ Detroit – December 1, 2021 – Kim Russell

Could the work of Secret Service agents teach us how to make schools safer?

Could school leaders learn how to better protect students from the work of the Secret Service? WXYZ talked to school security and education leaders about what went right preventing more death, and what went wrong costing lives at Oxford High School.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement agencies around Metro Detroit are investigating a number of “copycat” threats that came after the deadly violence at Oxford High Tuesday. Some schools closed for the day in response.

Protecting children is on everyone’s mind.

“I just hope we are brave enough as a state, as a community, to have conversations that need to happen. These kids, their families, they deserve that,” said Robert McCann, Executive Director of the K-12 Alliance of Michigan.

McCann says Oxford High School had many measures in place to prevent a student from firing on classmates. They had training, plans, and a school resource officer on duty. The sheriff’s office says the shooting only lasted about 5 minutes, because of a quick response preserving lives.

“Every 30 seconds, or whatever it is, there is another casualty,” said Todd Runyan, Regional Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.

Runyan says he believes what happened at Oxford High shows the importance of School Resource Officers in an emergency. He has heard some ask, should there be metal detectors? He warns they can provide a false sense of security. People can smuggle weapons in through windows or emergency exits, for example.

“We still have people that are able to bypass those. Are they a tool that can be used? Absolutely. I am grateful that so far we don’t have them in my community,” said Runyan.


“The Secret Service is a leading agency in studying incidents like what just occurred,” said Bill Cousins, CEO W.J. Cousins and Associates.

Cousins owns a company that provides security consultants and risk analysis. He worked with the Secret Service for more than two decades as a supervisory special agent.

“There is every indication this individual left signs he may do something like this,” said Cousins.

Cousins says Secret Service agents are trained to approach people who talk or write about hurting someone and get them help.

“You have to identify people who are hurting,” said Cousins.

He says schools need resources to help people who are hurting to protect students and staff, following the model of the work of the Secret Service.

“We could arrest that individual for what they said, but the best thing is to get them help,” said Cousins.


Education advocates agree. Michigan’s counselors each have hundreds more students than are recommended.

The investigation is still underway, discovering what happened leading to the tragedy at Oxford High School.


[ Article/Video: https://www.wxyz.com/news/oxford-school-shooting/could-the-work-of-secret-service-agents-teach-us-how-to-make-schools-safer
(Note: William Cousins comments start at 1:25 in the video ) ].


WJ Cousins and Associates founder, William Cousins, has over 35 years in the security industry—22 years of that spent as a US Secret Service agent. He and WJCA can be of service in these kinds of situations. Contact them to discuss your security needs.

Teamployer Logo

WJ Cousins and Associates are focused on helping our clients minimize the risks they face every day. One common concern or complaint our clients can relate to is personnel or problems with employees which deal with human resource matters. These problems can be anything from payroll issues to internal diversion issues, to sexual harassment or workplace violence complaints. Since your team members are your “ambassadors” to the customers, these issues need to be addressed in a fair and swift manner, which keeps you compliant with the current labor laws and administrative rulings.

In an effort to provide a solution for our clients, WJ Cousins and Associates has entered into a strategic partnership with Teamployer. They are a full-service company that specializes in providing Human Resources and payroll services to cannabis businesses. Their menu of services cover:

  • HR Administration
  • HR Software
  • Talent Management
  • Time and Attendance
  • Payroll
  • Tax Administration
  • Workers Compensation
  • Employee Benefits

We believe Teamployer is the best company available to ease the everyday administrative burdens and keep you legally compliant and out of the courtroom.


Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or e-mail our Teamployer representative, Frank Benages, or call him at 734.536.5646.


For more information about WJ Cousins and Associates or our services—security policies, procedures, and crisis management plans—e-mail us or call us at 248.783.7190.

Weighing Cannabis-Looping For Diversion

We recently joined the Association of Certified Commercial Cannabis Experts (ACCCE). The association brings together like-minded risk and compliance professionals who collaborate to identify and provide solutions to risks affecting the cannabis industry. As we reviewed some of their resource material, we found an article about “Looping,” which is a tactic used by individuals to purchase cannabis products in excess of the legal limit. The article was written by Brion Nazzaro, President of ACCCE. We found it to be informative and definitely worthwhile for anyone who is associated with the cannabis industry.

