Guns in dispensaries

I am opening up my own dispensary here very shortly. I was wondering if it’s allowed in California to have a gun in the dispensary? I am a ccw holder, and I am working on my guard card. Can I as the owner carry a fire arm for protection? (I know I can’t consume at the same time) If I cannot carry, can I hire a security officer that carries? Can that officer step foot inside the dispensary while carrying?

Would love to know the rules here in California regarding guns and dispensaries. Sorry for the taboo subject, but thanks in advance.


Generally, due to the federal classification of cannabis, it is advisable that you not possess firearms on site. Hiring a third party security agency is the way many dispensary owners in Arizona protect their employees and premises.


I agree with Nick here…

I am not sure of Californian gun laws, but I do know they are more strict than Oregon. Overall, the OLCC has an unofficial don’t ask, don’t tell policy. SAIF and our Bank asked due to federal standing on the association of guns with cannabis, it was part of the Cole memo, though rescinded, it still represents the current view of firearms associated with cannabis. God forbid that you ever need to use a firearm in your day-to-day business, but I don’t see the repercussions ending well no matter the outcome. At least until cannabis is rescheduled, it is better to have a professional shoot someone.

One thing I have considered. What if you went and got security training a licensed by the state? Would they even give it to you?

In Oregon, you used to be able to buy a gun even though you used cannabis. The wording was something like “illegally used drugs”, that changed from federal pressure and now it is just “use drugs”. My definition of drugs might differ from the state’s definition. :wink:



You should know this, but also your insurance agent should have told you that this is a NO NO…

If you need armed security, hire a third party firm. They should be fully trained, licensed and insured.


420 Friendly Insurance


Follow, this advice. Most insurance companies have lists of under writer approved security vendors. I think there was an ISO type standard proposed. You may have to use @420FriendlyInsurance to figure out what small drug stores use for security guidelines. I know in Kansas city Miller Mutail insisted we use a small armed truck for Valentines deposit. Actually was handy 15 less trip to a bank during hell weeks. Any time we had more than fifty K in cash sales a small armored truck came that did not look like an armored truck. I think the truck said, like bobs plumbing. We used a small company that specializes mostly in wholesale jewelry. We didn’t want to advertise that a greenhouse sometimes had a lot of cash sales. All cash sales hate receivables.

The dimomd guys are slick in secure transfers. Use an funny company.

From the voices in my head


Thanks for all the responses.

So I want to ask something maybe a little more clear.

I have a CCW, and being trained for a guard card. These are the things needed for a security officer to be “legal” in the state of Cali. Now the question is, can I as an employee/owner act as security as well as a bud tender/manager/consultant? Separate question: can a security guard of any type carry inside a dispensary? When I visit other dispensaries they have the guards posted up outside, and I never see them inside. Is that because guns are banned from dispensaries in Cali period?

As for me, I was able to obtain a CCW licence from the same police force that issued my cannabis retail store. They are also the final say in my guard card. So unless they are playing some sort of long game, and setting me up, it seems they are ok with me carrying a weapon. 36 years old and have a perfect criminal record.

Thanks for the help everybody. As you all can tell, I am just starting to get my feet wet in the legal arena.


I will quote the Offspring here in reference to this question:

“Gotta keep them separated” :metal:

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talk to a lawyer.

I would want to put the legal responsibility on the security company to be compliant. I not sure I would want to assume that risk directly in my company.

I would defiantly not be the security person.

From the very nervous voice in my head



I am not your attorney (disclaimer) but I have owned a gun store and was licensed by ATF to sell firearms.
Firearms are controlled by the Federal government. Question 11.e. of the form 4473 (the form you fill out to purchase a firearm) says… Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to , marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.

So what this says to me is that anyone with a medical card or who uses cannabis (a schedule 1 drug) is prohibited from purchasing a firearm. One could also argue that no only can you not purchase a firearm, but you can not own a firearm. This was tested in the courts and the dependent lost the case. Here is what the state of Missouri says… Medical marijuana or your guns: Federal law says you must choose

Also if you read the Cole memo that most states have relied on for establishing their state marijuana laws, it clearly prohibits the use of firearms.

Besides… do you really want to shoot someone over a little marijuana?

Once again, just my 2 cents, but I would hire a licensed third part guard service if you want security. Your insurance company will also appreciate it.


Thank you for the response.

let me start by asking a question to your question, “do you really want to shoot someone over a little marijuana?” Would you want to die at the hands of a robber, knowing you had the means to defend yourself? The pot means nothing, but people kill for 5$ these days. Its a defensive stance, not offensive.

Lets go over what the application for a fire arm says… Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to , marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Unlawful is tough, but addicted is easy to fight. Now lets dive deeper… You drink a red bull or coffee every day? No gun for you. You ingest any of the following, no gun for you.

