Anyone who buys marijuana for recreational use must be at least 21 years old and present valid photo identification, just as they do when purchasing alcohol. Each state sets its own limits regarding how much marijuana customers can purchase each day.
However, all have a minimum age requirement of 21 when it comes to ID verification for marijuana. Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia.
Penalties for Selling Legal Marijuana to Underage Customers
Marijuana dispensaries that do not check IDs or have lax practices that allow underage customers to pass fake IDs face significant penalties. For example, owners of legal marijuana dispensaries in California must pay a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation. The amount jumps to $30,000 per violation for shop owners that did not go through the proper licensing procedure.
Maine imposes the harshest fine in the nation at $100,000 for each license violation. Subsequent violations may result in cancellation of the recreational marijuana license altogether.
Even a first-time violation such as unintentionally selling cannabis to anyone under 21 results in a $4,950 fine in Oregon. Owners of marijuana dispensaries must be vigilant about training their staff to check ID and spot forgeries.
Common Types of ID Verification for Marijuana Dispensaries
Some most common methods used with ID verification for marijuana dispensaries include barcode scanners, UV lights, and manual scans. The problem with relying on a barcode scanner is that a barcode can still show as valid even when attached to a fraudulent ID. UV light can catch some hidden details, but not all.
Manual checking of IDs is probably the most effective method. However, sales clerks must learn the nuances of each state’s ID. Therefore this method requires them to keep an I.D. Checking Guide handy for reference.
Many marijuana dispensary owners across the United States and Canada have turned to scanning customer IDs to save time and improve accuracy. However, this practice has caused concern among customers who fear that the dispensary will store their data and jeopardize their privacy.
Privacy Concerns with ID Scanners
The privacy concerns of cannabis customers are entirely legitimate. One Canadian citizen who purchased marijuana legally in his own country could not cross the border when visiting Japan due to a charge stemming from the purchase that Canadian officials eventually dropped. Then there was the case involving Canada Post and the breach of data among 4,500 people who had legally purchased marijuana in the country.
Dispensary owners have argued that privacy concerns are rare. They point to the facts that people voluntarily present their ID for scanning and all stored information goes through an encryption process. Fortunately, innovative solutions are appearing that can keep state regulators, dispensary owners, and cannabis customers happy at the same time.
Ultimately the tried and tested method of manual ID verification for marijuana dispensaries remains the best option. Annually issued guides over comprehensive details about security features on the ID cards for every state. Furthermore, there are no privacy concerns related to ID scanners with the traditional methods.