Could Mass Regulators Do Away With The Double ID Check At Dispensaries?

Why does it even have to happen in the first place?

Some things were said toward the end of last week’s Cannabis Control Commission meeting that may be of interest to anyone who frequents Bay State dispensaries.

The quick exchange didn’t seem significant enough to mention in my writeup of the meeting, during which CCC members primarily focused on progress made by working groups addressing Host Community Agreements, social equity, and social consumption. But after visiting a few shops in the time since, I had a change of heart and thought that it was worth a post since the issue affects me regularly.

Following the working group updates, CCC Chair Shannon O’Brien opened the floor for discussion about any “low-hanging fruit”—basically topics that commissioners may want to mention that won’t spur lengthy debate, the small and simple stuff. It felt like an olive branch of sorts after some testy back-and-forths, and Commissioner Nurys Camargo accepted, bringing up how customers get ID’d (at least) twice while shopping in a Mass dispensary—at the reception counter/window, and then again at the register.

Camargo didn’t get into too many details other than to say this comes up in her meetings with stakeholders, and to suggest “it will be helpful to the industry [to do away with the double-check],” and perhaps even “save money and time.”

For the record, here’s the language from the commonwealth’s cannabis law that triggers for the redundancy:

(a) On entry into the Premises of a Marijuana Retailer by an individual, a Marijuana Establishment Agent shall immediately inspect the individual’s proof of identification and determine the individual’s age. An individual shall not be admitted to the Premises, unless the Marijuana Retailer has verified that the individual is 21 years of age or older by an individual’s proof of identification.

(b) On point-of-sale by an individual, a Marijuana Establishment Agent shall inspect the individual’s proof of identification and determine the individual’s age.

It’s hard to imagine anyone thinking that this is a necessary protocol, and thankfully none of the CCC members who spoke did. While the actual issue of double-IDing people is noteworthy, it’s even more noteworthy that all the commissioners who spoke up seemed to agree that unnecessary vestiges of the original law can be thrown on the chopping block. This may sound like a small accomplishment, but it’s a near-miracle for any regulatory body.

“I don’t disagree that it was redundant,” Chair O’Brien said, adding that their CCC predecessors intentionally overregulated early on, knowing their successors could roll back as needed. Executive Director Shawn Collins also saw some light in the idea, and said his assumption is that the double check goes back to the pre-adult use, medical-only days.

For now, O’Brien said, the topic has been moved into the “tentative pile” for commissioners to potentially address further at an upcoming meeting. Let’s hope they follow up.