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The legalization of cannabis: Mandating private firms to ensure security

By: Ida-Marie Furino
January 26, 2018

The article was written in collaboration with the Honourable Christian Paradis, GardaWorld Senior Vice President of Strategic Development for Security Services Canada.

The legalization of cannabis is a highly-debated and frequently-discussed topic in the media. Although there are various opinions surrounding the subject, cannabis will be legalized throughout Canada in the upcoming months, and we should be proactive in preventing any potential negative repercussions. 

Several questions have been raised concerning security and enforcing laws and regulations related to the legalization of cannabis, so GardaWorld decided to mandate Ipsos Public Affairs1, the leading Canadian firm for survey management and data collection, to conduct a scientific survey to evaluate Canadians’ stance on having private security firms support police forces to provide security in respect to the decision to legalize cannabis.

Based on 1,007 respondents of the Ipsos survey, Canadians expect a secure environment regarding the legalization of cannabis and express a significant level of comfort relating to the involvement of serious private security firms support our police forces for:

  • Surveillance of areas surrounding cannabis production sites: 70% are comfortable compared to 21% who are not.
  • Monitoring of warehousing and distribution centres for cannabis products: 69% are comfortable compared to 21% who are not.
  • Surveillance of cannabis production sites: 69% are comfortable compared to 21% who are not.
  • Secure transport of cannabis products from production sites to warehousing and distribution centres: 66% comfortable compared to 24% who are not.

For the past few years, GardaWorld and the private security industry have clearly expressed that they are ready to play a greater role in supporting police forces, and Canadians agree that the private security industry should support police officers by providing security across the entire cannabis value chain: from cannabis production to consumption by product users. 

Imagine a truck packed with cannabis leaving a production plant and travelling a few hundred kilometres to reach a storage facility. Criminals will deem this truck a target; a much larger target than a truck loaded with food, toys, or alcohol. Here is where private security companies, such as GardaWorld, come into play because they can offer a secure transportation service, as with cash. GardaWorld Cash Services ensures that cash is properly accounted for and securely transported, and can offer similar services for cannabis. 

Moreover, GardaWorld’s highly-trained security guards and professionals are well-equipped to conduct surveillance and offer additional security services, ensuring the safety of both the public and cannabis workers, whether it be at cannabis storage facilities, production sites, or points of sale. 

While elected municipal officials across the country express concern about the costs of implementing cannabis legalization, the security industry can provide less expensive solutions that are supported by the public. The industry is therefore calling on the various levels of government to apply the necessary legislative changes to make outsourcing possible or easier across Canada.

1The survey involved 1,007 Canadians and was conducted between October 27 and November 1, 2017.

Putting the right people in the right places 

Police forces are responding to increasingly complex crimes and criminals. The majority of Canadians believe police officers should focus their work on tracking down criminals for investigations and conducting patrols, as opposed to managing traffic or issuing parking tickets. We should all make sure that our police forces are assigned to as many tasks for which they alone are trained to undertake and let the private security industry offer the same quality support services but at a much lower cost. It is about appropriate resource allocation and putting the right people in the right places.

Hence, the legalization of cannabis should not place an unnecessary burden on our police officers by assigning them additional tasks that are not exclusive to their line of work. As we know, the private security industry is qualified and well-equipped to perform such tasks, and more importantly, Canadians are in favour of this notion. 

Visit our Police force support services page to learn more.