As the cannabis industry continues to flourish in Colorado, it faces new challenges in adapting to changing regulations and protecting consumer privacy. The Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) is a recent legislation that demands attention, requiring businesses to take significant steps to safeguard personal data and ensure compliance. In this article, we present the top 10 key points about the CPA, shedding light on what the cannabis industry must know to navigate this new regulatory landscape successfully which goes into effect July 1, 2023. 

  1. Scope and Applicability: The CPA applies to businesses that collect and process personal data of Colorado residents, regardless of their physical location. This includes cannabis dispensaries, delivery services, online platforms, and any other entities that handle consumer data.
  2. Enhanced Consumer Rights: Under the CPA, consumers are granted an array of enhanced rights. Specifically, it includes the right to access their personal data, correct inaccuracies, delete information, and opt-out of data sharing or sales. Businesses must be prepared to respond promptly and transparently to such requests. 
  3. Consent and Purpose Limitations: Explicit consent is required from consumers for the collection and processing of their personal data. Additionally, businesses must clearly communicate the purpose for which the data is being collected and obtain separate consent for any secondary uses.
  4. Data Protection Assessments: The CPA mandates conducting data protection assessments for high-risk processing activities. Businesses in the cannabis industry should evaluate their data collection, storage, and sharing practices to identify potential risks and implement necessary safeguards. 
  5. Data Breach Notification: In the event of a data breach, businesses are obligated to notify affected individuals within a specific timeframe. Having robust incident response plans in place, including procedures for timely breach notification, is crucial for compliance with the CPA. 
  6. Minimization and Security Measures: The CPA requires businesses to collect and retain only the necessary personal data. Furthermore, stringent security measures must be implemented to protect data from unauthorized access, disclosure, or loss. 
  7. Third-Party Relationships: Businesses must ensure that their third-party service providers adhere to the same privacy standards as outlined in the CPA. Contracts with vendors should clearly define responsibilities and establish mechanisms for monitoring compliance. 
  8. Staff Training and Awareness: Businesses must educate their employees about their roles and responsibilities in protecting consumer data. Regular training sessions should cover the importance of privacy, data handling best practices, and relevant legal requirements. 
  9. Documentation and Record-Keeping: Companies must maintain comprehensive documentation to demonstrate compliance with the CPA. Businesses must maintain records of data processing activities, consents obtained, data protection assessments conducted, and any other relevant documentation. 
  10. Proactive Compliance: To navigate the CPA successfully, businesses in the cannabis industry should partner with experienced cyber security consultants. Companies should begin with an assessment of current practices. Consulting partners can develop a tailored plan for compliance, audits, and the necessary ongoing support. 

At BridgeView, we have a proven track record of helping enterprise clients across various industries prepare for cyber security audits and enhance their data protection measures. With our expertise in privacy regulations, we are well-equipped to assist the cannabis industry in understanding and complying with the Colorado Privacy Act.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and ensure your business is well-prepared for the evolving landscape of consumer privacy.

The Colorado Privacy Act demands increased attention and significant obligations to manage and protect consumer data. By familiarizing themselves with the top 10 key points outlined above and seeking professional guidance, businesses in this sector can adapt to the new regulatory environment, build trust with their consumers, and safeguard their future success.

Written: June 2023