WJ Cousins and Associates founder Bill Cousins was interviewed by The Price of Business Radio—a nationally syndicated show out of Houston—about security issues in the medical marijuana industry.
Kevin Price: Welcome back to this, already, the final segment of today’s Price of Business. Really glad to spend some time with Bill Cousins. And he’s going to give us some insight about security issues in the incredibly expanding marijuana industry. I don’t care what your position is on marijuana. I personally have long been an advocate for medical marijuana and certainly have seen miraculous results when it comes to that. But this is an industry that here to stay. There’s no question about it. Even now, President Trump is giving rumblings of possibly supporting legislation to decriminalize it on a federal level. And states have already taken the lead making it legal.
So to me, it’s just a question of when. And so, security issues about this to me seem to be a timely question to ask. Bill Cousins is our guest. His business is WJ Cousins Associates. And that website is wjcousinsassociates.com. Bill, welcome to the program. Now, you weren’t always in the marijuana space, but you’ve long term been in the consulting and security space. A little bit about your background before we get into our topic.
Bill Cousins: Thank you. I’ve been in this business about 34 years. I started back in the mid-70’s as a local police officer in Michigan’s suburban city of Detroit. And then I went on to have a great career of 22 years with the United States Secret Service, where I retired as one of the assistant special agents in charge of the Detroit office. And then I moved into private industry. And I was director of security for two major manufacturing corporations, international corporations. And then about five years ago, I decided to go out on my own and open my own shop, so to say.
Kevin Price: So you say suburban Detroit, where specifically?
Bill Cousins: Livonia, Michigan.
Kevin Price: Livonia. I grew up– I was born in Ferndale.
Bill Cousins: Oh my gosh. Not far away at all.
Kevin Price: Oh no. A lot of my friends ended up settling in Livonia. I love Michigan. In fact, I’m going up there soon. I’m going to be up there for a couple of weeks. And you can take your guy out of Michigan, but not Michigan out of the guy. So that’s great. And I always love talking to people from the area. But you weren’t always in the medical marijuana security space. Are you exclusively in that space now, or is that just one of the areas that you’re focusing on?
Bill Cousins: That’s just one of the areas that I’m focusing on. About a year ago, just before the law here went official and the state started accepting applications and so forth, I saw a void in that area to provide, which is required by the state, the security plans for the medical marijuana establishments. With that, I just took my years of experience in securing all kinds of facilities all over the globe in the Secret Service, and I just adapted it to the regulations here for this state and to just give them a plan that gets them through the state licensing program.
Kevin Price: Oh, I see. So you help navigate them through that process. And obviously, it’s probably a certain degree of boilerplate, but there’s probably also some things that are unique to each business, I would assume.
Bill Cousins: Exactly. Each facility, each site is unique, whether it’s an old facility or an old building that’s being remodeled and converted, or it could be a new site just with architectural designs. So they’re all different.
Kevin Price: So tell me, what’s unique about security needs for medical marijuana versus other things that you have provided security for?
Bill Cousins: Well, first of all, we all know medical marijuana facilities provide a tempting target to the criminal element, whether it’s individuals or organized crime groups. And the reason for that is, number one, you have a lot of cash on site. And number two, the medical marijuana that’s in the facilities has an immediate street value. So if they take it, they can get rid of it on the street very rapidly.
Kevin Price: And so as a result, are you having to have to do some things for it that you wouldn’t even do for other businesses? And if so, what would that look like?
Bill Cousins: What I’ve done, Kevin, is taken the Secret Service model of 360-degree coverage. So we cover, not just the building itself, but we go into the geographic environment where the building is in, the guarding of the outer, middle, and inner parameters. We help them with selecting employees and how to do background checks, the technology that’s going to be used– the security technology– auditing and tracking, technology, policies, procedures, how to handle visitors, even go through how to open and close the business to protect the employees and the patients that might be in there.
Kevin Price: I guess you don’t want just anyone opening or closing. You probably always want a certain number of people always there for accountability sake. There’s probably a lot of unique things that pertain directly to that industry.
Bill Cousins: I try to tell my clients basically failing to plan is planning to fail. So if we can create the plan, and they follow the plan, it will help them be successful.
Kevin Price: Talking to Bill Cousins. His website– I want to encourage you to get that– one more time is WJ Cousins–I’m sorry–That’s WJCousinsandAssociates.com. So much for my reading abilities. We got about a minute left, a little less than that. But I’d love to get your final thoughts as we wrap up the segment, Bill. And thanks for being with us.
Bill Cousins: It’s my pleasure. And thank you for having me. As you said at the beginning of the interview, this industry is exploding. It’s estimated to hit well over $2.2 billion in sales this year alone in 2018. So we have an opportunity now to legitimize it, use it as a healing measure for the patients, and just legitimize the whole marijuana industry.
Kevin Price: And let me tell you, folks. The miracle stories surrounding marijuana are extraordinary. And if anything else can be abused, everything else can be abused. Unlike tobacco, we can find all kinds of positives that come from marijuana if in the right hands used in the right way. And frankly, to a certain extent, the more we embrace it, the more we can help those who have addiction issues that surround it. So Bill, thanks so much for your time. We’ve got to wrap up this segment with that. And I want to remind you though as we wrap up the show in fact, that the show continues 24/7 at priceofbusiness.com, where we’re continuously adding new content– audio, visuals, articles, and more. We like to say it’s the show that never ends because it continues 24/7 at priceofbusiness.com. All right. While there, engage with us on social media. And remember, The Price of Business is nationally syndicated on the BizTalk Radio Network.
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