Moving product from point A to point B shouldn’t be hard in 2020. Unfortunately, for cannabis growers, distributors and manufacturers, it can be.
One reason is the disparity between states where cannabis is legal and the federal government’s stance, which still classifies cannabis as a narcotic and therefore prohibits cross border transportation. Secondly, the inability to bank with FDIC-insured institutions means cannabis delivery drivers have to double as cash haulers after product has been delivered.
Add these issues to an industry desperate for drivers in order to ramp up product sales and you’ve got a recipe for mounting traffic infractions and federal fines. Beyond these, both distracted driving and auto robbery and theft continue to plague cannabis organizations.
Protecting your cannabis fleet
Because most cannabis operations maintain a small fleet of sprinter vans and SUVs, their challenges are industry specific. Fortunately, there are best practices that can be instituted to minimize the risk.
- Maintain a fleet of unmarked vehicles. Don’t advertise what you’re delivering. Driving unmarked vehicles will help ward off criminals and reduce your driver’s chances of being pulled over for suspicious activity.
- Safety in numbers. Make sure there are two drivers in each delivery vehicle. Drivers traveling far with cannabis products and then returning with hundreds or thousands of dollars in cash need a partner both as a witness and as a second set of eyes.
- Keep everyone guessing. Thieves have been caught following cannabis delivery vehicles after they leave the known distribution center. To combat this threat, instruct drivers to regularly change their routes, avoid using the common or most direct routes on Google Maps and be aware of their surroundings, paying attention to other cars on the road. If they’re on the lookout, they’ll easily notice when someone is following them.
- Consider a ‘Strong Box’ or other locking device to transport currency. Keep cash on hand to a minimum and keep currency hidden from view when outside the vehicle.
- Make training a centerpiece of your safety policy. Train drivers on basic defensive driving. Don’t follow other vehicles too close, don’t speed, don’t text and drive, etc. Train them on the company’s policies and procedures if they do get robbed or pulled over by the police, or by state and federal authorities.
- Utilize technology to track vehicles. Larger fleet carriers are using in-cab telematics to both track vehicles and maintain safety by gathering data about the vehicle and driver behaviors in real-time. Features can include reporting vehicle speed and defensive driving as well as GPS tracking and security cameras that document theft and any other activity in and outside the vehicle.
- Consider cargo and transit coverage. The type of insurance your organization needs to safeguard your fleet and offload some of your risk will depend on your specific fleet and cannabis products and their risks. Work with your broker to write the coverage you need into the policy itself.