Updated: Apr 20, 2019
Pay cash for pot if you can, Federal Privacy Commissioner urges
Cannabis buyers who are concerned about using credit cards should use cash if possible, the federal privacy commissioner said in a strongly worded statement Tuesday.
“Cannabis is illegal in most jurisdictions outside of Canada,” the statement warns.
“The personal information of cannabis users is therefore very sensitive. For example, some countries may deny entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis, even lawfully.”
“If you are concerned about using your credit card, and
the option is available, consider using cash to purchase cannabis.”
In mid-October, U.S. border officials said they might bar Canadians from the U.S. for legal marijuana use in Canada if a border officer decides they are likely to consume it in the United States. U.S. law allows them to bar people for life for past marijuana use, even if it was legal where it happened.
Cannabis sellers shouldn’t record data about buyers if it can be avoided, the statement says:
“One way to minimize the possibility of disclosure to foreign governments (given that cannabis use is not legal in most other jurisdictions), and reduce the impacts of a data breach, or other incidents that reveal purchasers’ names or other personal information, is to refrain from recording customers’ personal information.”
Sellers should pay attention to where the customer data they do have is stored.
“Keep in mind that storing data in the Cloud or in proprietary software means there is likely transfer or storage of that personal information outside of Canada, which could then potentially be accessed by foreign law enforcement. Potential access to this data by foreign governments is of particular concern, which means it will generally be more privacy protective to store personal information on a server located in Canada.”