Cannabis Security Roundtable
Q&A: Charles Ethier, director, major accounts, security systems, GardaWorld
Canadian Security: What services do GardaWorld offer the cannabis market?
Charles Ethier: GardaWorld is well-positioned as being the only purely private security company that can provide services for the whole supply chain from bringing in clones all the way up to transporting the finished product and consumable products for transportation to 3 PLs (third-party logistics companies), as well as to extraction facilities and ultimately to the retail sites as well. Our services are tailored to the customer’s need as well as the producer’s and extractor’s. We have physical security, staffing, transportation, guarding which is one of our big segments, and newly added to the family is the electronical security division. We have an open mind and provide complex, integrated system solutions for cannabis compliant licenses.
CS: How have you seen the cannabis security market grow over the past 12-18 months?
CE: I’ve had the luck of working on this segment for about four years now. In the last year, we’ve seen significant growth and an influx of requests from customers as well as a positive response from customers that have a greater understanding of their security requirements. So, we did see almost a 200-per-cent spike in the electronic security divisions. We noticed some significant improvement in all market shares.
CS: What specific pain-points are you hearing about from clients in the cannabis market, including licensed producers?
CE: We are kind of stuck in-between the consultant and the end-user – being the licensee or the application licensees – and we try and provide as complex and as flexible solutions while trying to keep the cost down to a minimum. The budget streams and the cash flow has somewhat dried up in the last couple of months and we’ve seen that, over the course of the process, the license applications are quite long so they do have to operate without any revenues for 18 to 24, even 36 months sometimes. Physical security obviously has a very big impact on the budget whether it is operational or capitalization. That is, in a sense, the pain point that we struggle with because customers don’t want to spend money but they want the best for it while thinking of just meeting the minimum requirements. So, it’s a complex challenge for us to struggle with.
CS: What are the future opportunities for Canada’s cannabis sector?
CE: I’m 41 years old, but never have I seen a new business boom from the start and to be able to literally grow, pun intended, that vertical up to a standard where other countries and government regulators are looking to see what we do, what we don’t do good, what we do best, and what we can do to improve this sector which, I think, will be flourishing for the years to come.