Oregon Moves To Shield Weed Users’ Data From Federal Agents

The state bill protects the identities and personal information of people who purchase recreational marijuana at licensed retailers

Photo Illustration: Diana Quach
Apr 11, 2017 at 3:45 PM ET

They’re leaving nothing to chance.

Fearful of a potential crackdown on marijuana by the Trump administration, Oregon state lawmakers approved a measure aimed to protect the identities and personal information of people who purchase recreational pot at licensed retailers from federal agents.

More Weed Industry Under Trump Could Go Up In Smoke

Weed shops throughout the state routinely collect the names, birthdates, addresses, and other private data from customers when they present an identification card to enter a marijuana dispensary, as required by law. Businesses say they maintain these records, often without the purchaser’s consent or knowledge, for marketing and customer service purposes.

The bipartisan proposal, which passed the Oregon House 53-5 on Monday and previously cleared the state Senate, would require dispensaries to destroy any customer information they have on recreational marijuana users from their databases within 30 days and prohibit such record-keeping in the future. Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill into law. Other recreational weed states, such as Alaska, Colorado, and Washington, already have such privacy protections in place.

More Jeff Sessions Peddles Hysteria To Attack Legal Marijuana

The move marks one of the first major steps taken by legislators in a state with legal weed to pre-empt any possible changes to federal marijuana enforcement under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In February, White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the Department of Justice planned to crack down on marijuana sales in states that sold recreational weed. Meanwhile, Sessions, a longtime foe of marijuana, has repeatedly condemned its use and sale throughout the U.S. in recent weeks — often with feverish and largely unsubstantiated claims.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in eight states as well as Washington, D.C., and is a multi-billion dollar industry that’s created thousands of jobs.