Lansing, Michigan Municipal Ordinance §1300.05: Security Camera System Requirements for Cannabis Farms and Dispensaries

Lansing, Michigan Marijuana CCTV Rules

Here are the requirements for Lansing, Michigan as listed in Ordinance §1300.05.

Medical marijuana establishments shall continuously monitor the entire premises on which they are operated with security cameras. The recordings shall be maintained in a secure, off-site location for a period of 14 days.

How to Comply with Lansing, Michigan Municipal Ordinance §1300.05's Recording Regulations:

The nice thing about this list of requirements is that it is much shorter than most other states, however, like the other states listed here, the regulations don't make much sense. Sadly, this regulation is so errant that here's no real way to comply, out-of-the-box, with this regulation with high quality HD security cameras.

The Main Issue: 5Mbps.

5Mbps (megabytes per second) is the minimum bandwidth that you would need to upload one, single 1080P camera. The average internet upload connection speed in the United States is less than that. The average business upload speed in the US is somewhat higher, but varies greatly by location. Until the internet connection speed in the United States vastly improves, the technical limitations of transmitting the data required for real-time backup of surveillance footage are insurmountable. Additionally, in that you are required to monitor "the entire premises" there's no way that one camera will be sufficient.

Workaround #1: Daily Backups

You can export footage from the NVR (depending on model) to a USB drive or NAS or eSata drive. You could remove that data daily and store it offsite. This will be labor intensive.

Workaround #2: Automatic Backup to a NAS and then sync the NAS folder with Dropbox

You'll need an IT guy for this to work, but you can automatically export the footage to a NAS and then tell Dropbox to sync that folder with the cloud. You probably will have to sync very low quality video files for this to work, so this isn't a great plan, but Michigan does not have any resolution requirements listed in Ordinance §1300.05. This is still a bad plan; you'd be sacrificing your security to comply with the security regulations, which is pretty counterintuitive.

How the Michigan Law Needs to Change

Modern surveillance systems have two file outputs: a main stream which is high resolution and recorded and a sub-stream which is usually low resolution (you can control the resolution on both feeds, so that they work with whatever internet connection speed you have) that is broadcast when you are viewing them remotely. We're not aware of any major brand that allows you to record the substream over the internet. This is why most other states' regulations state not that the footage has to be off-site, but has to be accessible off-site.

How was such a bad regulation created?

With the very low resolution cameras (lower than non-HD TV) that were popular 15 years ago, you could store a significant amount of time on a DVR since the video footage itself was so low quality that it didn't take up as much space. So, storing your footage on removable media was an option. With a 32 channel 1080P system (and most cannabis clients opt for 1.5x or 2x 1080P quality level), you'd need to swap the DVD every 25 minutes, 24-hours-a-day. If you opted for the more popular 4MP cameras (2x 1080P), you couldn't even burn a DVD as fast as you were making the footage. These regulations don't seem to have kept up with the advances to video resolution and, more to the point, the lack of advances to removable media and internet speed.

Can't I just usa a cloud camera to comply?

P2P (peer-to-peer) is what most surveillance systems use. They send video on demand to whoever is watching the system with no central server in the way (cloud means multiple redundant central servers). They usually send a full HD video stream when watching a single camera full screen and low resolution streams when watching the cameras on a grid.

Cloud cameras, like Google Nest, Samsung Arlo or Ring doorbells, record video clips (not continuous video) when a motion sensor is triggered. Your requirements state that you must continuously recorded 24 hours a day, so you can't use a cloud camera.

24/7 Continuous, multi-camera cloud based surveillance, especially in rural areas (where a cannabis farm is located), is a pipedream that can only exist when the average rural internet upload speeds are about 1000x faster than they are now. Even most city based ISPs can only connect fast enough to send video clips (not continuous footage) for a 1 to 4 cloud cameras at once.

The speed of the average internet upload speed of an US internet connection is about 5Mbps. A single 1080P camera creates 2.5-5Mbps of video footage a second. The average cannabis system is 30 to 60 cameras. What they wrote is impossible; what they must have meant was storage for 15 days and the ability to watch the video remotely.

*We're not lawyers and laws do change. We try our best to keep this page updated with changes to the law, but you should always do you own research or hire your own lawyer to guarantee compliance with the law.