By instilling a risk culture starting with tone at top, the company can significantly reduce the potential risks of looping by utilizing the ACCCE Cannabis Risk Management Framework and implementing a risk-based approach. As with many other industries, commercial cannabis has its offenders that, undeterred, could cause significant loss of reputation to the commercial cannabis industry and brands through their actions.

Cannabis products continue to have a large demand on the illicit market, and it is the risk professional’s responsibility to guard against diversion. To prevent diversion, jurisdictions commonly have limits on the amount of cannabis a consumer is able to purchase in a single transaction. To get around the limit, a criminal or group of criminals may practice looping.

The Looping Example
Looping is the practice of evading the legal cannabis purchase limits by buying cannabis products at or below the legal limit repeatedly during a limited time period to obtain an illegal amount of cannabis product. The name comes quite literally from people going into the dispensary to purchase the maximum amount of cannabis, taking it to their car, and looping back around to the dispensary to repeat the process multiple times within the same day or even the same hour.

The looping case against a large Colorado commercial cannabis business was the first of its kind and included budtenders, managers, and owners who received hefty fines or jail sentences. The Denver Police Department was initially tipped off after a citizen noticed seeing several people making multiple trips each day to and from their parked vehicles to the store, continuing these loops for several hours at a time.

It is not always this straightforward to catch looping. Looping can involve a single consumer, multiple consumers working together, inside collusion, and multiple stores. To manage the risk of looping, risk officers need to implement risk-based controls to keep their consumer sales locations safe from looping schemes and tactics.

“It is not always this straightforward to catch looping. Looping can involve a single consumer, multiple consumers working together, inside collusion, and multiple stores. In order to manage the risk of looping, risk officers need to implement risk-based controls to keep their consumer sales locations safe from looping schemes and tactics.”

How to Reduce Looping Risk
The risk officer should help the commercial cannabis business owners or executives craft a policy to prevent diversion. It is important for the owners or executives to set the tone and establish the company’s intent to control diversion to enable the risk officer to effectively mitigate looping risks. The intention of the policy is to demonstrate to employees and vendors the commercial cannabis business’s reasonable efforts to control their points of diversion.

The risk officer should conduct a risk assessment that indicates the likely looping schemes to which the commercial cannabis business is exposed, or may be exposed. For example, a customer base that routinely buys near the legal limit may increase the chance that loopers are hiding in legitimate transactions. Similarly, in judging your geographic risk, being near a jurisdictional border may increase the likelihood that out-of-state loopers have access to a commercial cannabis business location. The risk assessment allows the risk officer to focus efforts on the most likely looping scenarios first and has the most effect on reducing overall looping risk.

Having identified the highest looping risks, the risk officer will then need to engage all staff to determine the control activities that will mitigate the inherent risks of looping identified in the risk assessment. Each commercial cannabis business will have a different looping risk profile, but there are standard controls across consumer sales that create a strong foundation. Creating a process for employees to raise looping concerns directly with the risk officer allows the commercial cannabis business to react quickly to poor controls or changes in their risk profile. Monitoring cannabis product transactions that are close to, or at the maximum purchase limit, throughout all locations is an effective means of identifying potential looping schemes.

To effectively manage looping risk, the risk officer should create reports that help management and the owners understand the effect of their work and present the results periodically. Standard reports should be created to assist management in understanding the scale and scope of looping risk. This should allow management to make appropriate risk-based decisions that consider this risk. For example, the level of looping risk at a commercial cannabis business may inform the extent of dual control expected at a store location.

A comprehensive risk program also includes risk-based training. Depending on the risk level of looping, the frequency of training may be more or less; however, it is common practice to have all consumer-facing employees trained to spot consumers exhibiting suspicious behaviors. Risk-based training should include how to spot red flags of looping with a focus on the looping schemes that were identified as highest risk in the risk assessment. Training should also include how to report suspicious activity to the risk officer.

Looping will always be a risk for commercial cannabis businesses. To make sure anti-looping mitigation remains effective and efficient over time, the risk officer should consider periodic assurance activities. Some common assurance activities include hiring a secret shopper to visit storefronts to test controls, monitoring the number of suspected or confirmed looping attempts over time for increases, or conducting periodic audit of controls. These activities will assist the risk officer in balancing the cost of mitigation with the risk the business faces.

