So you’re leaving on vacation tomorrow and you’re just a little bit anxious. Have you packed enough underwear, your bathing suit, a toothbrush? You sit down to relax and take a tiny hit of a joint, and without thinking about it you toss your stash into your carry-on bag sitting by the front door. Hey, it’s legal now, right? Might as well take it with you before it gets stale. Well, you might want to reconsider your choice. While recreational marijuana is permitted within limits in Canada, it isn’t quite the free-for-all some might expect. Like most things surrounding recreational pot these days, flying with marijuana is very nuanced.
Crossing the Border
The most glaring restriction is flying internationally while carrying. Should you find yourself at the airport with a baggy, the best case scenario is being held back during your customs screening. You might just be “reminded” that leaving Canada with any amount of marijuana is illegal. This applies to both medical and recreational weed. The worst case scenario, is legal action including criminal prosecution and jail time. Health Canada has the authority to issue permits and exemptions, but will only do so in limited circumstances. No, they won’t issue a permit because you’re going to see a Fish concert.
Know Your Limits
Within Canada, if you are in possession of marijuana you can still fly. Provided your quantity is within legal limits, you shouldn’t have an issue. CATSA, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, reminds us that the legal limit for recreational possession is 30 grams of flower. If you are travelling with an amount greater than that you’ll be asked to provide evidence and the details of your medical prescription. With that kind of proof, you’re allowed to carry a month’s supply of your daily prescribed amount. Without evidence, you’ll likely end up in the slammer. Cannabis oil and extract products are subject to a 100 millilitre limit, just like carrying any other liquid on flights. And as of writing, don’t forget that edibles are still illegal in any quantity in Canada, so leave your brownies at home.
As far as the airlines are concerned, it’s entirely up to each passenger to make appropriate choices. Neither Westjet nor Air Canada have any special restrictions, other than the obvious fact that it is illegal to smoke or vape any substance on flights. Beyond that, Westjet suggests allowing an extra 30 minutes for additional screening by security. Air Canada goes one step further and warns travellers that even domestic flights can end up south of the border. “Unforeseen situations may arise…that require a domestic flight to divert to a U.S. airport.”
Careful with CBD
Even crossing international borders with CBD is a bit murky. The FDA has removed some CBD products from Schedule 1 (illegal, like heroin and MDMA) classification, but not all of them. If the product contains less than 0.1 percent of THC and has been approved by the FDA, it’s clear sailing. But failing either of those two criteria means what you’ve got in your pocket is still Schedule 1, and you’ll go to jail for it.