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Pay for Cannabis in Cash Only, Warns Canadian Privacy Watchdog

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Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien says you definitely shouldn’t use your credit card to buy legal cannabis in Canada. Using plastic instead of cash could get you in big trouble when traveling outside Canada, he warned. 

Cannabis is illegal in most jurisdictions outside of Canada. The personal information of cannabis users is therefore very sensitive,” Therrien wrote. Some countries may deny entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis, even lawfully.”

Paying in cash is easier said than done for many Canadians, though. If you live in Ontario, the only means of buying legal weed is through the Ontario Cannabis Store — an online sales platform that only accepts credit card payments. The personal information of 4,500 OCS customers had already been breached, though there hasn’t appeared to be anyone blocked from travel because of this.

On top of that, the only way for patients to legally buy medical marijuana is online (unless they visit a gray-market dispensary, which can cause other legal issues as all of those cannabis stores are illicit). So patients across the country do not have a legal option to pay with cash right now, or in the foreseeable future. 

Therrien also noted that the onus doesn’t fall entirely on consumers, and cannabis retailers need to be doing more to protect customers as well. He has urged cannabis retailers not to use video surveillance if possible and not to ask for any more information than is absolutely necessary to determine if the customer is of legal age to buy cannabis.

Private organizations are required by law to develop policies and practices to meet their responsibilities under the [law],” Therrien says in the statement.

Unfortunately, that means also having to take the laws of other, anti-cannabis countries into account. In America, for instance, Canadians can face a lifetime ban from entering the country if authorities have reason to believe a visitor has consumed cannabis at any point in their life.

h/​t The Growth Op

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