Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the most up-to-date information about flying with cannabis.
With medical and recreational marijuana now legal in Canada, flying with weed is permitted on domestic flights.
Air travellers flying solely within Canada are able to carry, on their person or in their checked and/or carry-on luggage, up to 30 grams of the green stuff. The federal law applies to anyone of legal age in the province they’re travelling from and into and on all airlines offering domestic routes.
While the new regulations sound straightforward, travellers planning on taking their herb for a trip should be aware of certain situations that may arise and are encouraged to speak to their airline directly for specific carrier terms and conditions.
Now, let’s elevate our understanding of the new law.
Legal age varies
Part of Canada’s legalization strategy is that each province and territory gets to set their own legal age for possession and consumption of cannabis. And much like the drinking age, the legal age for handling marijuana differs from province to province.
At the moment, the legal age for cannabis in every province and territory is 19, except for Alberta and Quebec where it’s currently set at 18 (with discussions in Quebec ongoing about raising theirs to 21). Before packing your dime bags, it’s best to verify that you meet the legal age requirements of both the province or territory you are leaving and flying into, here.
As it stands, if you are an 18-year old Calgarian planning on flying to Vancouver for the weekend with pot, you can’t legally land in British Columbia, where the legal age for weed is 19. If Quebec raises their legal age to 21 and you are 19 (the legal age in Ontario) and flying from Toronto to Montreal with any amount of weed, you would be breaking the law.
Can I fly with weed to a U.S. state where it is legal?
Absolutely not. Federal U.S. law prohibits possession of cannabis in any form, for medicinal or recreational purposes, and even if you are flying on a non-stop flight from anywhere in Canada to say, Denver, Colorado, where weed has been legal for years, you are breaking federal laws, subject to punishment for possession and trafficking.
In addition, even admitting to using cannabis in the past or present to U.S. border officials could mean that you are denied entry to the U.S. Canadians travelling for reasons related to the cannabis industry may too be deemed inadmissible.
It is worth reminding travellers that carrying cannabis in any form into or out of Canada will remain a serious criminal offence – no matter how old you are or how much you are carrying. As the Government of Canada website clearly states, the legalization of cannabis in Canada did not change Canada’s border rules.
Our advice? Don’t travel with weed if you are under the legal age in either the province you are flying from or flying to, and never transport it into or out of Canada – period.
Are edibles allowed on domestic flights?
Right now, no. Health Canada, the federal department regulating legal cannabis, is taking extra time to develop regulations surrounding edibles, and that includes rules on travelling with them. For now, it’s just oils and the dried plant that’s allowed.
For those wanting to travel with cannabis oil, remember that the standard liquid restriction of 100 ml applies to all in-cabin goods, including your oil. If you are travelling with more than 100 ml, pack your cannabis oil in your checked luggage.
Although rare, there are instances when a flight must deviate from its intended route and land where it wasn’t planning on landing. The reasons can be weather related, mechanical malfunction or the more extreme shutting down of airspace. What would happen to a flight full of pot scheduled for travel within Canada that for whatever reason had to be diverted south of the border?
As Air Canada points out, in any such case, travellers possessing cannabis will be responsible for any consequences (whatever they may be), including for payment for a return trip home.
While some uncertainties linger, one thing is for sure; there are already a lot more ‘red-eye’ flights at all hours of the day within Canada. And as with any new legislation, it will be a work in progress, and it’s important to understand that laws surrounding travel with marijuana in Canada are subject to change and fine-tuning.
For the most up-to-date information about the carriage of medicinal or recreational marijuana on flights, please visit the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority website.