Canada legalized the recreational adult use of cannabis earlier this year and their marijuana market has exploded not just within their own borders, but worldwide as freed up investors scour the globe for the next big thing in weed.
By far the most fertile hunting ground for established brands and industry experience is in the United States where even though our federal government doesn’t possess even a fraction of the aptitude that our neighbors to the north display on the subject, the grassroots culture has thrived in the shadows for decades to lay the foundation for today’s legal cannabis.
Canadian moneymen can be found pacing the aisles from MJBizCon to The Emerald Cup, trying to make heads or tails of this fascinating new industry. Those already connected are well into cultivation or manufacturing projects with deep-rooted American brands who were happy to accept the infusion of financial support.
Though we live in a digital world these days, cannabis remains a very “hands-on” commodity and that requires a lot of travel between the two countries as these savvy businessmen jet back and forth to manage their investments.
We have already seen headlines about travelers being stopped and questioned at the U.S./Canada border, and even one story about a Canadian investor with financial interests in American pot being handed a lifetime ban from entering the U.S.
He didn’t have a suitcase full of weed, hash, or suspect cash. He wasn’t running from the law or trying to slip past security. He was en route to Vegas for MJBizCon and made the mistake of being honest about it with U.S. border agents at the airport. They sent him home.
With stories like this becoming more commonplace at what is typically a pretty excitement-free border between two strong allies, this week the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released a guide for all Canadians who plan to have anything to do with legal cannabis.
The guide is not just aimed at investors or those on the supply or sales side of their lucrative new market. It mainly targets the average Canadian cannabis consumer with suggestions for how to deal with American prohibition.
Ok, the guide doesn’t mention the U.S. specifically, and cannabis is still illegal in almost every other country in the world and not just America, but let’s face it, they are looking at us.
With national laws like the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Canadians are supposed to be able to rest assured that their personal and private information remains safe when making store or online purchases, forcing retailers to disclose what “personal information is being collected, to which parties it will be disclosed, the purposes for its collection, and any residual risks of harm” to the consumer.
Since cannabis is now legal for recreational purposes in Canada, retailers should never ask a consumer for medical information. All a consumer needs to provide is proof of age, and even that is not supposed to be recorded in any way.
But when it comes to credit card transactions, often certain bits of personal information do change hands, and that information is not always secure or private.
The same goes with the highly popular business model of monthly subscription boxes, which often require not just credit card info, but an email address, and home shipping information.
Canadian officials are concerned that while this info is mostly harmless and useless in their own country, it may be used as judge and jury by U.S. border agents who are vetting would-be travelers based on a possible relation to a damn plant.
With those concerns in mind, this week’s public guide goes so far as to suggest that Canadians try to use cash only when purchasing any amount of cannabis for any reason. Officials also suggest that consumers confirm where their favorite dispensary has its severs hosted, hoping that the answer is not “in America”.
“Hi, what’ll it be today?”
“I’ll take an 8th of the Thunderfuck and a list of your server locations please.”
This is yet another example of how far-reaching America’s federal prohibition of cannabis can be – even in countries that have made the plant completely legal.