An effective risk-based approach to control looping will reduce the chances that a commercial cannabis business will be targeted by organized criminals attempting to divert product to the illicit market. A legal commercial cannabis business found complicit in looping could cause a loss of reputation or even loss of the commercial cannabis license. Not every looper can be stopped, but implementing an effective cannabis risk management framework can reduce the likelihood that a commercial cannabis business is found complicit in looping activity.


This article highlights a significant vulnerability, faced by cannabis businesses every day. It brings attention to the threat not only being from external sources, but also from complicit or untrained employees, too.

So, can the “looping” tactic be totally stopped? Well, the answer is “No,” but by implementing simple measures and documented protocols into your Risk Management Framework (RMF), you can minimize your exposure.


Now then, what are the steps the cannabis business should take? Well, WJ Cousins and Associates recommends that a business first have a risk assessment conducted to identify any weaknesses in your current protocols and record keeping. Once any weaknesses have been identified, employees should be trained, and new protocols should be documented.


For assistance in this and many other concerns regarding a cannabis business, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to assist you in protecting your business.


[ Article Credit: Brion Nazzaro, November 2, 2020 | Category: “Cannabis Risk Management Framework, Organized Crime.” The Association of Certified Commercial Cannabis Experts (ACCCE) is dedicated to advancing the professional knowledge and skills of those committed to commercial cannabis risk management. (Link to original article) ]

Cannabis Photo-Credit: Little Ivan


Failing to adequately plan, budge for security can have devastating consequences for market upstarts.

Author: Joel Griffin
June 24, 2021

All told, 36 states have passed laws permitting the use of medicinal marijuana and at least 18 have legalized recreational cannabis use thus far. While many see this as an opportunity to cash in on a fast-growing industry, the reality is that there are still significant barriers to entry for those that want to grow and sell cannabis.

With each passing year, the obstacles that once stood in the way of legal cannabis consumption – both medicinal and recreational – are falling by the wayside. This year alone, New York, New Mexico, and Connecticut have moved to legalize recreational cannabis use, while Alabama lawmakers recently approved legislation that will allow medical marijuana to be prescribed to patients suffering from a variety of illnesses and diseases.

All told, 36 states have passed laws permitting the use of medicinal marijuana and at least 18 have legalized recreational cannabis use thus far. This has led to a boom in both marijuana cultivation and dispensary operations throughout the nation, but while many see this as an opportunity to cash in on a fast-growing industry, the reality is that there are still significant barriers to entry for those that want to grow and sell cannabis, not the least of which includes a substantial investment in security.

According to Bill Cousins, founder of Michigan-based WJ Cousins & Associates, a security consulting firm that specializes in the protection of cannabis operations, business owners in the space must realize that their primary security responsibility is the safety of employees as well as their patients/customers, which means that they should build their security program around safeguarding human life within the facility or on the property in addition to protecting the product itself.

“Everything needs to be video recorded; any movements of individuals or cannabis should be recorded, according to the required state laws or regulations,” Cousins explains. “As I tell my clients, think casino. Anywhere you go you should be on camera and anywhere product goes it should be on camera.”

Of course, there is also a stark contrast between the security measures that are required at a cultivation facility where there are a set number of employees that have all undergone a background check versus a retail location in which anyone can walk off the street into the establishment.

“Everything still has to be recorded by a video surveillance system, but you don’t have the overall responsibility for patients or customers. Your cultivation facility is going to have the same requirements but a different degree of responsibility,” Cousins explains. “The cultivation facility may have only 10 employees whereas a provisioning center may end up processing 100 to 200 patients a day coming in and out from the street.”

And while security requirements may vary by state, Cousins says that the principles remain the same for the cannabis industry.

“Some states set standards of minimum requirements for the security cameras where other states don’t. In Michigan, they don’t set the standard, however; the cannabis facility is on notice that the state at any particular time – the marijuana regulatory agency or the state police – can access your cameras and monitor your activities within the facility,” he adds. “That would prohibit sort of your lower end cameras like you might buy at Home Depot or something like that, so it would require that they be professionally installed by an integrator.”

Seed-to-Sale Tracking
Cousins says it is also imperative that cannabis business operators go above and beyond when it comes to leveraging event tracking solutions for auditing purposes.

