Article by Patrick Cain, Global News
When Canadians are able to buy legal recreational marijuana sometime this year, we are going to start generating a lot of consumer data.
Some of it will be clearly linked to individuals: credit card purchases at physical stores and online ordering to home addresses, for example.
If your Canadian marijuana-buying data ends up on a server in the United States, could it make its way to U.S. border officials? There’s little to stop it, privacy experts say.
And that could have lasting consequences. Canadians can be barred for life from the United States — even after legalization here — if a border officer decides that they are an “abuser” of marijuana.
“Under current technical instructions, use in the last year would qualify as a drug abuser,” says Scott Railton, an immigration lawyer in Bellingham, Wash.
“If they were able to access that data point for home delivery and everything, it would open the door for more questions.”
A U.S. border officer who knew of a Canadian’s marijuana buying history could quickly put the person in an impossible position — admit to marijuana use and be banned as a “drug abuser,” or deny it and be banned for lying. (Immigration lawyers advise refusing to answer the question, which will probably get you turned back on that one occasion, but doesn’t carry lasting consequences.)