There has been rapid progress in legalizing cannabis in the United States in recent years. In 2020, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, and New York legalized the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes. Meanwhile, South Dakota and Mississippi have approved the sale of cannabis for medical purposes. Accordingly, today, sixteen states have legal adult-use cannabis markets, and 37 states have allowed cannabis use for medical treatments.
With this progress in state legislation, the industry has also seen growth over the years. BDSA, a cannabis market research firm, has found that the legal cannabis market in the US has seen growth in 2020 that is more than their original projected figure of $16.1 billion.
Even during the pandemic, the legal cannabis market has seen continuous growth in the recreational and medical use of cannabis due to increasing consumer demand. As the legal market for cannabis sales increases, it becomes essential for licensed vendors to prevent underage individuals from obtaining their products. Dispensaries must adhere to age restrictions, whether they offer their products in person or via courier delivery.
As merchants operate on a cash-only basis, online sales of marijuana are currently tricky. Also, shipping cannabis can also be considered a crime, despite coming from a licensed vendor.
Merchants choose courier-based delivery as a temporary solution for shipping issues. However, this method prevents them from physically verifying if the buyer is aged 21 and over and conducting thorough user identity verification.
To prevent certain age groups from accessing a website, merchants utilize traditional online age verification solutions, such as age gates. Age gates are virtual barriers typically displayed in pop-up messages that ask if the user is 21 years old or older. But, these age gates are easy to evade, as there is no way to verify the information entered.
It is necessary to improve age verification through robust biometric identification solutions. Using modern biometric technology, vendors can verify their customers’ age and identities by requiring them to present a government-issued credential and a selfie.
To learn more about using biometrics for age verification in the cannabis market, here is an infographic created by authID.