“In Michigan, for example, they use the Metric (regulatory cannabis event tracking software) system for following seed-to-sale of any cannabis products. Every state is going to require something similar, but Metric is a popular software system that is in use. I also strongly recommend a backup system, or what I like to call a ‘proprietary system.’ There are number of them out there… but you should have a dual audit system – one with Metric and one with your proprietary and the proprietary systems that are out there are very good and the majority of them will interface with Metric.”

In the event a dispensary receives a secure shipment of product, for example, if it is scanned into both systems and there is an outage or some other unforeseen event, then the business owner has an adequate backup system to provide corroborating data or even additional details to regulators during an inspection.

Pitfalls to Avoid
According to Cousins, one of the biggest missteps that those entering the cannabis industry make is failing to adequately plan for security.

“When you decide to get into the industry and apply for a license, you need to surround yourself with good people – people that are professional: a good attorney to write your application, a good security consultant to help you design your security plan,” he advises. “People think, well, ‘I can do this myself; I can write my own security plan.’ The problem with that is yeah, they might be able to put pen to paper, but if something occurs on the premises afterwards, you are liable.”

For instance, if there is an armed robbery at a dispensary, a patient or customer, whether they were physically injured or not, could file a lawsuit against the business over the fear that was inflicted during the incident.

“We’re in such a litigious society here in the U.S. that I’m going to make all kinds of allegations like, ‘I can’t sleep at night, I have headaches, I can’t go back to work, my relationship with my partner or spouse is damaged beyond repair because of this, I’m so traumatized by this incident.’ Well, if you write your own security plan, there’s going to be a lawsuit and how are you going to defend your security plan in a lawsuit? You’re not, you can’t because you don’t have the knowledge and the training to do it,” Cousins chides.

Another common error newcomers to the industry make, according to Cousins, is underbudgeting for the security services and technologies that will be needed to secure their facilities.

“At the beginning, I’ve seen a lot of clients come in and I ask them if they are funded for this project and they say, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve got plenty of cash.’ Then when it comes down to buying the equipment and getting the integrator, well money is tight at that point, so they have to go with a lesser quality camera system and, of course, they are all required to buy alarm systems and access control too,” Cousins adds. “People just aren’t budgeting for security. They consider it a necessary evil, but in fact they do get a significant return on their investment in the event something occurs.”

About the Author
Joel Griffin is the Editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com and a veteran security journalist. You can reach him at [email protected].

[ SecurityInfoWatch.com is the industry’s first responsive design website that is the gold standard in the security industry for providing breaking news, original content, product information, thought provoking technology analysis, webinars, e-newsletters and active discussion forum. ]

[ Click here to see the original article as well as to view more information on the Security Info Watch website. Image courtesy: Little Ivan/bigstockphoto.com. ]

Duty Of Care (Photo Credit - Nick_Youngson)

“Duty of Care” is an Essential Concept for Any Cannabis Business

As a new cannabis license holder, you have many items on your to-do list when it comes to setting up and launching your business. And while it is easy to be consumed by getting your enterprise up and running, there is one thing you want to be sure you HAVE NOT missed: securing your business against an adverse incident when it comes to security and safety. Just one such incident could put your business in jeopardy. This is what we would refer to as The Next Chapter of your business, or, now that you have it, to keep it!

It all goes to one legal concept: “Duty of Care.” According to the legal dictionary, “A duty of care is the legal responsibility of a person or organization to avoid any behaviors or omissions that could reasonably be foreseen to cause harm to others.” In other words, if you are not proactive with obtaining the proper documentation, it increases the chances that you are more likely to be a defendant in a civil suit.

Obviously, no business owner can foresee all possibilities, but you should exercise a reasonable effort to try and mitigate any potential problems. That is why WJ Cousins and Associates recommend having a well-documented set of security policies and procedures, training for your employees, and a Crisis Management Plan. Having these will certainly help with your “Duty of Care” responsibilities. These policies and procedures should address two areas.


First, are the daily operational procedures. Having this reference and requiring your employees to read and acknowledge understanding will pay dividends for business operations as well as help in the event of a discipline or human resource issue.

Second, all cannabis businesses should have a Crisis Management Plan, which will provide specific guidance to leadership and employees for such events as an armed robbery or medical emergency.


Another threat to your business can be failures to be compliant with regulatory requirements. Recently, the Marihuana Regulatory Agency conducted investigations (or inspections) into several facilities which resulted in significant fines to the business owners. These issues could have been avoided by having documented procedures that would have ensured all security technology and procedures are functioning as required by regulations.


