Ask a Stoner: Do Any Dispensaries Not Scan IDs?

Dear Stoner: All dispensaries seem to insist on scanning my ID. Do any shops still just check it visually, or is there no hope for escaping Big Brother?
James C.

Dear James: We're not saying that those dispensaries aren't out there...but for the most part, they're not out there.

The real kicker here is that there’s no law mandating that Colorado dispensaries scan IDs (although some cities, such as Aurora, require it) or use any other sort of machine confirmation, for that matter; security guards just need to visually inspect IDs and determine that they’re authentic, the same way a bouncer would outside of a bar. There 's no law banning cell phone use inside of a dispensary, either, nor is there a law that disallows those with vertical IDs from entering. These are all store policies that have been widely adopted across the industry.
The industry has its reasons for adhering to these policies. Many customers, especially MMJ patients, desire discretion and don't want to be in another person's picture posted on social media (hence the cell-phone ban), while vertical IDs present a greater risk of allowing underage customers through. (Vertical IDs are given to drivers when they’re under 21, but they don’t always expire when the holder reaches 21, which means people of legal age are being banned.) Why the need for an ID scan? The answer we hear most often is that it’s the best way to ensure that an ID isn’t fake, and it also monitors daily customer purchase habits to prevent looping. Dispensaries that scan swear they’re not saving your information...but let the buyer beware.

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