Public safety experience defines SEMO transportation applicant
The 5th Meridian Group is a transportation applicant based out of Cape Girardeau. The company will cover St. Louis, Kansas City, Cape Girardeau, Columbia/Jefferson City, and Springfield, offering services from transportation to security to standards of procedure development and compliance checks.
The group was co-founded by Michael T. Allen, now the acting CEO. Greenway Magazine talked to Allen about the company’s services and background.
“Like others, we too have personal stories of loved ones suffering from neurological disease and aggressive cancers that were poorly managed by traditional medications,” Allen said. “We’ve witnessed the impact of opioids in the communities that we serve and see the relapsing patients following failed treatment options. We know what a living wage in the cannabis industry could do for Missouri families, and we want to realize the benefit of cannabis tax dollars for fellow Missouri Veterans. Our eyes turned toward the cannabis market as the passage of medical cannabis initiatives swept toward Missouri. We quickly saw that there would be a need for a variety of critical services and an ancillary service provider that could offer this from a single Missouri company. We each leveraged experiences from our 20+ year careers in Missouri’s public safety career field, as well as a statewide network of professional acquaintances, and developed a team with true statewide reach and professional competency.”
Services offered by the company will vary from client to client.
“The vast majority of our services will apply to each facility type, and be further adapted for each geographic location and operating preferences of management,” Allen said. “We are offering on-site security officers, secure climate-controlled transportation (product/revenues), alarm/surveillance system architecture/installation/service, fire alarm systems, facility medical and safety classes, security manager candidates, private investigations, security audits, hazardous production waste removal, and build-out services.”
5th Meridian is focused on the safety of everyone involved in the industry.
“As you’d expect from a security-minded company, our biggest concern is for the safety of approved patients, facility staff, and management,” Allen said. “The continued media exposure of this industry in Missouri, and references to projected revenues, it places a target on facilities for potential crime. Owners should be keenly aware of the perils that face them and their employees in this business.”
5th Meridian’s board of employed advisers include a retired US Marshal, retired bank fraud and internal theft Detective, former Missouri Drug Task Force Agent, retired Missouri Corrections Warden, and a variety of law enforcement or public safety professionals from municipal, county, and state agencies. Also on this board is a Retail Security Specialist, with a Bachelor’s degree in Loss Prevention & Safety, and a Complex Environmental Manager (Food) with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. They’ve also retained a Harvard educated marketing and business development specialist with considerable industry experience in the vapor product channel. The board advisors, in conjunction with the principal officers, are tasked with continually evaluating operations, reviewing policies, and monitoring employees. Allen says this system ensures policy evolution, evaluates service efficacy, and oversees regulatory compliance. Each board member is made available to licensed facilities to serve as an advisor or as a retained third-party contractor.
Before serving as the CEO for the 5th Meridian Group, Allen served as a Missouri POST certified law enforcement officer and later worked enforcing commercial motor vehicle laws on our highways and interstates for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He also served as a Chief Warrant Officer/Pilot flying the UH-60 Blackhawk utility helicopter for the Missouri Army National Guard and flew the Apache for the TN Guard. Their Operations Manager served as a Loadmaster aboard the C-5 Galaxy for the Tennessee Air Guard and operated throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. Their secure Transport Director is a retired US Marshal that specialized in high-risk federal transport activities for the government. This level of staff experience, paired with experienced security drivers, enables is what they say enables them to efficiently move high-value cargo throughout the state, on-time, on-target, and in full regulatory compliance.
“During transportation, our priority is first to protect the citizens, patients, surrounding community, and facility employees by utilizing safe and effective product movement tactics, performed by well trained and equipped professionals,” Allen said. “Our experienced advisory board has vetted and implemented these methods and will continue to adapt them as the risks in this marketplace evolve. We urge potential license recipients to protect their licenses! Do not endanger the viability of your new facility by having to endure a license suspension or by being held liable for transportation mishaps. Also, facility operators should compare their insurance premiums for performing in-house transportation services, using untrained employees in facility owned vehicles, to the cost of utilizing a 3rd party state certified transporter. In many instances, the liability to your employees and insurance costs make contracting with a licensed secure transporter a wise option to consider.”
Allen said their team sees the industry’s future as challenging and competitive, but rich with opportunity.
“We feel the years ahead will be challenging in terms of ongoing regulatory changes, influences from recreational markets, and the continuing quest to maintain compliance in a competitive field,” he said. “However, we feel that having the opportunity to provide services to and support the first legal marijuana industry in our home state is well worth it. We have had the distinct pleasure over the past year to work with different applicant groups throughout Missouri, and different consulting groups from across the nation. The drive to succeed in this market among applicant groups is impressive for us to witness. We believe success will be realized the most by facilities that can scale their operations, remain flexible, and can adapt their product offerings as this industry continues to evolve.”
The 5th Meridian team, who applied after the initial application window thanks to the nature of transportation licenses, is one that has enjoyed the overall emergence of the medical cannabis industry.
“We’re honored to be a part of this emerging industry and thankful for the friends we’ve already established here. Thank you! It is a great community to a part of, and we look forward to continuing our work with Missouri entrepreneurs as they obtain facility licensure.”