Oregon Lawmakers Trying To Prevent Marijuana Shops From Selling Customer Info

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If you live in a state with legalized recreational marijuana and take advantage of your right to shop at your local pot shop, that retailer might know things about you that you’d rather keep private. That’s why Oregon may soon make it against the law for marijuana retailers to collect or sell their customers’ information.

After passing in the Senate last month by a vote of 21-6, the House voted 53-5 in favor of sending SB863 [PDF] to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown, who is expected to sign it, reports The Associated Press.

Some Oregon pot retailers currently collect customer information — things like names, addresses, and dates of birth — usually gleaned from driver’s licenses or other forms of ID presented as proof of age. In some cases, this data may be linked to records of what each customer purchased.

For example, if your local pot shop knows you really have a thing for peanut butter and chocolate cannabis candy, maybe you’ll get a postcard in the mail when the store is having a sale. This is a common enough practice in traditional retail, but most retailers aren’t selling a product that the federal government still considers a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

The proposed law would prohibit marijuana businesses from recording, retaining, and transferring any type of information they collect from customers that is contained on licenses and passports. That means no selling identifying information to third parties.

If passed, recreational marijuana businesses would have 30 days to destroy any of that kind of information they currently have in their possession, starting on the day the law goes into effect.

Stores would be allowed to offer mailing lists for customers who opt in to receive promotional offers or discounts, however, as long as it’s clear that they’re giving the business permission to use that information to contact them. And even then, the retailer wouldn’t be allowed to transfer or sell that information to anyone else, either.

The AP notes that Oregon would be following the path laid by other states that currently have stores actively selling recreational marijuana: Alaska and Colorado already have similar laws in place, while Washington abides by self-imposed industry standards.

The pot privacy law comes in the shadow of a possible federal crackdown on recreational marijuana. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — an outspoken critic of the drug — recently said the Department of Justice would be reviewing its approach to marijuana enforcement to make sure it is in line with the Trump administrations views on crime.

Meanwhile, the governors of several states with legalized pot have asked Sessions to respect their states’ voters and not clamp down on marijuana. On Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that aims to revise federal restrictions on the marijuana industry.