Ever since legalization, one of the biggest topics being discussed has been the question of travelling with cannabis: how much can I carry? How does legalization in Canada change how we travel over borders to international countries and to our American neighbors?
So, to clear the air (no pun intended), let’s address the easy stuff: you’re allowed to carry up to 30g of dried cannabis in a “public space”. Note that “public space” includes your personal vehicle.
In your car, it has to be out of sight, stored in a fastened container and well out of reach of the driver. In general, if you’re caught out in public with more than 30g, you can face up to five years in prison. In some provinces (like British Columbia) this can ratchet up to heavy fines – if you’re caught with open weed, the first offence is a fine up to $5,000, up to three months jail time, or both. However, most provinces only expect ticketing as the usual consequence, rather than time in the slammer.
We’ve summarized some healthy do’s and don’ts as it pertains to travel below. Keep in mind that for those using cannabis for medicinal purposes, different rules apply – for instance, if you’re flying and have a medicinal license, the user is protected under the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). Canada has even proposed an exception for medical cannabis passengers in cars and other vehicles, suggesting that as long as it isn’t smoked and consumed in a non-traditional way, then it is admissible for them to have.
Without further ado!
… Only carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis. It’s also all that you can buy at any one time. For medicinal users, it can be higher, but only with proper accreditation. In New Brunswick, this number
… Carry medicinal documentation if you have any. If you’re flying within Canada, you can be more open about it, but try to show up early, keep your cannabis and accompanying products wrapped in odour-free packaging and/or cleaned, and stowed in your carry-on luggage. Green Relief has a handy guide disclosing how to travel responsibly with medicinal cannabis, and other tips, including what to do when traveling outside the country and how to plan with local dispensaries ahead of time.
… Disclose and comply with border agents. For those conducting business within the United States, they generally aren’t admissible. It must be kept within legalized countries. Same goes for people with admitted addiction histories and marijuana-related drug charges.
… Smoke while driving. Just like drinking alcohol, this applies to both passengers and driver. In Ontario, the recent Bill 36 just defined that no cannabis can be consumed if the person is driving or has care or control of the vehicle; or the person is a passenger in a vehicle or boat that is being driven by another person or that is under the care or control of another person. This applies whether it is in motion or not. So, like getting a bottle of wine from the LCBO, you’d be able to have an unopened bag of weed from the cannabis store in the front seat – as long as it isn’t consumed in the vehicle. And, as with alcohol, you won’t be allowed to have it open in your parked vehicle either, even if you’re sitting in the backseat.
… Assume that just because one place you’re entering or leaving is legalized doesn’t mean that their borders will still take in people with recreational cannabis meeting the carry limit. Even in more liberal states, a traveler found carrying marijuana at the border is subject to referral for prosecution by federal, state or local authorities. The US government – who once said that any entering Canadians caught with cannabis (or who admit to past history with that or any other illegal drug) could be served a lifetime ban from the US – has recently updated their border policy, with US Customs & Border Protections stating Canadians who work in legal weed “will generally be admissible to the US.”
… Purchase legally from a Canadian dispensary and then try to smuggle it back over the border. If you’re a visitor to Canada, the laws still apply back in your home state. Follow the rules, or you might end up like this guy.