Marijuana Purchases and Privacy: What You Should Know

You get to your local dispensary. You present your ID. Where does that information go, who has the right to see it, and could the federal government decide to bring criminal charges against you?

Those are some of the questions taken up by the people at Politifact this week. They spoke to industry experts, attorneys, and a number of the California dispensaries dolling out recreational and/or medical marijuana.

The entire explainer is worth checking out. But here are just a few things you should know.

1. There is nothing in the law that requires the dispensary to retain your personal information for non-delivery orders. But there’s no law barring it either.

2. As a matter of practice, most dispensaries Politifact spoke to do retain customer information.

3. You’re being videotaped as soon as you walk into a dispensary. It’s the law.

4. Nearly all experts agree that federal prosecution of individuals purchasing marijuana is extremely unlikely. However, it’s theoretically possible. Medical marijuana customers are even less likely to be targeted.

5. Other states have privacy controls in place that California currently lacks. In Oregon, for instance, it is illegal for marijuana retailers to store or share customer information. Similar protections could one day come to California. But, so far, no such bills have been proposed.


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