Cannabis Sites and Security

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love Canadian servers.

In addition to supporting Canadian businesses, there are legal reasons to use a Canadian web hosting service.

Although British Columbia’s cannabis framework (the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and the Cannabis Distribution Act) does not permit direct e-commerce by private enterprise in the cannabis sector, there are many opportunities for user-login web services.  If you set up a member network of any sort on your website, you owe it to your members to ensure that their participation is not subject to inspection under the USA PATRIOT Act.  Yes, that controversial piece of invasive legislation is still in effect, and it allows inspection by U.S. law enforcement into any data passing through the United States. No one wants to be stopped at the border on their way to buy Count Chocula in Point Roberts because they logged into your cannabis discussion forum that is hosted on a U.S. server.

One issue that I deal with daily is my clients’ use of foreign e-mail servers.  If it’s a free e-mail account (gmail, Yahoo, etc.), it likely passes through U.S. servers.  If it’s your own domain, but you use an American hosting company, it passes through U.S. servers.

As a lawyer, protecting my clients’ information is critical.  The core of our justice system is dependent on solicitor-client privilege.  It is vital to the protection of your rights that you can communicate freely with your lawyer without fear of that information falling into anyone else’s hands.  In the cannabis industry, that’s even more important.  Encryption is not enough; I keep my clients’ communication on Canadian soil, where it’s protected by PIPA and PIPEDA, and not subject to the USA PATRIOT Act.

There are many Canadian hosting companies; some even have Canadian-only cloud services.  Shop them and use them; you owe your customers and members that security.

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Jeremy Costin

About the Author

Jeremy Costin is an experienced solicitor with a passion for developing effective solutions for a broad range of clients. Jeremy’s practice is focused on business, e-commerce and information management, and estate planning including wills and probate.

Jeremy is the principal of Jeremy R Costin Law Corporation (Costin Law).