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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?

Cannabis dispensaries often track your purchases for regulatory and legal compliance. This tracking typically includes recording the types and quantities of products you buy, as well as your identification information, such as your name and age.

However, the specifics can vary depending on local and state regulations, and dispensaries are usually required to keep this information confidential and secure. It's essential to check the rules and practices in your specific area to understand how dispensaries handle customer purchase information.

What Is Metrc

State track cannabis sales data through a 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.

Officials of Washington have verified that dispensaries do not build customer databases and there is not an intention to.

Marketing Purposes

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.

Employers at some dispensaries have their employees ask for names and addresses for customer service and marketing purposes.

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.

Learn More About Dispensaries and Cannabis

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Karen Getchell, expert cannabis writer
Karen Getchell

Karen gained expertise in developing training programs and technical documentation as a Senior Editor at Cisco Systems. She began her journey in cannabis as a patient, searching for a way to heal herself. When she perfected a method for making cannabis oil, other patients began to seek her out. An early adopter of CBD medicine, she started her CBD-infused-products business in 2014. Over the last two decades, Karen has taught hundreds of patients and caregivers how to select strains, infuse oils, and extract cannabinoids.

When she isn’t teaching cannabis cooking classes, Karen works as a cannabis business consultant, writes for online cannabis publications like Cannabis Training University, Leafly, and Weedmaps, and runs a CBD-infused-product business.

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