Travelling with Cannabis
February 3, 2019
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) states on their website:
“If you are travelling with medical marijuana, be prepared to show medical documentation. In airports where police are present, they will be called to verify your documents.”
Medicine from a licensed producer – you may also be required to bring prescription documentation, a sales receipt, and have your medical prescription label on your bottles to prove your medicine came from from a legal source.
Make sure to keep your medicine in its original packaging, and pack it alongside its documentation in your carry-on luggage for easy access (and to prevent K9 units from flagging your checked baggage and causing further delays).
It’s generally recommended that you contact the airport directly, as well as the airline on which you’re flying, to let them know ahead of time that you’ll be travelling with medical cannabis. Give at least one to two weeks lead time, as they may not have had such a situation yet and might need time to establish procedures in line with CATSA standards. They may also inform you of additional requirements or policies to which you’ll need to adhere, so the more time you both have to get prepared the better.
When the day comes for your flight, you already know they’ll require additional screening. So save yourself, your fellow travellers, and the airport security staff some time by letting the screening agents know as you approach them that your luggage contains medical cannabis and that you’ll require private screening.
In the private screening area you’ll be asked to present relevant documentation, which they will verify with a police officer. If no police officers are stationed or present at the airport you may have to wait for an officer to be called in—some cannabis-bearing travellers have registered complaints with CATSA for long wait times when officers aren’t available, so plan on arriving one or two hours earlier than you would for security checks if you were travelling without cannabis.
Be aware of limitations
In or outside the context of flying, ACMPR licensees have a 30-day carry limit that must be adhered to while flying, regardless of the duration of travel.
Cannabis should generally only be brought on domestic flights. Cannabis law in foreign countries varies greatly, with extremely severe punishments in some jurisdictions for simple possession and consumption. Even when travelling to countries with permissive cannabis laws, Canada’s export laws prohibit taking cannabis out of the country without strictly regulated licenses and permits.