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What Canada’s Legalization Of Marijuana Means For Travellers

BROOKLYN NEUSTAETER
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image courtesy of universal pictures

In a historical day, a cultural shift has happened across Canada after nearly a century of marijuana prohibition comes to an end.

Whether you’re rolling with the occasion or puff puff passing, as of October 17 adults can now legally purchase pot and even grow it in their homes for personal use.

While some Canadians may be taking the day to celebrate, it’s business as usual for Canadian airports with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) updating its screening procedures to align with the Cannabis Act. So, what are the regulations? Can you take cannabis on a plane? What if you grow your own? What about oils and edibles?

Here’s what you need to know about cannabis legalization and travelling.

 

Domestic vs. International

The Cannabis Act states that you’ll be able to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis in your personal luggage after October 17, but only if it’s on a domestic flight. Although marijuana is legal in some states and other countries, it will remain illegal to carry cannabis across an international border. It will also remain illegal to ship any amount of cannabis across the Canadian border via mail carrier, even if it’s part of a medical prescription.

Be aware that travellers may be refused entry into a country if they have cannabis with them and it is that person’s sole responsibility for the consequences—not the airline—including paying for a return ticket home. In addition, travellers returning to Canada after a vacation by air can expect to see a question about cannabis use on their declaration forms.

Even if you fly from Canada to a U.S. state where cannabis is legal without being caught at border, there could be serious consequences. To be safe, refresh yourself of Canada’s travel laws and the country in which you plan to travel to.

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Carry-on vs. Checked Baggage

Under the Cannabis Act, Canadians are legally allowed to carry up to 30 grams of marijuana in either their carry-on bag or their checked luggage on domestic flights. But keep in mind that travellers must adhere to the existing rules concerning carry-on items. For instance, liquids must not exceed 100 ml—and that same rule applies to cannabis oil. Also some edibles may be seized depending on their food content.

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Recreational vs. Medical

With regards to medical marijuana users, passengers will still be asked to present medical documentation when the amount declared or discovered during screening is more than the legal limit for recreational cannabis. Medical users should always carry their medicinal documentation with them just to be safe while travelling.

Recreational users don’t require documentation however, their joints, buds, and seeds may be seized at the airport if they are over the allotted 30-gram limit.

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Flying vs. Driving

If you’re planning for a ganja good time of a road trip, keep in mind that the rules for travelling by car with cannabis vary widely from province to province. If you’re thinking about a cross-Canada road trip, do your research before hand and be sure to double check provincial legislation so you don’t get caught in a risky situation.

And be sure NOT to drive stoned. In addition to the dangers of driving while impaired—whether by cannabis or another intoxicant—it comes with legal penalties including criminal charges similar to those for alcohol impaired driving and can including jail time.

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