Having an experienced security partner at your side who has a specialization in the cannabis industry can help you make your new business venture a success and avoid the security pitfalls that can jeopardize your investment.

For more information about security policies, procedures, and crisis management plans, e-mail us or just call us at 248-783-7190.

Remember, you need to protect your investment!

[ Photo credit: Nick Youngson ]

Hostile Termination

Much has been written about how to handle the termination of an employee. One thing to always remember is, even when the employee is viewed as easygoing and mild-mannered, that same employee can turn to violent behavior. The question becomes, what can you do to help ensure that it does not turn into a hostile termination and a violent situation? The answer is preparation and prevention.

But before we discuss preparation and prevention, you must remember when terminating an employee, for whatever reason, you are taking away their ability to make a living. In some cases, you may be adversely affecting their ability to get another position in the future. This is a stress factor for the employee, which can be compared to the same stress level a person feels when a close loved one dies or a divorce occurs. Because of this, you will need to use all your professional and people skills to correctly handle the meeting. If the situation goes badly, it will reflect on you, not only by your management but also by the other employees in the company. We all know when situations go bad, the “word” travels fast throughout the company. Therefore, the preparation should begin the moment it is determined the employee has to be terminated.


Recommendation #1: Once the decision is made to terminate an employee, obtain any and all information you can about the employee and what is going on with them outside of the workplace. If you haven’t done so already, work with the employee’s immediate management to determine such things as, does the employee possess guns? What kind of mental or emotional stress might the employee be under outside of work (such as divorce, death, addictions, or financial issues)? All these factors can be used to gather information which you can use to your advantage. Remember, the employee may or may not have any idea the termination is about to occur.

If you have obtained information that indicates the employee is prone to violence, or is known to carry a weapon, have plainclothes security professionals near the meeting room. These professionals should have training in de-escalating potentially violent situations. If your company does not have trained security professionals, contact a reputable security or risk management company for assistance.

Also, if you have a positive relationship with the local police, give them a call for advice on the termination and inform them it has the potential to get violent. By doing this, you are giving them advance notice so they can be better prepared to respond.

Recommendation #2: Where should the termination occur? Depending on the circumstances, it may be prudent to conduct the termination process at a neutral or off-site location, such as a lawyer’s office. If the meeting must be conducted on company property, do it away from other employees, such as in an unused conference room in the human resources department. Make sure it is a location where you will be out of the sight of other employees.

Recommendation #3: When should it be conducted? There are different schools of thought on this. Some would say it is best to do it on a Friday or just before a three-day weekend. This is not a good idea because as noted above, this can be a life-changing event for the employee. The employee will most likely need emotional or legal assistance. If the termination is done just before a weekend, it will be difficult for them to obtain the emotional or legal counseling they may need. Instead, they may turn to alcohol or drug abuse, which only makes matters far worse for everyone involved. Therefore, it is recommended to have the termination on a Tuesday or Wednesday and in the early to midafternoon. This way when the employee is escorted off the premises, they have the opportunity to seek the help they may need.

Recommendation #4: Remember, the purpose of the meeting is to advise the employee of the termination, not to debate or give advice. Keep it brief, direct and to the point. If the employee wants to argue, advise them of their options, such as union representation or consulting with a labor lawyer. Depending on the individual and the situation, this entire process should take no more than ten to fifteen minutes.

Recommendation #5: You will need a reputable witness. It is best to have another HR professional or senior manager present. During the termination process, the witness should be seated in a position near the door. By sitting there, the witness can leave the room to get help if the situation appears to become potentially violent. Also, position yourself where you can walk out of the room without getting stuck between the door and the employee. This gives you the tactical advantage to get out of the room if the situation is unresolved or becomes “ugly.”
If the situation becomes tenuous, tell the employee you must leave because you have another appointment, and exit the room as quickly as possible. Then call security for assistance.

Recommendation #6: Be prepared to escort the employee off the premises. Never do it alone! It is preferred to escort the employee with security personnel in plain clothes. If this is not possible, make sure you are accompanied by another management-level person. The other manager should walk behind you and the employee so as not to attract too much attention. This will allow them to act as a witness and call for assistance should the situation become tenuous or violent.

