Why cannabis dispensaries should scan IDs

Last updated on March 19th, 2024 at 02:48 pm

As of 2022, 38 states have legalized medical marijuana, and 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana. The number of cannabis dispensaries in the United States is 7,490 and growing. As the cannabis industry explodes, so do concerns about keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors. ID scanning allows dispensaries to not only verify the age of their customers, but also to track daily purchase limits while enhancing customer experience, which is why dispensaries should scan IDs. 

We work with dispensaries both large and small on a daily basis to help them implement ID scanning strategies that will improve the customer experience, keep them in compliance with state laws, and help them avoid costly fines. Although it isn’t glamorous, age verification and fake ID detection has become a central part of the dispensary tech stack.

1. ID scanning helps avoid fines

Though they don’t often make the news, we hear from dispensaries daily about fines as high as $150,000 for allowing minors access to age-restricted sections of the store or allowing cannabis purchase. Most Cannabis Control Boards are regularly secret shopping the licensed dispensaries in their state to ensure they’re checking IDs and keeping minors out.

The penalties for selling cannabis to a minor even once are steep. For example, in Aurora, CO the first violation can net a $3,500 fine, the second offense could merit a 30 day license suspension, and a third offense within a year may result in the dispensary losing their license. ID scanners ensure that dispensaries stay compliant, preventing underage individuals from buying marijuana. Enforcement chief for the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board, Justin Nordhorn, states, “Door security staff read so many IDs during the course of their shift, they can fall prey to complacency.”

ID scanning is an easy way to limit your dispensary’s liability in the event that you do inadvertently serve someone who is underage. In fact, some states offer ID scanning as an affirmative defense that specifically releases the retailer from liability if they can prove they used an electronic scanning device.

Every single large MSO has ID scanning technology for this reason. It is cheaper to pay the costs of ID scanning hardware and age verification software up front than it is to pay six-figure fines, or potentially go to court over sales to a minor. ID scanning to improve your compliance posture is a no-brainer, and in fact, cannabis dispensaries should scan IDs.

Nevada dispensary ID scanning bundle

2. ID scanning allows for easier tracking of daily maximums

Most states limit the amount of cannabis a customer can purchase per visit, and it can get complicated. Illinois, for example, has different requirements for in-state and out-of-state residents. For this reason, dispensaries must have a way to track how much they are selling.

ID scanning applications can sync customer data to a purchase profile, where the amount of cannabis product purchased is tracked. The system can then query this information if the customer returns and alert the budtender if the customer is at or approaching their daily maximum. The purchase records can also easily be accessed should law enforcement ever require it in the event of a legal dispute over high-quantity cannabis purchase.

3. Syncing ID scanners across multiple locations prevents looping

Just like tracking daily maximums, preventing looping (ie. purchases from multiple stores to circumvent daily maximum limits) can easily be avoided by an integrated ID scanning system. With our dispensary ID scanning solutions, every ID scan is instantly sent into the visitor management system or POS system. Then, if that individual returns and is scanned by another device, the system can flag them for potential looping. Again, storing and tracking this time-stamped data can be immensely helpful in the event of a legal dispute.

4. Enhance customer experience

Scanning IDs at the point-of-entry reduces wait times by automating check-in procedures and automatically aggregating customer information into forms. Additionally, certain ID scanning solutions can note preferences and purchase history for a customer’s next visit while identifying VIP customers for elevated service. Your frequent customers or big spenders can be greeted by name, and you can get alerts that they’ve entered the building well before checkout.

Hologram check on Pennsylvania ID

5. Handheld ID readers can help with line busting

Ever been so busy you had a line out the door? With a portable scanner synced to your large visitor management and CRM/POS system, your security team can simply pick up the scanner and start scanning IDs on-the-go. These scanners work offline and can send data back to your central system when they reconnect to wifi. The convenience of being able to check in guests outside your entryway will allow for smoother operations, and allow you to ensure you capture all the details of every customer who comes to visit.

6. You can sync data from the ID directly into your point of sale system

At least you can if you’re using VeriScan! We are fully integrated into Dutchie POS and have webhooks to pull data into Blaze, Flourish, Treez, COVA, IndicaOnline, Dauntless, and several other cannabis POS systems. These are typically the core customer management systems you are using to run your business. Instead of manually typing customer information to these databases, you can simply scan their ID or passport and clean, accurate data populates for you. You can even capture images from the ID, or a picture of the ID itself, creating a richer, searchable customer profile.

The following fields can be pulled from an ID directly into your cannabis POS system:

  • Scanned Date/Time: 2022-10-26T01:56:01.1
  • ID Number: 007070770
  • First Name: Robert
  • Middle Name: Nesta
  • Last Name: Marley
  • Birth Date: 1945-02-06T01:00:00
  • ID Expiration Date: 2025-02-06T01:00:00
  • Address: 1300 Biscayne Blvd.
  • City: Miami
  • State: FL
  • Postal Code: 33132-0000
  • Country: UNITED STATES
  • Country Code: USA
  • Sex: Male

Read more about our Dutchie integration.

Screenshot of the Dutchie ID scanning process

7. Automating restricted/limited access visitor processing

According to Colorado’s Medical Code for dispensaries, those not licensed to be in certain areas of a dispensary are required to wear a badge, which then must be submitted to the state. ID scanning solutions can be paired with a simple badge printer to print badges with appropriate information after an ID is scanned.

8. The mere presence of an ID scanner prevent crime

Studies have shown that for bars and nightclubs, the mere presence of an ID scanner can reduce crime up to 54%. Since cannabis retailers are also top targets for criminals, a dispensary that scans IDs and has ID scanning technology at the entrance is going to be a much less attractive target, as the potential thief or fraudster knows they will have to present identity documentation to get inside. You can make yourself a more difficult target just by adding an ID scanner.

9. In some states, ID scanning for dispensaries is law

In Nevada, New Jersey, and Illinois, you must use electronic ID scanning at your dispensary. It is required by their Cannabis Control Boards. So your dispensary can be fined if you do not have a scanning device in place.


Whether or not it’s required, ID scanning at cannabis dispensaries is good for business. Not only does ID scanning ensure compliance with state regulations, it also streamlines the customer experience while keeping the premises secure.

For more information on ID scanning solutions tailored for the cannabis industry, visit IDScan.net.