Cannabis is now legal in Canada, and some things are definitely changing. With cannabis tourism on the rise, there are plenty of fun places to visit and enjoy the plant. And now some Canadian airports are even adding cannabis-specific amenities.
But can you even travel with cannabis?
The answer is a resounding “yes … but with restrictions.” While you can travel to some places with cannabis, you can’t take it everywhere, so it’s important to know the rules.
Flying With Cannabis in Canada vs. Across the Border
Travelling with cannabis can be complicated.
You may think that if you’re allowed to use it, you should be able to bring it with you wherever you go. But it’s just not that simple. There are actually some pretty serious restrictions on travelling with cannabis, and if you accidentally (or intentionally) break these rules, you’ll come up against serious legal consequences.
In general, if you don’t know whether you can bring cannabis with you someplace, it’s best to assume that you can’t.
Still, Canada’s recent countrywide legalization of marijuana has opened the door to a more relaxed policy than what we’ve seen in the past. With the new adult-use laws in place, it’s currently legal to travel within the country carrying up to 30 grams of cannabis in your luggage or carry-on. This makes things a lot easier when travelling with cannabis in Canada, whether you’re driving or flying to your destination.
But travelling internationally is a whole different story. It’s still illegal to cross the border with marijuana, whether you’re entering or exiting the country.
“Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis into Canada is illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad,” warns the government webpage on travelling with cannabis. The site offers similar warnings about leaving the country with cannabis. Even if you’re travelling from or to a country (or state) that has legal marijuana, transporting it across the border is illegal.
This is the law regardless of whether your cannabis is for medical or recreational use.
Elevate Before You Take Flight
Still feeling confused? Don’t worry. To help you out with the new cannabis rules, some Canadian airports are adding a few new features to educate and accommodate travelling cannabis consumers.
In Vancouver, for example, travellers can now enjoy pre-flight marijuana at the airport before they take off. The Vancouver airport has added cannabis as an approved substance for its smoking section. Now, like tobacco smokers, cannabis consumers can use the smoking section—outside the building itself, but on the airport property.
“Smoking and vaping of cannabis is permitted on airport property in designated areas only—outside the terminal building in clearly marked areas,” as stated on the airport website.
Now cannabis-consuming travellers can use up the last of their marijuana before embarking on their flight. So, while you can’t bring your stash with you on your international trips, at least you can medicate for the journey.
That’s Not a Free Marijuana Bin
In Toronto, the airport is trying to help out cannabis-consuming passengers by adding a bin where you can throw out your cannabis before your flight. The bin, which is just a small open trash can, sits under a sign, which warns people that it’s still illegal to take marijuana across the borders. And it asks passengers to “dispose of your cannabis here before proceeding.”
We’re not sure how many people are actually using the bin to throw away good cannabis, but it does offer an option of last resort if you realize you can’t bring your marijuana with you when you’re already in line for airport security.
But be forewarned: Don’t take anything out of the bin. Some on the internet are now joking that it’s a “take a doobie, leave a doobie bin.”
This would be a great way to relax before your flight, but it isn’t the case. Greater Toronto Airport Authority spokesperson Robin Smith clarified the airport’s position saying, “‘Free weed’ is resoundingly incorrect, and I think that’s putting it mildly. Once something goes into the container, it doesn’t come out.”
With these additions, cannabis is becoming a more normalized part of air travel in Canada. Maybe sometime in the future, people will be able to go wherever they want with their cannabis. But for now, stick to travel within the country—and don’t bring more than 30 grams.
Photo credit: jeshoots.com