Potheads, Legally You Must Use IP Cameras

The legalized pot business is creating a mini-boom for security integrators in those regions, as laws typically require various security measures, including surveillance systems.

The State of Washington has created some confusion / controversy about how its marijuana / surveillance related statute is written, specifically:

“At a minimum, a complete video surveillance with minimum camera resolution of 640×470 pixel and must be internet protocol (IP) compatible and recording system for controlled areas within the licensed premises and entire perimeter fencing and gates enclosing an outdoor grow operation, to ensure control of the area.”

A surveillance distributor has a well thought out analysis of this law. The basic point being that, the way it is phrased, the cameras themselves must be IP, not just the system.

He points out that analog systems are still significantly less expensive but that if you buy them you risk violating the law and potentially having your pot business interupted.

What do you think? Carelessly phrased law or clever IP camera salesmen behind this?


We recently did two of the dispensaries in our area, state laws are very strict, getting in to this market isn’t easy but it is worth it.

As for the article you posted, I think he’s just being clever to “weed” out some competition. I also think the security requirements are going a little over board.

The way I read it, you could easily argue an analog system would be compliant provided the DVR or NVR hybrid is network/Internet accessible. The resolution requirment is low enough that it should fit in parameters. One might argue as long as they don't make the resolution higher than 1080P you could still use whatever gimmick flavor of high definition CCTV over coax you want.

I'm not a lawyer though, but there is supposed to be a good faith consideration that as long as you technically meet the specifics in "good faith" without the thought of evading or subverting what you thought the spirit of the law was, you should be covered.

Still a pretty poorly written statement.

Odd, I don't interpret the regulation as requiring IP cameras; just that the entire system has to be IP-capable.

"a complete video surveillance with minimum camera resolution of 640×470 pixel and must be internet protocol (IP) compatible.”

I'm sure local law enforcement would like nice clean video available for download of incidents and searching for suspects of recent crimes.

Why 640x470 and not 720p/1080p or 3/5MP I wonder? Seem absurd to require IP systems with such minimal resolution.

Possibly they intentionally made this confusing so that it's near impossible for most to comply or have an excuse to shut them down on a whim. Although a cheap QSee system from Costco would probably meet the requirements.

Seems like each situation might need a different solution. IP might not be the best choice as some Analog cameras have amazing light handling and would work better. Not even going to talk about frame loss...must be a symantic error. Proabably meant that the system must be able to have remote access. Or interpret it like this;any camera is IP compatible, depending on the equipment it is attached to. I have put an analog camera in, converted it to cross a road via a data bridge, then back converted to analog. Complicated, but would that satisfy the 'compatibility' requirement?

In Colorado the minimum spec is 600 tvl camera. Basically, one at every entry and exit and all areas where the product is. In addition, min 45 days on-site and one camera that looks at the dvr - this one needs to be recorded offiste. Pretty basic imo.