For companies selling age restricted products such as alcohol, cannabis, vaporizers or smoking related products online, age restricted mechanisms called “age gates” are used so that visitors can verify their age before entering a website.
In Canada, the legal age for purchasing certain products may vary between provinces. For example the legal age to purchase cannabis in Alberta is 18 while in Quebec the age is 21 (as of January 2020).
With thousands of cannabis related websites in Canada, very few have age gates which are compliant. Health Canada has stated that a simple Yes/No is non-compliant.
Many cannabis websites typically set a median age of 19 which covers the majority of provinces, this rule will exclude Alberta and will soon pose a larger problem as Quebec’s minimum age requirement becomes 21.
Canadian Age Gate Plugin for WordPress
WordPress is the most widely used content management system in the world and currently used by the majority of cannabis retailers online. Almost all websites attempt to keep compliant by providing an age verification method for users visiting their website for the first time.
There are several free and paid age gate plugins available for WordPress which can be easily installed in just minutes. Unfortunately none of available age verification plugins satisfy the legal age requirements by geographic location in Canada.
NexToronto has recently launched a solution based on customizing one of the most popular WordPress Age Gate plugins available on Code Canyon (currently sells for $18).
Our customized version of Age Checker compares the visitors selected geographic location against their selected age (based on their date of birth) to verify if the minimum age requirement is met for a specific Canadian province.
Administrators can also easily set the minimum age requirement for each province in the backend by using the following syntax for each province: Alberta:18, Ontario:19, Quebec:21 etc. each on a new line.
Out of the box the plugin also provides additional features including:
- Ability to customize background with an image for video
- Ability to upload logo
- Restrict individual pages and posts, or use site wide age restriction
- Include an optional Exit button which redirects users to your desired URL
- Toggle the opacity of the background image or video overlay
- Change the date input order based on your region (DD MM YYYY or MM DD YYYY)
- Change the form and validation text to whatever you want
- Set the cookie life
- Preview form in the WordPress dashboard
- Responsive & optimized for all devices
- SEO friendly – Common search engine crawlers can be omitted from age verification
The end result is the only age gate plugin which satisfies all minimum age requirements for all Canadian provinces.
If you’d like to see this plugin in action visit BeBlissed.com.
It’s important for companies selling alcohol, e-cigarettes/vaporizers or cannabis to have age compliant verification in place to keep minors from being able to access controlled substances. Health Canada has expressed that age gates can be easily circumvented by youth. We believe having an age gate setup on your website can still serve as a reminder for minors, that they are entering a website in which they are prohibited.
If your site is developed in WordPress and requires age verification functionality, contact us for a quote to configure it on your website.