The legalization of cannabis for recreational and medical use was solidified in some states in the United States, such as Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, and Mississippi, in 2020. Currently, sixteen states have legalized recreational marijuana use, while 37 states allow its medical use.
BDSA, the center of knowledge and market research on the legal cannabis market, shared their findings where they found that the legal cannabis industry reached approximately $18 billion by 2020. This figure is more than the $16.1 billion they initially projected. While this is good news for the industry, it also indicates that licensed vendors must stop underage people from purchasing these products. Dispensaries must adhere to age restrictions regulations, regardless of whether they offer the products in person or via courier delivery.
Online sales of marijuana are currently tricky because they operate on a cash-only basis. Shipping cannabis can also be considered a crime, even though it comes from a licensed seller. Merchants choose courier-based delivery, which provides a temporary solution for shipping issues. The problem is that the buyer’s age must be verified accurately. Cannabis can only be sold to individuals over 21 years old. However, online delivery of cannabis via couriers means that sellers cannot physically or thoroughly verify age and accurate identity authentication.
Most merchants employ age gates on their websites. These are virtual barriers that prevent certain age groups from accessing a website. Age gates are typically displayed in pop-up messages that ask if the user is 21 years old or older. Still, these age gates are easy to bypass, as there is no way to verify that the information entered is correct.
It is necessary to improve remote age verification with biometric identification. Through this, vendors can verify and validate their customers’ claimed age and identity. With biometric verification, users are required to present a government-issued credential and a selfie for validation.
For more details about using biometrics for age verification in cannabis sales, check this infographic provided by authID.