The recent decriminalization of cannabis in some markets and legalization in others has presented a game-changing opportunity for businesses who were ready to embrace the demands of the new industry. But it was not only the growers and cultivators who have found ways to benefit – it was savvy businesses who were able to adapt their products and services to the emerging market.
One such company was Toronto-based INKAS® Armored Vehicle Manufacturing – a global leader in its field, renowned for manufacturing high-security bulletproof vehicles that protect both valuable assets and human lives. Chairwoman Margarita Simkin immediately identified the opportunity to provide the industry with specialty vehicles in order to ensure the secure transportation of the controlled substance while on route to dispensaries. INKAS® expertise in secure vehicles gave the company a competitive advantage and an opportunity to be first-to-market.
“It is important for businesses to constantly evolve with the times,” said Ms. Simkin. “One of INKAS® niches is the manufacturing of Cash-In-Transit vehicles for the secure transportation of cash and valuables such as jewelry, diamonds, and precious metals. We knew that this expertise would transfer well to the cannabis industry.”
As with any industry, cannabis presents its own unique challenges as it is a sensitive and highly perishable product that can be easily damaged during transportation. Cannabis requires moisture, temperature, and ventilation in order to maintain the quality of the product and prolong its shelf life.
Under the guidance of Ms. Simkin, INKAS® engineers embraced this challenge by leveraging their extensive experience in designing special purpose vehicles for extreme climates worldwide where interior climate control is critical to missions. The company’s existing technologies, as well as its manufacturing capabilities, made it a natural fit to transition into the industry by refitting its standard Cash-In-Transit vehicles and equipping them with air conditioning and climate control features that are ideal for cannabis. Today, INKAS® has become a leader in the manufacturing of cannabis transport vehicles within North America, and continues to innovate within the field.
Margarita Simkin is no stranger to highly regulated industries and navigating the nuances of transporting high-value items. For over 20 years, Ms. Simkin has played an integral part in building various security and risk management businesses from scratch, in industries which have been notoriously challenging for women within leadership roles. She has had a leading part in the company’s growth as the company has evolved over the years from a single-truck armored courier business, into a full-service, end-to-end security company.
INKAS® had began its operations providing cash-in-transit services through its INKAS® Security Services division, and by 2019, Ms. Simkin had grown the division into the third largest cash-in-transit operator in Canada – providing services to government organizations, businesses, merchants and financial institutions. Margarita Simkin led the division INKAS® Security Services Ltd. and served as the Chairwoman until its acquisition in early 2019 by a major player in the cannabis industry. Her strategic decision to ultimately sell the division, gave the company the ability to further grow its offerings.
Today, INKAS® Armored Vehicle Manufacturing continues to supply secure cannabis trucks to several of the largest cannabis players in both the United States and Canada, demonstrating that success in the cannabis industry does not come only from growing and selling cannabis. There is a full supply chain with satellite industries that have been born out of the legalization of cannabis, with many opportunities for companies to repurpose their products and services in order to carve out their own niche. INKAS® is an example of a business that has flourished as a result of entering the cannabis industry, and is proof that it doesn’t take a complete reinvention of your company or products to find new ways to expand your business.