Colorado marijuana quantity restrictions raise questions of privacy concerns and effectiveness
Colorado has released its rules for selling recreational marijuana and if you don’t live in the state, the quantity of your purchase is less than what it would be if you do live in the state, but that might not matter at all.
You’ll have to be over 21 and provide an approved ID in order to buy cannabis.
For Colorado residents, they’re limited to a maximum of one ounce per transaction. If you aren’t a resident, you’ll be limited to a quarter of an ounce per transaction.
This is interesting from a privacy point of view, because it leads you to wonder just how these rules are intended to work.
Questions arise such as, do they make a record of your purchase along with all pertinent identification data? Does all of this information go into a central database?
One would have to assume that the intent of this rule would be to restrict how much someone can buy in order to prevent them from reselling it somewhere or in a way that it is illegal to sell or purchase. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Further questions arise, such as what is the limit to the number of transactions each day? Is it against the rules to make a purchase, walk outside, then walk back inside and make another transaction? Surely this would be against the regulations in place, otherwise it really just defeats the purpose of having this restriction. If this is against the rules, what’s to stop someone from just going to another store and making another maximum purchase there, and then continuing until they’ve hit up all the stores in town?
It would only make sense that in order to ensure this purchase restriction works effectively, that all of these shops maintain a central database which logs purchases.
This leads to even further questions. Who will have access to this database, how secure is it, and how do we know that this information won’t be used against people who live in a state where cannabis is still illegal? Many privacy questions arise here and there are a lot of legitimate concerns. The implications of such a system are quite frightening.
So what do the rules say? Upon scouring the regulations set forth by the Colorado state government, it would appear that none of these mechanisms are in place. The rule simply states:
“A Retail Marijuana Store and its employees are prohibited from selling more than one ounce of Retail Marijuana or its equivalent in Retail Marijuana Product during a single sales transaction to a Colorado resident. A Retail Marijuana Store and its employees are prohibited from selling more than a quarter ounce of Retail Marijuana or its equivalent in Retail Marijuana Product during a single sales transaction to a person who does not have a valid government-issued photo identification card showing that the person is a resident of the state of Colorado.”
Unless there is information which was not found during this searching of the regulations, a person can make as many transactions as they want, which effectively makes such a rule restricting the amount a person can purchase to be pointless.
If there is missing information on the regulations here, then the security and privacy concerns stand.
It prompts asking the question of why include such a rule at all if it is so easily defeated? Is this a feel-good regulation which only gives the perception of safety? Shouldn’t the point of legislation be its effectiveness rather than giving people a sense of security? It also raises concerns that such vaguely worded laws are ripe for abuse.
Furthermore, is there any real reason why there should be a quantity restriction? We largely do not see such restrictions on alcohol. Surely a substance far safer than alcohol should be subject to less regulation than alcohol itself, or at the very least, equal regulation.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com