New York State Considers Biometric Scanning For Alcohol and Tobacco Purchases

What you need to know:

On March 4th, 2021 during a regular New York congress assembly session, a new paragraph was suggested in relation to additional verification measures before the sale of alcohol, tobacco, or electronic cigarette products. This bill would allow retailers to require some form of biometric scanning such as fingerprinting, iris scanning, facial scanning, etc. before permitting the transaction.

Why do they want to start Biometric Scanning?

Not only would this be “the new frontier of age verification”, but it would also “advance the interests of convenience,” said state Sen. James Skoufis, who is sponsoring the bill. The state Senator is not only hoping to cut down on the number of fake IDs being sold, but by using facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, it could lead to a future of convenience. Skoufis is hopeful that one day, customers won’t even have to take their ID out at previously visited establishments. 

When does it go into effect?:

While it remains unclear as to when the new law will go into effect, we do know that the New York State lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the year of 2022 on June 2 to further discuss items on the agenda. However, although it remains undetermined when the new ruling will go into effect, it does not mean businesses should wait. With global supply chain shortages, the invasion of Ukraine (the supplier of around half the world’s supply of neon needles needed to create chips) and another lockdown in the province of China responsible for the product of most of the world’s microchips, the time to prepare is now. 


Although this new bill would allow businesses to require biometric data, it does not mean they are required to do so. Simple age verification measures such as ID Scanning are still acceptable for those that wish, but anyone under the age of 21 should still be denied purchase. However, why stay stuck in the “Middle Ages”, as one senator stated. This new ruling could not only put a strain on the fake ID realm, but could prevent the sale of harmful substances to minors. By analyzing unique facial shapes and features, sophisticated algorithms are able to create a specific signature for an individual’s face, much like a unique fingerprint. To learn more about how our facial recognition software works, please read our Facial Recognition Anti-Spoofing blog.


ID Scanning and Biometric Scanning not only eliminates human error, but they also help to speed up processes in an already time consuming process. This technology allows you to quickly identify individuals who are underage, catch fake IDs, create specific profiles, and much more. All of the major companies of the future are already using biometric scanning as a means of visitor management, so why not join them in the future.’s age verification and biometric solutions can help retailers verify age for every customer and catch fake IDs. We offer ID scanning, facial scanning, and fingerprint scanning solutions currently, while striving for innovation of new verification solutions as well. Contact a member of our team to learn more: 888.430.8936.

Unattended Retail in the Cannabis Industry – How to Verify Age and Identity

The cannabis industry has always been at the forefront of technology and innovation. This has never been more apparent than during the Covid-19 pandemic, when cannabis retailers were forced to reconcile the conflict between mandated storefront closures and essential business status. By relying on the integration of technology and existing alternatives to conventional in-person shopping, the cannabis industry didn’t just meet the challenges of the pandemic – they transformed them into business opportunities

While online ordering, curbside pickup, drive thru, and delivery services are nothing new for commercial businesses, the successful rapid adoption of these practices into cannabis operations across the country was impressive, to say the least. Now, the cannabis industry has its eyes on another proven alternative to in-person retail transactions – unattended retail.

Otherwise known as ‘vending machines,’ unattended retail has been a part of casual commerce for decades, used for everything from food/beverage purchases, movie rentals, hygiene products, and more. Providing an unparalleled level of convenience for consumers, unattended retail eliminates the need to visit a brick-and-mortar establishment to buy the things you use the most.

Unattended Retail for Age Restricted Products

Using unattended retail for age restricted products is also nothing new, although considerably less common in the U.S. today than their non-restricted counterparts. Cigarette vending machines were first developed in 1926 by William Rowe, who went on to found the first manufacturing company in the U.S. to mass produce unattended retail machines for tobacco. However, due to the inability of these machines to verify the age of the consumer, these devices have become relatively rare and are typically only found in places that restrict minors from entering (such as bars, clubs, etc.).

But in light of the increased danger posed to consumers by direct-contact purchases during the pandemic, there has been a renewed interest in developing solutions to the problem of age verification and unattended retail for products like alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis.

By relying on advancements in digital ID verification tools, the cannabis industry is once again demonstrating their aptitude for innovation and creative problem solving. With the right age verification resources integrated into high-tech unattended retail solutions, cannabis vending machines have already become a reality in many areas around the country.

How to Verify Age with Unattended Cannabis Retail

Aside from growing their businesses, the number one priority for all cannabis companies should be maintaining compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations. Unattended cannabis retail machines are a great opportunity for expanding sales and maximizing profit, but ensuring that minors are unable to make a purchase prior to deploying these machines is absolutely critical.

That’s why cannabis retailers are partnering with experts in the ID verification industry to implement effective solutions for unattended retail that help ensure regulatory compliance. So how does it work?

Verifying IDs at unattended cannabis retail machines relies on the integration of AI software, biometric analysis, and image processing applications. Customers at the point of purchase are first required to upload a digital image of a valid ID into the verification provider/cannabis retailer’s online interface. When making a purchase, biometric face scanning technology matches the consumer with the ID on file and the transaction can be completed.

In addition to facial biometrics, some cannabis retailers also require fingerprint biometrics, which can then be used to quickly verify identity for repeat purchases. Other solutions used by retailers include the integration of cryptocurrency, requiring customers to use a unique digital currency to complete a purchase. This currency can only be used at these machines, is non-transferrable, and can only be purchased after completing an age verification process.

Currently, the use of facial and fingerprint biometric verification that matches customers with verified ID data every time a purchase is made is the most effective way to successfully deploy an unattended cannabis retail machine.

Additional Benefits – Data Collection

Aside from expanding the reach of a cannabis establishment beyond the walls of the dispensary, cannabis vending machines also provide retailers with an incredibly valuable tool for consumer data collection. Not only does the age verification process gather demographic information about verified consumers, but it also requires the use of personal mobile devices at the point of purchase.

When a verified customer uses their mobile device at a machine, retailers can leverage device information to deploy geo-location marketing tactics and consumer retargeting ad activations. Additionally, cannabis companies with access to mobile device data can discover which digital publications and social media platforms customers are using, improving the effectiveness of ad purchases and placements.

The Future of Cannabis Retail

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, balancing age restriction regulations with customer convenience will remain a primary focus for businesses and consumers alike. Unattended retail machines are an integral part of this, providing opportunities for cannabis purchases in places that would have otherwise been impossible, such as cruise ships, casinos, and hotels.

Cannabis companies hoping to take advantage of these opportunities will need to rely on the expertise of companies on the forefront of the digital ID verification industry.

Reach out to an expert at to get started on your unattended retail journey today.

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