Recommendation #7: There are several options regarding what to do with the employee’s belongings. One is while the termination process is ongoing, a person from management can go to the employee’s office, cubicle or locker to gather up any articles of personal nature, such as family pictures and memorabilia. These items should be placed in a cardboard box and can be given to the employee as they exit the premises. The fired employee should be told that an inventory of their work area will be conducted and any additional personal items found will be forwarded to them at a later date.

Another option is to wait until the termination is over before doing a thorough inventory of the work area. After collecting inventory, all the personal items of the fired employee can be boxed up, and the box(es) can then be delivered to the employee by security or sent via mail.

Recommendation #8: Prepare yourself for the interview. In your own mind, you should be rehearsing possible scenarios that could occur. Not only potential violence, but what if the employee has an emotional breakdown or demands to see your superior or just tunes you out and sits and stares. What are you going to say or do? Be prepared to handle almost any scenario imaginable. It is always a good idea to consult with your legal department to know what to say and what not to say to the employee.

Recommendation #9: Have any and all documents related to the termination in either an envelope or folder. If a severance package is being offered, make sure the paperwork will be easily understood by the employee, especially if the package is offering a financial incentive or extended benefits. Go over all the paperwork and provide an explanation for each document. Due to the emotional stress of the situation, the employee will probably not grasp everything you are saying. To assist with this, the paperwork should contain a phone number that the employee can call if they have any questions or concerns.

Recommendation #10: Remember to always be professional and display a positive attitude during the process. This may assist in alleviating some of the stress from the employee. At the time of the termination, it may be difficult to remember this, but the employee is a human being. Treat and address them with respect. This may help diffuse a potentially bad situation before it even starts. It will surely be important if there is any subsequent litigation.


These are some brief recommendations that will assist you in the event of a potentially hostile termination of an employee. For more information about any general security questions you may have, or specifically securing your cannabis enterprise, visit our website, contact us, or call us at 248-783-7190.

Security Lessons for Cannabis Companies-ASIS Seminar

Recently we attended an American Society for Industrial Security seminar entitled, “Guarding the New Green: Security Lessons for Cannabis Companies in Emerging Markets.” It was both informative and well done.

The presenter, Glenn Hardy, CPP, is the Chief Growth Officer for Xiphos Corporation and Xiphos Security. First let us say, kudos to Glenn since even though his presentation offered security lessons primarily for the northern California area, we believe his lessons may be indicative of future criminal activity aimed at cannabis facilities around the country.


Expert Observations on Cannabis Facility Security

Some of the key takeaways were:

  • Cannabis facilities in northern California have been experiencing crimes such as breaking and entering where the perpetrators are equipped with military-style weapons.
  • Cannabis facility surveillance cameras are detecting an increase of suspicious activities involving loitering, a method used by criminals to conduct active/passive surveillance.
  • Criminal groups use multiple members to conduct surveillance to best determine ways to access a facility as well as the best ways to exit or flee properties after a crime.
  • Cannabis facilities and their employees are experiencing an increase in assaults, which have occurred at various times of the day, and not just at night.
  • Perpetrators are using heavy cutting tools to cut through fences and metal walls.
  • When breaching or surveillance tactics prove successful, criminal groups are using the tactics at other locations.
  • The number of “brute force” incidents is on the rise.
  • Cannabis facilities are now replacing bollards with the “Jersey Barricade,” which is used for worker safety during highway construction projects.


Security Solutions for Cannabis Facilities

There are some ways that you can combat these types of perpetrators and criminal activities. It won’t be easy, but the following are a few good suggestions.

  • Technical security measures, such as surveillance cameras, need to be maintained with software updates. If necessary, add more cameras and make sure that there is 24/7 monitoring.
  • Cannabis security managers need to work together and share intelligence information.
  • Just as important, information regarding criminal activity needs to be shared with law enforcement.


One of the most critical components necessary to secure a cannabis facility and its employees is what is known as “operational security,” also called OPSEC. With OPSEC owners have a process that focuses on reducing or eliminating a criminal organization’s ability to obtain information about the vulnerabilities of a facility or employees.

A successful OPSEC program involves both internal and external facets along with training. When properly put in place, the program can significantly reduce the chance of your facility or employees being targeted.


For more information about security lessons and securing your cannabis enterprise, visit our website, contact us, or call us at 248-783-7190.