Warns Canadians Could Be Denied Entry if Pot Use Exposed

Pay cash for pot if you can, federal privacy commissioner urgesThe Canadian Privacy Commissioner warned Canadians to pay cash for cannabis – not credit cards – if they purchase cannabis.

“Cannabis is illegal in most jurisdictions outside of Canada,” the commissioner said in a released statement. “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.”

It also recommends that cannabis sellers do not collect personal information of its customers. But that’s unavoidable if the customer uses a credit card. The sale of course is recorded along with the customer’s name and credit card number, which in turn is connected with your address, contact info, and SIN number. That information could be made available to foreign governments by accidental breach or by a company simply handing over your information.

So, how likely is it? The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) warned that two per cent of its customer orders had been illegally released less than a month after it went into operation.

Some payment companies that Canadian companies use are based in the US, which means any data including customer sales can be more easily accessed by US authorities than through payment companies based in Canada.

“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. … [P]otential 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,” the commissioner warned.

However, paying cash is easier said than done. For example, BC currently has one legal cannabis store. Quebec has 12 stores. Ontario has zero, with only 25 opening in April 2019.

That being said, US border officials – where arguably the largest concerns are in terms of number of travellers per year and in terms of past actions – have been quiet, despite statements that Canadians can be barred for past use. So far only one known barring occurred with a man who invested in a grow-op in Nevada.

There is only one way to be absolutely sure though that your purchase information isn’t out there: don’t give your personal information in the first place.

This editorial content from the LPC News Editor is meant to provide analysis, insight, and perspective on current news articles. To read the source article this commentary is based upon, please click on the link below.

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