Defined Abbreviations

2C-B 4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine
2C-T-7 2,5-Dimethoxy-4(n)-propylthiophenethylamine
BZP N-Benzylpiperazine
DMT Dimethyltryptamine
DOM 4-Methyl-2,5-dimethoxyamphetamine
GBL Gamma butyrolactone
GHB Gamma hydroxybutyric acid, gamma hydroxybutyrate, 4-hydroxybutanoic acid, sodium oxybate
LAAM Levo-alphacetylmethadol
LSD Lysergic acid diethylamide, lysergide
MDA 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine
MDE 3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine
MDMA 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
MPPP 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-4-propionoxypiperidine
P2P Phenyl-2-propanone, phenylacetone
PCC 1-Piperidinocyclohexanecarbonitrile
PCE N-Ethyl-1-phenylcyclohexylamine
PCH 1-Phenylcyclohexylamine
PCP 1-(1-Phenylcyclohexyl)piperidine, phencyclidine
PEPAP 1-(2-Phenylethyl)-4-phenyl-4-acetoxypiperidine
PHP 1-(1-Phenylcyclohexyl)pyrrolidine
SPA (-)-1-Dimethylamino-1,2-diphenylethane
TCP 1-[1-(2-Thienyl)cyclohexyl]piperidine
TCPy 1-[1-(2-Thienyl)cyclohexyl]pyrrolidine
THC Tetrahydrocannabinols
THG Tetrahydrogestrinone

Ever see what Mc Donald’s puts in their food, several items on that list above. So you eat at Mc Donald’s, no gun for you. Where does the madness end?

With all that venting said… I agree with you. Might be better for insurance and my mental health to just hire a third party. Thanks for the advice.


This is all you need to do:

  1. Call your regulatory body/agent for your cannabis licensing and ask these questions directly to those who govern you. Maybe they allow it?

  2. Call your insurance company and ask these questions to them. Maybe they allow it with higher premiums?

  3. Call your workers comp people and let them know you intend to carry a firearm. Maybe they allow it with higher premiums?

Usually, I am of the mind to beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission, but not with this industry. There is little leeway for forgiveness, you just lose your license, which means losing your investment and livelihood. You might not even have to shoot someone for this to happen, the wrong person getting a peak at your pistol grip can get the bells sounded to your regulatory body. The point is, be upfront, if everyone who matters knows and accommodates, no problem, right? If nobody knows and it becomes a problem, you’re going to have issues that could be avoided.

So here is the final question that I will assume answers itself: is carrying a gun on your licensed premise more important than keeping your license?


We think along the same lines



I went to a shady spot one time. Saw a dude in a back room with a AR. The whole time, being led down a hallway. The guy I was following was mumbling something about the TVs. Making sure to watch out for DEA. Where to run when they come.

It felt pretty dirty. Much worse then scoring a bag on the street really. The whole experience was just messed up really.


MK#_pharms - I have had several of the same experiences vending to places in Oakland over the years. Super shady!

Farmer_Dan - The answer to your question is clearly… my licence means more. Well put. I will also take your advice and call the state today along with my insurance company. I am guessing it’s going to be a no here in California, but great advice!


Better safe than sorry @HazyBulldogFarms.


I could be wrong, but I think you can’t even own a gun or purchase one in California if you are a medical card holder or work in cannabis…something about the AFT being Federal. Guns tend to escalate situations and someone almost always gets hurt or dead. Better to get some insurance or take the loss, If your in the news over a robbery and shoot out, you’ll lose your permits and never get customers again.


Called the state. They were very interesting about it. It appears, if I have my guard card it meets most of the requirements, but I have to wear a security jacket and exposed weapon. I might also stop consuming cannabis, so I wont ever test positive.

Rather be clean and sober judged by 12, than carried by 6.


I am not familiar with this idiom.

Judge as in jury vs dead? :hugs:. I really don’t know.

Just some additional information you should know. Number of robberies in the United States in 2017, by weapon used

Weapon Use

Firearm Mortality by State

CDC injurys resulting death and ER visits

All firearm deaths

  • Number of deaths: 38,658
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 12.0

If you look at all the numbers you are more likely to die in a car accident, an accidental gun wound or Or a family member getting injured. Than the possibility a armed robbery about 10,000 to 1 on a quick look. I can run an actualarial schedule for you if you want. I just need you age. I would rather not, but if it would help in your though proses, I will do it just PM me. I will charge a pair of socks.

It’s is ultimately you desision, but I want you to look at it from a different view point, in your business practice.

Also check with your business insurance provider. Most restrict gun possession by staff except in a few states where that is prohibited by law. My greenhouse business policy explicitly limited guns to long guns only for large animal pest control and no liability for any accident resulting from gun use. So we just had a zero gun policy. For pest controll, snake that where poisonous, we relocated. It was a big problem every fall. In the morning we had to do a snake walk before any work could start. Got, bit by a non poisonous blue racers twice in 7 years. I would hand capture those guys, fast and challenging. Tried to hand catch a 5 footer, not smart and I was young dumb and full of… Poisonous, had a different SOP, Snake claw, hook and cloth flour bag. Plus gountlets gloves. Five minutes your done.

From the voices in my head :upside_down_face:


I appreciate the time you took to respond. Thank you @ethan

Now take those numbers and apply them to cannabis and cannabis related transactions or even just cash businesses… Not just robberies. Those numbers dramatically increase.

judged by 12 jurors instead of being carried by 6 family members in a casket.

I am still trying to get workman’s comp insurance, let alone liability. I will ask a provider once I actually land on a plan what their take on guns in the dispensary are. Once again, I would be a licenced guard with a licence to carry and protect.


You know, I should listen to you guys… You guys are all pros and have been for a while. I am just getting my feet wet.

I think I am going to take a 180 turn and leave the security to a third party. Thanks everybody. Talked some sense into this stubborn bulldog.