Can You Fly With Weed in Canada?

Kush in bottle

In October 2018, the Canadian federal government made history by passing the Cannabis Act, which formally legalized the possession, cultivation and use of cannabis products and cannabis byproducts, aka weed. Since then, Canadian can fly with weed in Canada on domestic flights. However, Canadians cannot bring cannabis on any international flight, including those heading for US states where weed has been legalized.

How much weed can you travel with?

The possession of marijuana is legal throughout Canada, but there are strict limits on how much you can carry on domestic flights.

Personal, recreational use is limited to 30 grams of dried cannabis per individual. If you are found with more than the legal limit of 30 grams, the airport is required by law to contact the authorities, which can result in a fine or even jail time. 

If you use marijuana for medical reasons, you can travel with a 30-days supply based on your prescription (up to 150 grams) of dried cannabis, but you must be able to provide airport security with the appropriate medical documentation. You can either pack it in your carry-on or in your checked bag. 

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Flying with weed in Canada: the fine print

There are a few other important points to keep in mind if you’re flying with weed in Canada.

For starters, the legal age of consumption varies from province to province. You will need to keep that in mind if you’re going to be crossing provincial borders. Check ahead to make sure you fully understand the laws surrounding cannabis use where you’re going. 

In most cases, the legal age of cannabis consumption is the same as the legal drinking age. The only exception is Quebec. In la belle province, the legal drinking age is 18 but the legal age to purchase cannabis products is 21. That wasn’t the case when the federal law first passed. If you’re unsure it’s a good idea to double-check in case anything has changed. 

You should also make sure that the weed you’re purchasing and travelling with was obtained legally. There are literally thousands of legal cannabis retailers spread out across the country, and you can even use your credit card to buy it online, so as long as you’re of legal age and you purchase it from a licensed retailer in your province.

Legally purchased cannabis is packaged like this:

  • In a child-resistant container that displays the standard cannabis symbol along with a yellow health warning box
  • With an excise stamp indicating the province or territory that the weed was purchased in. 

Also, keep in mind that the consumption of marijuana on airport grounds is still mostly illegal. That goes got the designated smoking section, too. If you are using marijuana on airport grounds for medical reasons, then you may be granted an exception. However, you’ll want to check ahead and keep your prescription handy. 

Flying internationally with weed

Crossing international borders with marijuana is still illegal and will result in detainment and, possibly, charges of trafficking.

Travel insurance won’t help here, and this is true even if weed is legal at your destination, which can be a bit confusing if you’re going to the United States.

For instance, weed is legal in both British Columbia and Washington state. However, you can’t go between the two places with marijuana in your possession. This is because weed is only legal in certain states. It is not federally legal like it is here in Canada.

However, if you are of legal age, you can legally purchase weed in those states just like you can in Canada. 

Likewise, you can’t bring marijuana into Canada from somewhere else, even if it was obtained legally where you bought it. This includes medical marijuana and includes all cannabis products, including edibles, topical products and extracts.

If you do have marijuana in your possession you must declare it to the Canadian Border Services Agency. Failure to comply has serious repercussions and can result in you being arrested and prosecuted. 

There is one gray area here. What if your flight is rerouted? Let’s say you are flying from Alberta to Ontario with legally obtained weed and your flight gets rerouted through the United States for some reason. If that happens, you must contact the Canadian Embassy right away. The United States can deny you entry and authorities can detain you for possession. 

What are cannabis receptacles?

Say you arrive at the airport and find some weed in your pocket, or check the flight information and discover that your flight has been re-routed through the United States. If you have weed in your possession that you can’t take on the plane, what do you do with it? 

In the past, panicked travellers would resort to flushing it or nervously throwing it away in a regular garbage can. Nowadays, more Canadian airports are installing cannabis receptacles, or amnesty boxes, right before security checkpoints. 

Travellers can discreetly dispose of any substance that they can’t fly with before its detection. They are sealed boxes. This prevents anyone from peeking inside and removing anything. Authorities regularly come to empty the boxes and dispose of their contents, no questions asked. 

Emma Martin writes about the curiosities of finance. Her obsession with cryptocurrency keeps her writing most days about the best exchanges and wallets, and the wild world of NFTs. Her favourite exchange right now is Bitbuy. Emma also invests in the stock market using Wealthsimple Trade.