Cannabis and Travel

Travellers who can bring their Medical Cannabis on board major airlines, with the proper documentation, is an increasing trend in Canada.  Patients are legally allowed to travel anywhere in Canada with their Medical Cannabis but are not permitted to cross any border with it.

To avoid issues while boarding be sure you have the product in its original container, with both the prescription label and the patient’s name on it.  If you have a patient card from the Licensed Producer bring it along with the receipt of purchase.  Also bring a copy of your prescription, if you have this.

Lift recommends you notify both the airport and airline that you are bringing your Medical Cannabis ahead of time.  Get there early, as there may be additional security screening when boarding.  If there are no police officers present, the airline may need time to request an officer to the scene.

Currently, in Canada, it is prohibited to smoke or vape on the plane, like tobacco.  Most airports are also smoke-free, making it difficult to medicate once you have arrived.  Oils and tinctures are accepted, as travellers are allowed liquids in amounts up to 100mL.  Be sure the bottles are sealed, inside a plastic resealable bag and in your carry-on baggage.

Bringing edibles and topicals on board is more complicated because these products are not yet regulated by the federal government.  If you must bring these types of products aboard consider taking off the labels beforehand, at your own risk.  Keep in mind, airlines do have intoxication policies and flights can be grounded if it is deemed necessary.

It is NOT recommended that individuals take Cannabis, medical or recreational on any international flights because Cannabis laws vary from country to country.  Canada’s export laws prohibit taking Cannabis out of the country and should only be brought on domestic flights.

Direct from the Government of Canada website: ‘Taking marijuana and Cannabis products across the border, even if you are authorized to possess or produce marijuana for medical purposes in Canada, is a serious criminal offence. It will remain a serious criminal offence under the proposed Cannabis Act. If you transport marijuana or Cannabis products across the border, even to jurisdictions that have legalized Cannabis, you could face prosecution.’

Severe penalties do exist for using or smuggling illegal drugs, worldwide.  If arrested in a foreign country, let the arresting authorities know right away that you want to notify the Canadian Consular officials.  Most countries have a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal drugs, so it is not recommended you travel with Cannabis outside of Canada.

Consider travelling to Cannabis-friendly countries such as Jamaica, Spain, the Netherlands and some states in the USA such as Washington and Colorado.  Don’t risk taking Cannabis on board when you could purchase it when you arrive at your destination.  Use your common sense and abide by all laws of the land, like public consumption rules and transport restrictions.

Once recreational Cannabis becomes legal in Canada later this year, the same rules should still apply.  You will be able to travel on domestic flights, on buses and trains with up to 30 grams of dried Cannabis or the equivalent in non-dried form for recreational purposes.  Consume Cannabis with caution while on vacation, particularly outside of Canada.


Lift, CATSA, Government of Canada, and Higher Perspectives.

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