Washington state lawmakers are considering allowing biometric age verification by private entities selling alcohol or weed products via a bill that would put the State Liquor and Cannabis Board in charge of deciding on the fingerprint scanning and facial analysis, reported The Center Square.
"I think with the biometrics, it's just a matter of time before it's coming in," the director of policy and external affairs Justin Nordhorn told the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. "How we do that is important."
Biometric age verification, already allowed in the state, is being used by businesses such as CLEAR Secure
Under state law, biometric age verification in Washington can only be used to supplement but not as the only form of identification, substituting state-issued IDs.
Nordhorn highlighted some of the challenges of using biometrics, like one company confirming a 10% failure rate to identify an individual. According to him, the easiest places to implement that technology are grocery chains.
He also questioned the security. "If you're having these types of scans or all of your personal ID provided to somebody, what are the security? Does the state have access to it or not?"
Nordhorn concluded that without enough rulemaking authority, it is unwise to create these rules; he suggested the Department of Licensing should get involved. He also said it is not necessary to have all the answers right away.
Recent Cannabis Milestones In Washington State
At the end of July, the state introduced an online portal for refunding unconstitutional drug prosecution fees. The online portal was set up for the thousands who face legal fees due to prosecution under drug criminalization laws, which were subsequently deemed unconstitutional.
The state Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) launched the Blake Refund Bureau platform, enabling easier coordination with courts, county clerks, public defenders, prosecutors, advocates and other individuals involved in the process.