Teenagers and those under legal drinking age have been using fake IDs, borrowing or stealing friends or family members’ IDs since prohibition ended in the 1930s. It is not a new concept but we are in an industry that is growing, processing and retailing a Schedule One Controlled Substance so here we go.

To be fair, the burden is not totally on retail, State licensed Cannabis stores nowawdays to root out those with alternative and ultimately illegal forms of identification. But there will be responsibility and as a result you’re likely to hear that dreaded phrase, “Use due diligence”.

There are essentially two problems for store owners to be aware of when it comes to this issue; firstly, borrowed or stolen ID or the outright forged ID, typically known as fake ID.

Again, the good news is that the former situation mentioned in the previous paragraph is not difficult, certainly not “rocket science”. A substitute or borrowed ID, typically a State issued drivers license, is the first of two situations of which we will need to be aware.

Goes like this: an individual, we’ll say a male, enters the shop, presents his ID when asked and it’s obviously not the same individual you see before you. Caucasian vs African-American, 5’10” vs 6’6, blue eyes vs brown, etc, you get the idea. Due diligence means you catch this obvious situation and refer the would be patron to the front door. Take a second or two, or longer. Do not allow yourself or your employee to feel rushed. Taking your time is actually a good idea; the possible fake ID holding person trying to pull one over on your staff may begin to sweat. Seconds can seemingly feel like minutes, minutes like hours. It’s ok, make him/her sweat while you do your “due diligence”.

What this individual is attempting is a serious crime, and the same is true for the person associated with the borrowed ID, assuming of course it was borrowed with the individual’s knowledge and permission. At the end of your mini investigation you can feel absolutely free to decide against proceeding with a transaction. In fact you would definitely be within your rights to refuse service.

As for the latter situation mentioned earlier, the forged or fake ID, that is a different matter entirely. We have, in our shop in Ellensburg in Washington State have purchased a book with every State’s proper looking ID. There’s a lot of information and insights as to what constitutes a legitimate ID in these respective States. We also have a black light so we can further evaluate the authenticity of the ID in question. Plus, I strongly suggest investing some time with a representative with your State’s Cannabis enforcement agency to be trained to some degree as to what to look for in real vs fake IDs. Could be time well spent.

Also in both circumstances, fake IDs or borrowed or stolen IDs, as part of your overall strategy in dealing with identification problems/issues, reach out to local law enforcement and inquire as to how they would prefer you handle these various situations should they occur. In our little town, the local police department is eager to work with us to nab these bad actors. We have formulated a process with our local cops and I believe it works very well.

Remember we want to be a good neighbor. We’ve been very fortunate due to our good citizens policy(s) to be on very good terms with our local law enforcement and first responders.  This can never hurt, it can only help.

Rob Hendrix, owner

Cannabis Consulting Nationwide, LLC

Cannabis Central of Ellensburg, LLC