By Robert E. Prigge, President at Jumio.
Cannabis is now in 11 U.S. states, plus D.C., and that number continues to grow. Consumers 21 and older can now order cannabis products directly online and have them delivered right to their front door. It’s a dream come true for cannabis consumers, but there has been some controversy over age verification compliance during online transactions.
This new, highly controversial industry already endures scrutiny when cannabis and paraphernalia end up in the hands of underage consumers. As online sales increase, vendors must be able to confidently determine that an individual’s digital identity matches the real-world person making the purchase (and that the customer is of legal age).
In fact, among persons aged 18 or older who reported lifetime marijuana use, almost 53 percent report first using marijuana between ages 12 and 17. About 2 percent report that they first used marijuana before age 12. Unfortunately, most identity and age verification methods fall short of that ask.
Traditional Age Verification Methods Are Failing
Traditional methods of age verification depend on whether the product is being purchased online or within a dispensary. In online channels, companies rely solely on self-reporting, where the consumer simply interacts with a pop-up screen that asks for their date of birth. If the date of birth provided exceeds the minimum age requirement, the consumer can access the website and make online purchases. If the date doesn’t match, they’re denied access to the website.
On the other hand, the process for an in-store buyer is different and a bit more rigorous.
When a new user walks into a dispensary, they are often greeted by a “budtender” who will ask to see the customer’s driver’s license or other government-issued ID. They inspect the ID document, usually take a copy of it for their records, and sometimes ping a third-party database to verify the age and ensure the ID is legitimate. After the customer has been vetted and their age verified, they are usually asked to scan in their …