Bill Would Boost Privacy For California Marijuana Customers

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California’s recreational marijuana customers would gain a measure of privacy under a new bill introduced at the state Capitol.

Assembly Bill 2402 would ban retail marijuana shops from selling customer data to third-party vendors without the customer’s consent.

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, said the bill would block employers from obtaining information about an employee who buys marijuana.

“The focus of this piece of legislation is around privacy,” Low said. “So, while now cannabis is legal in California, there are many individuals who want to make sure that cannabis and their use of cannabis is not made public for many reasons.”

Similar restrictions are already in place for medical marijuana customers.

The bill has no ability, however, to prevent federal authorities from seizing customer information. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Perhaps the bill’s biggest protection would be slowing the flow of unwanted junk mail.

“If you shop at retail stores, you magically start to get emails and snail mail from other similarly focused retail stores,” Low added. “And so we wanted to make sure that we don’t do that with cannabis without consent.”

Lawmakers will hold a hearing Tuesday Feb. 20 to get an update on the state of legalization in California. The hearing is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Capitol, Room 4202. It will be streamed live on Testimony is expected from those in the cannabis industry plus law enforcement, health and agriculture officials.

PolitiFact California recently examined privacy concerns in the age of legal marijuana, and answered questions in a Pot 101 article about what’s legal and what’s not under the state’s marijuana law.