Cannabis Canada – what you need to know when travelling by road, rail, or air

It's time to start thinking about taking a winter vacation – whether by road, rail, or air. If you are thinking of adding cannabis to your packing list, then there are a few ins and outs, and dos and don'ts that you need to be informed of around Canada’s cannabis travel laws.

Travelling out of Canada

Even though cannabis use is legal for adults in Canada, it is illegal to take any amount of cannabis, in any form, across the Canadian border when travelling internationally. This applies to any country you may be travelling to, whether cannabis is legal there or not.

Cannabis is still illegal in the majority of countries across the globe, and if caught with it in your possession while travelling internationally, you are likely to face serious criminal penalties - at home and abroad. The signage at airports and border crossings reminds travellers that it is illegal to cross international borders with cannabis.

If you happen to be travelling from Vancouver Airport, there is a designated smoking area outside the terminal building where you are permitted to smoke and vape cannabis. Pierre Elliott Trudeau in Montreal, and Lester B. Pearson in Toronto, however, have indicated no intention to provide travellers with areas in which to smoke or vape cannabis in the near future.

Travelling in and around the U.S.

Recreational cannabis is only legal in 11 U.S. States to adults over the age of 21 but is still illegal under U.S. federal laws. Cannabis Canada travel laws issue a strong warning: Do not attempt to travel across the Canada – U.S. border with any amount of cannabis, in any form.

Travelling within Canada

By Air - After the legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2018, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) made some changes to its regulations. As long as you are flying within Canada, adults are permitted to bring a legal amount of 30g or less. It can be checked in or brought along as part of your carry-on luggage. Cannabis oil is subject to the liquid restrictions - 100mL (3.4 oz.) or smaller containers are permitted in carry-on luggage.

It is also important to know emergency landings can happen and if you have cannabis on you, you may face penalties. This is what happened on Air Canada flight AC125 from Seattle to Vancouver on November 3, 2019. Per Air Canada, “If you are refused entry into a country because you have cannabis in your possession, you alone will be responsible for the consequences, including for payment of your return trip home.” During RCU’s recent survey on cannabis and travel, 48% did not know they could be held liable.

By Rail - Canada’s Via Rail now allows passengers to carry the legal limit of cannabis in checked bags and carry-on luggage but reserves the right to examine baggage. Smoking and vaping, however, remain prohibited on trains and in all stations.

By Road – According to Greyhound representative Crystal Booker, if you are travelling cross country by bus, adult passengers are allowed to carry the legal amount of cannabis on domestic trips in ‘checked luggage under coach.’

By Car – When travelling by car, as a general rule, cannabis must remain sealed in its original packaging and out of reach of anyone in the vehicle. But Manitoba, for example, is even stricter, specifying that cannabis must be transported in the vehicle’s trunk, or in an external compartment. P.E.I. however, allows for the transportation of cannabis in open packaging, provided it is out of reach of the driver or passengers. Fines for violations also vary from province to province.

Driving while under the influence of cannabis is strictly illegal across the country and could lead to a fine or possible jail time.

P.S. The legal age for cannabis use in Canada varies across the provinces and territories, so, before you travel by road, rail,  or air, double-check that you will be legal on arrival at your destination of choice.

Travelling back into Canada

The same Canada cannabis laws apply on entering the country as for exiting the country. If you are entering Canada and have cannabis with you in any form, you must declare it to the Canada Border Services Agency. Not declaring cannabis in your possession at the Canadian border is a serious criminal offence. You could be arrested and prosecuted.

RCU educates and empowers consumers to make responsible cannabis choices and informed decisions - at work, at play or when travelling.

Contact us to learn more.

Visit Don’tBeSorry, to educate yourself in the provincial and federal laws regarding cannabis use in Canada and how they will impact you.

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