In this blog series, our Executive Director Ben Taylor highlights a selection of cybersecurity, physical security, health or natural threat related stories from the past week.


Ransomware is a Growing Problem. Here’s How the Cyberinsurance Industry is  Fueling it.

Ransomware extracted $18 billion in payments last year, and it’s expected there will be an attack every 11 seconds by this year’s end, a problem that some security experts and academic researchers say is exacerbated by the system meant to protect against cybercrime: the insurance industry. Organizations with cyber insurance are more than twice as likely to pay ransoms as those without, according to a global survey commissioned by U.K.-based cybersecurity and software firm Sophos of 1,823 companies, and governments.

Cannabis Retailers Turn to Tech such as Online Ordering, Data-backed Product Suggestions as Industry Change Looms

New technology could amplify business opportunities for cannabis retail. And in order to prepare for mainstream competition, today’s cannabis players must be technologically savvy. While this is exciting for the growth of the industry, it will inevitably bring up additional opportunities for data breaches that could lead to privacy issues, particularly when medical records are involved.

Physical Security

Police: Shark video played role in weed store robbery arrest

At around 11:40 p.m. Aug. 9, three masked men walked into The Joint Recreational & Medical Marijuana Dispensary at 9506 19th Ave. SE armed with guns, according to a police report. One of the men, a 22-year-old Seattle resident, had a rifle; another had a pistol. The three men reportedly forced everyone to the floor. Employees and customers reported the men said something along the lines of “You’re going to die if you don’t do as we say,” according to police. The two men with guns kept eyes on the people on the floor while the third suspect, a 22-year-old Kent man, filled bags with dispensary products, according to the police report. The armed men took cell phones from the people in the store so they couldn’t call 911.

Last week we discussed the release of the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) new de-escalation resources. On Tuesday, our Library Card Series will examine those resources in more detail. Retail staff continue to be put in stressful situations  due to ongoing disputes around vaccine and mask mandates. In addition, as cash based businesses, dispensaries continue to be heavily targeted in armed robberies, leaving front line staff to make difficult decisions. These resources should be considered when developing employee training programs.

Takeaways from Our Conversation on Crime at Cannabis Operations

Some 95% of all of the robberies and criminal activity have happened post-closing, according to Jim McErlean, director of business development for Cannasure, who looked through claims from his firm and their carrier partner to talk to Insurance Journal about crimes and underwriting at cannabis operations. “And it might not seem like a big shocker, but it truly tells you where the risk management efforts need to take place to protect the businesses from an overnight grab and smash,” McErlean said. “So we’re putting some more of our thought leadership into the overnight controls and risk management support on behalf of our clients.” McErlean said security cameras and other evidence point to some of these crimes being perpetrated with the help of employees. Many criminals are getting in and out with large amounts of loot – with reported losses sometimes above $100,000 – in minutes.

Last week we discussed the robbery in a Victoria, Canada dispensary where insider knowledge was suspected. Insider threats are a major concern in the cannabis industry. Our Library Card Series blog takes a deeper look at some Insider Threat resources.

Be sure to check back every Tuesday as we publish our Library Card Series where we highlight one of the resources available in our library!

Check out the latest blog highlighting issues important to cannabis security!