We use the phrase “marijuana dispensary” to describe any brick-and-mortar retail establishment offering recreational cannabis products, medical marijuana, or both. While windows are essential to any retail store, windows for marijuana dispensaries require even more careful consideration because of the unique vulnerabilities marijuana business owners must address. Bullet-resistant windows, whether you’re protecting the exterior, interior, or both, significantly increase the safety and security of marijuana dispensaries.
For more information on the rationale for these products, see our blog article Do Marijuana Dispensaries Need Bullet-Resistant Products? Spoiler alert: The short answer is YES!
Safety and Security Vulnerabilities of Marijuana Dispensaries
The legal status of marijuana drives the safety and security vulnerabilities of cannabis stores. Marijuana is still considered illegal at the federal level because of its classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning a drug with a high potential for abuse. This status makes many traditional banks and other financial service providers who are tightly regulated by federal agencies unwilling to work with marijuana dispensaries. As a result, these stores tend to make transactions mostly in cash, and having a lot of money on hand in a store is always a dangerous proposition, and criminals know this.
In addition to excessive cash on hand, the marijuana products themselves are often worth more on the black market, adding another factor making cannabis shops an attractive target to criminals. In some places, armed robberies at marijuana stores more than doubled in the first quarter of 2022 (source). This heightened threat of gun violence during robberies is why bullet-resistant windows and related products should be included in the overall safety and security plan of a cannabis business owner. For more general information on industry-specific security planning, see Improving Marijuana Dispensary Safety and Security.
Why Bullet-Resistant Windows?
Protecting your business operations, cash, and employees is a no-brainer. Bulletproofing makes sense, given the heightened threat of gun violence during an armed robbery of your store. Note that although we often interchange the terms bulletproof and bullet-resistant, we’re technically talking about bullet-resistant windows, not entirely bulletproof. Why? Because there’s no such thing as an entirely bulletproof window. There will always be potential conditions where even the thickest bulletproof window will fail.
Bulletproof windows can be created to meet eight different levels of protection as outlined by the Underwriters Laboratory UL752 standards (source):
- Level 1: Protects against a minimum of three shots from a 9mm at a minimum velocity of 1,175 feet per second—a common choice for protection against small-caliber handguns.
- Level 2: Can withstand a minimum of three shots of .357 magnum soft points at a velocity of 1,250 feet per second.
- Level 3: Effectively protects against at least three shots of .44 magnum rounds at a velocity of 1,350 feet per second.
- Level 4: Can withstand at least one shot from a .30 caliber rifle with a minimum velocity of 2,540 feet per second. Levels 1–3 are linear, but levels 4 and above describe different types of protection, not necessarily whether one is better or worse than one another.
- Level 5: Protects against at least one full metal jacket round from a 7.62mm rifle with a velocity of at least 2,750 feet per second.
- Level 6: Resists at least five 9mm rounds at an elevated minimum velocity of 1,400 feet per second.
- Level 7: Can withstand multiple full metal jacket rounds with a 5.56 rifle at a minimum velocity of 3,080 feet per second.
- Level 8: Resists at least five shots from a 7.62mm rifle.
The higher the level of protection, the thicker, heavier, and more expensive the bulletproof glass becomes. But here’s the good news: You don’t plan for the worst-case scenario; you prepare for the most likely scenario. The overwhelming majority of armed robberies involve smaller-caliber handguns, meaning a 9mm, .357 magnum, and sometimes a .44 magnum. Most businesses can enjoy as much protection as they need with Level 1 bullet-resistant glass. Those who want substantially more protection tend to choose Level 3 bullet-resistant glass. Going any higher than that is paying for a level of security your store will probably never need. For more information, see our blog article Understanding Penetration Levels by Bullet Caliber.
Bullet-Resistant Windows by Creative Industries
Feel free to browse the different types of standard bullet-resistant glass windows most commonly requested by customers across a wide range of business applications. More important, however, is knowing we can customize any type of bullet-resistant windows to better fit your store’s unique needs, requirements, and desired aesthetic appearance. We’re ready to help any business achieve the peace of mind that comes from knowing your operations, assets, and employees are better protected from the threat of gun violence with our bulletproof products in place. Creative Industries owners Mark and Mike Clark have been in the family business since the 1980s, which means they bring a depth of expertise that is hard to find with other companies. You can count on Creative Industries to take the time to get to know your business well enough to recommend the products to meet your needs and your budget best. There is no better time than right now to protect your marijuana dispensary from armed robberies. Get the conversation started by reaching out to us through the Contact Us page of our website or by calling us directly at 800-776-2068. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you!