The laws regarding travelling with cannabis are ones all frequent flyers should make a priority to memorize. While federal cannabis legalization has brought Canada new freedoms – including regulated retail stores, the ability to grow at home in most provinces, public consumption rules, and more – travelling abroad with the product itself can have serious repercussions. All details can be found on the Government of Canada website, but these are some the important questions you need to ask yourself before you travel with, or for, cannabis:
Can I travel within Canada with my cannabis?
YES. Adults over the age of 19 are allowed to travel with up to 30g, provided it is in the original packaging.
I am a Canadian medical patient. Where can I travel with my cannabis?
Ensuring proof of prescription is on hand (receipt of licensed producer purchase), medical patients can travel throughout Canada with their legal limit, plus 30g. They CANNOT travel with their medication outside of Canada.
Can I travel from Canada to the US with my cannabis?
NO. That could be considered trafficking. Do not bring your cannabis with you, even if the state you’re going to is recreationally legal. Federally speaking, anything to do with cannabis could be considered a crime of moral turpitude.
Here’s a list of legally recreational states where adults over the age of 21 can purchase:
Can I travel from the US to Canada with my cannabis?
NO. That could also be considered trafficking. You can purchase cannabis once you arrive in Canada. Provinces with physical retail locations:
- Nova Scotia
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Ontario (limited locations April 2019)
Provinces with online retail only:
What do I do if border security asks me if I have ever consumed cannabis?
Before this is answered, it should be noted that US border security is not on a special mission to detain Canadian cannabis users. They scrutinize any business being conducted between cannabis companies, as federally, it’s still a Schedule 1 drug. If they do happen to question your use, don’t lie, but also don’t perjure yourself by including unnecessary details. A simple “I have never consumed anything illegal” has been an effective response for some. If you’re feeling uneasy, the best bet is to contact a lawyer specializing in cannabis law.
Despite the excitement of Canada’s federal legalization and the US’s increasing amount of legalized states, users still need to remain diligent when travelling. Americans attempting to cross either border with any amount of cannabis can face up to 14 years in a Canadian jail. Leave your stash at home and research the legal retail locations of your destination.
It’s also worth mentioning that your method of payment should be taken into consideration. While the media has conflated the issue, credit card records are theoretically available to border agents; but this doesn’t guarantee they’ll pull them up. Use common sense and do your best to not look like an obvious target (i.e.: don’t smell like cannabis, and don’t EVER tell a border agent you’re travelling to buy cannabis!)
Bon voyage, buds.