Senate Bill 863, a proposal in Oregon to prevent retailers from keeping and collecting personal information of cannabis consumers who make purchases within the state, saw some success in the Senate. The collection of consumer’s private information poses many potential threats. With such information stored on files that have no mandatory cyber security system in place, consumers are vulnerable to hackers. Personal information such as driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers, and even medical records could be at risk with the current system. The only exception to Senate Bill 863 is for medical card holders. By receiving a medical cannabis card, you also opt-in to having your records obtained and stored.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican minority leader Senator Ted Ferrioli, expressed his concern about privacy rights for Oregonians as well as visitors to the state. On the Senate floor Mr. Ferrioli stated, “I don’t have to tell you of the frequency of hacking incidents or inadvertent releases of data… the loss of this information could be damaging for several reasons.”
It’s Hard To See Through The Smoke
The new Administration in Washington, DC, is sending mixed smoke signals about the future of cannabis legalization, which puts consumers and business owners alike on edge. Attorney general Jeff Sessions is reportedly reviewing memos from the Obama Administration that allow states the flexibility to pass cannabis laws.
Sessions has also made remarks that many took as negative towards cannabis’s future.. In other legal states, such as Colorado, Washington, and Alaska, this practice of gathering private information is against the law or severely frowned upon.
Everyone from federal employees and out-of-state visitors to concealed weapon permit holders runs the risk of potentially being exposed to federal government officials due to the ongoing prohibition of cannabis. While recreational and medical cannabis are both legal in Oregon, it is currently illegal for federal and state employees to test positive for cannabis, which could result in loss of employment.
There are also concerns that those who have medical cards may not be allowed to own firearms. This could present issues for someone who’s already a registered concealed firearm carrier but plans to make a purchase from a cannabis dispensary or has already made one.
What’s Next for Senate Bill 863
Last week Senate Bill 863 was amended in Salem to exclude medical cannabis card holders. Senate bill 863 is now on its way to the House for consideration. If Senate Bill 863 is passed by the House as is expected, Oregon’s cannabis industry will have 30 days to destroy records of recreational customer’s information, and they would no longer be permitted to gather those records, except for medical card holders or people who opt-in to having their information tracked.
Our state is on the path to keeping cannabis consumers safe from prying federal eyes and from those who may attempt to steal people’s identities and/or personal information. Be sure to let your House Representative know you support Senate Bill 863!