Issues about the security of personal data are becoming an increasingly pressing concern for many consumers. Whether it’s social media accounts, credit card information required to purchase things online or in brick and mortar stores, you want to be sure your personal information stays safe. But what about when it comes to the legal weed industry? Are dispensaries keeping your personal information? And if so, what are they doing with it?
State Laws Dictate Data Security
The legal cannabis scene is still very much in its infancy. As the industry continues to grow, mature, and solidify, it often has to figure things out as it goes.
In most cases, there are no single or unifying policies defining the cannabis industry. A large part of that is because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. As a result, laws are typically made on a state-by-state basis, and can, therefore, be very inconsistent when compared against one another.
One area where there is inconsistency is the question of what dispensaries do with their customers’ data. So far, whether or not dispensaries are allowed to keep your information depends largely on where you live.
The simple answer is that some states allow dispensaries to keep certain types of customer data. Other states bar dispensaries from retaining any customer data at all.
Unclear Laws Persist
For example, legal weed consumers in California may find themselves on shaky terrain when it comes to their personal information.
According to Politifact, the state of California requires all dispensaries to check for legal ID before selling to a customer. The ID check is simply to make sure that a customer is 21 or older and therefore eligible to purchase marijuana.
But what happens beyond that initial check is anyone’s guess. The state does not require dispensaries to store customers’ information. But it also does not explicitly prohibit dispensaries from doing so.
This potentially leaves the door open for dispensaries to keep certain types of information from their customers. Of course, that information is fairly limited, since dispensaries only check for one form of legal ID.
Colorado is another state where uncertainty seems to persist. According to state laws: “a retail marijuana store shall not be required to acquire and record personal information about consumers other than information typically acquired in a financial transaction conducted at a retail liquor store.”
Essentially, to buy weed in Colorado you need to provide proof that you’re 21 or older. From there, dispensaries are not required to store your information. But, like in California, there’s nothing that explicitly says they can’t.
Some States Just Say No
Meanwhile, other states are much more clear about what dispensaries can and cannot do with their customers’ information. In particular, some states are explicitly making it illegal for dispensaries to store customer data.
For example, Oregon lawmakers took steps to ensure that peoples’ data is protected when they buy legal weed. In 2017, Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 863 into law.
As reported by the Washington Times, this relatively new law explicitly prohibits dispensaries from keep or sharing any of their customers’ personal information.
Are Dispensaries Keeping Your Personal Information?
The issue of personal data security is a pressing concern for many legal weed consumers. And for good reason. Not only are consumers concerned about largescale data breaches, as periodically happen in the commercial and social media spaces.
Beyond that, many weed consumers are worried about the possibility of legal problems. More specifically, a lot of people are worried that if they buy weed in a state where it’s legal, their information could eventually get them into trouble with law enforcement elsewhere, since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
So, are dispensaries keeping your personal information? Unfortunately, at this point, there’s no simple answer. It varies too much state-to-state.
If you’re worried about your information, it’s probably best to check your local laws before buying from a dispensary. Similarly, you could also ask your dispensary’s manager if they keep customers’ data.