The US cannabis market has grown significantly in the past years, reaching an estimated value of $18 billion in 2020. This industry’s growth stayed on an upward trend even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the same year, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, New York, and South Dakota joined other states legalizing recreational adult use of cannabis. Meanwhile, South Dakota and Mississippi also authorized its use for medical purposes.
At present, this industry works mainly as a cash-only service. Shipping cannabis even from a licensed dispensary is considered a felony by federal restrictions. This is why many merchants operate websites that allow courier-based deliveries.
Although the cannabis market’s growth is seen to produce economic benefits, there are still concerns about the distribution of these products. In general, cannabis sales are permitted only to people 21 years old and above. And licensed dispensaries must perform necessary age checks to ensure they do not sell to minors. For example, vendors need to see the person’s government-issued ID to determine if they are who they say they are. Examining the ID also allows them to confirm that the customer’s birthdate is accurate.
However, verifying the customers’ claimed age is difficult online. Merchants cannot physically see the person and validate if their ID is authentic. Most of the time, they rely on age gates that pop up on their websites and ask for the individual’s age or birthdate. But they do not perform extra controls to validate the genuineness of the information provided. Individuals can simply enter a different age or date of birth to gain access to the vendor’s services.
Cannabis vendors must replace outdated forms of age confirmation with more effective methods. The ideal alternatives include mobile facial biometric verification and automated identity document authentication.
Mobile facial biometric identity proofing works by comparing a person’s selfie to the photo on their valid government ID. The user also undergoes an anti-spoofing active liveness confirmation to ensure their real-time presence. The entire process is done with only a camera-enabled mobile device.
Many identity verification solution providers also offer automated . This process securely determines the person’s driver’s license by matching it to trusted databases and checking for security markings found only on genuine IDs.
Learn more with this infographic from authID that discusses the need for trusted age verification for cannabis sales.