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Those who start buying cannabis legally sometimes wonder, do dispensaries track how much you buy? No one likes being tracked. No one likes their personal information stored in systems that they’re unaware of or without their permission.

You might be concerned about dispensaries tracking how much you buy, and there are reasons to be concerned. It feels invasive since weed is not federally legal, it makes you wonder if it can come back to haunt you.

There’s lots to consider but we’ll cover why and how dispensaries track you.

Are Dispensaries Required to Keep Customer Information?

Here’s the good news: not all dispensaries are required to keep your information and how much you purchase. In many states laws prohibit keeping information after a certain amount of time.

So why keep it? Some dispensaries keep that information for a variety of reasons, such as marketing or government data.

What Is Metrc

You might be wondering how the state tracks recreational sales. The state tracks sales data through their tracking system called Metrc. Metrc stands for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance.

Metrc's goal is “Metrc intends to create safety and transparency for consumers in the cannabis industry.” It's just a matter of what happens with that information, how long it is stored, and the cybersecurity measures.”

Metrc keeps track of the time and location of sales, as well as quantity, price, and product type.

So when the state looks at Metrc, they see each transaction and what was sold. But that information says “customer.” They cannot see any information about who buys the products,  just what was sold and how much.

This can put customers at ease since their information stays anonymous enough to not worry about getting charged with a federal crime.

Laws Vary By State

California recreational marijuana dispensaries are collecting customers' personal information, despite regulations and laws like the CCPA. “The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a state-wide data privacy law that regulates how businesses all over the world are allowed to handle the personal information (PI) of California residents.”

Government identification documents and what products they buy – even though the record-keeping is not part of Proposition 64, the state law voters approved in November 2016.

States vary in their regulations. For example, Colorado and Oregon have banned the collection of personal information.

Washington is another state where weed is legalized. Officials of Washington have verified that dispensaries do not build customer databases and there is not an intention to.

Marketing Purposes

You guessed it! Most of the information collected by dispensaries is for marketing purposes. If you provide your number or email, you’ll receive notifications for sales, updates, and deals.

Email and SMS marketing are huge right now and the go-to for increasing revenue. Collecting this information from customers is crucial to building contact lists for promotional purposes.

SMS messaging is opened by over 90% of recipients. People feel compelled to open a message and either delete or follow through with an action.

Employers at some dispensaries have their employees ask for names and addresses for customer service and marketing purposes. Even when you enter a dispensary, they take your ID and sometimes scan it.

Dispensaries claim that they don’t record information from IDs or share personal information with the state.

It can probably put you at ease knowing most dispensaries are using information to advertise. While it might be obnoxious, at least it’s not entirely intrusive. Marketing is better than tracking.

So Dispensaries Are Saving Our Information?

Yes — but not for reasons you would assume, it’s not being tracked to invade your privacy. It can be assumed there’s some data that will be collected but not specifics. They aren’t tracking how much you’re buying, per se. Not enough to feel concerned.

Hopefully that can put you at ease.

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