Commerce & Biometric ID and Age verification – Solving Several Challenges

The Cannabis industry is actively facing several challenges, some of which are highly visible, some lurking under the surface, not yet presenting themselves. In Colorado for example, the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) recently shared the top violations for dispensary operators, and age verification errors were in the top 3 – a highly visible problem. Conversely, personal customer information intentionally or inadvertently captured by operators, oftentimes in an effort to improve customer convenience and experience, is increasingly at risk of exposure to bad actors – the lurking danger.

It is important to understand the basic inherent obstacles that the intersection of instant commerce and regulated, age-restricted product sales present.

  1. Age Verification – It requires identification document review, confirmation of validity, and match to the individual presenting the ID; which is perceived as requiring physical human review.  This does not represent a quality, fast, or excellent experience for the customer.
  2. Altered/Forged ID’s – The origins of the fake ID boom are often the result of a data breach exposing customer information.  This presents a serious challenge for operators to fulfill the tenets of a positive customer experience, because detection is difficult and time consuming.  Failures to properly screen customers will result in fines or worse.
  3. Loss or leakage of Customer Information – An explosive growth in data breach and hacking events has exposed record amounts of personal customer information.  This is later sold and used to steal identities, and gain access to various accounts and for crafting ID forgeries.  

Automating the activities that directly contribute to a negative customer experience is critical in order to grow sales.  Protecting your customer information is equally  important to prevent exposure and the resulting remediation and potential costs if it isn’t done properly.  

Biometric security key-sets utilize facial recognition for a one-time, in-the-moment event to verify an official government-issued identification document without capturing or storing any personal identifying information (PII) tied to it.  It foils ID forgery, human review error, and reduces the age verification time requirement by over 200%.  

With biometric security, your face becomes one of the encrypted anonymized keys (without PII) is coupled with a second key, an encrypted and anonymized identifier. They replace the “username and password” (often stolen in hacks or data breaches) guaranteeing absolute identity assurance and privacy. You can easily prove your identity and age without exposing any underlying PII.

Why it’s important to Marijuana Businesses

The average cost per PII breach globally in 2019 was $3.9 million. Any operator that captures, transmits, or maintains any customer information that includes personal identifying information (PII), i.e. photos, a driver’s license image, or credit/debit card data, faces significant risk if their systems are compromised. This is known as a data breach. Not only the business’s reputation is at risk, but it’s customers’ lives, and ultimately the business’s viability as a whole. POS, e-commerce, or age-verification providers that use customer information, actually personal identifying information (PII), without compliant encrypted anonymized protection should not be doing it. It is the retailer that is ultimately (and legally) responsible to be good custodians of the information they collect and hold on their customers behalf.  These risks and potential impact are counter to a positive customer experience and kill the ability to drive transaction costs down.  

How to Protect Your Customer & Business

As online ordering and delivery rapidly approach, delivering a top-notch customer experience is increasingly important for the business to succeed.  But we’ve demonstrated that security standards and practices need to be implemented now if a dispensary operator has any hope of long-term success and scale. Implementing an anonymized, 2-key biometric method provides a hardened layer of protection when combined with the proper handling and management of customer data systems. It also enables the ability to digitally verify an ID document’s validity and the identity of the person associated with that ID in a matter of seconds with a 99.99% accuracy rate.  

For example, even a sophisticated fraudster may be able to acquire customer data and may be clever enough to create an ID forgery and a deep fake video that might spoof some weak 2D liveness detection solutions, like Apple’s Face ID for example. Biometric-based solutions with certified liveness detection will easily detect these spoofs and automatically reject them as fraudulent.

So, MJ businesses can solve a variety of challenges they face in customer experience improvement, day-to-day transaction efficiency, age verification accuracy, regulatory compliance, and protecting customers’ personal information with a single solution.

Stepping Forward Reaps Long Term Advantages

Biometric Identity and Age solutions can directly improve marijuana consumer experience, business safety, efficiency, compliance, AND capacity. Implement a multi-channel digital biometric identity and age solution that can streamline facility access control, facilitate automated identity verified pre-orders, attendant-less pick-up, and chain of custody tracking for delivery to name a few benefits that each contribute to increased capacity, compliance improvements, automation enablement, lower operating risk, and the critical element of an Excellent Customer Experience.


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