The nice thing about recreational legalization in Canada is it happened everywhere all at once, unlike the United States. While several states have passed medical and/or recreational legalization, cannabis is still illegal under U.S. federal law. It’s against the law to take cannabis across Canada’s borders, but adults can possess and travel with up to 30 grams anywhere within the country — that includes airplanes.
The federal Cannabis Act sets out laws around production, distribution and sale, but rules around smoking in public and the legal age of consumption vary by province and territory. Here are a few things to know about travelling within Canada with cannabis.
Canadians can fly domestically with weed
Travellers are free to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent on domestic flights packed in carry-on or checked baggage.
Keep in mind that cannabis oil is subject to the same regulations as any liquids on flights — keep it under 100 mL and put it in a clear plastic bag.
The rules around smoking haven’t changed: You can’t smoke or vape tobacco, cannabis or any other substance on flights.
Remember: flights can divert to the U.S.
An extreme weather event or other emergencies might require a domestic flight to divert to and land at a U.S. airport, Air Canada warns. In that case, you could be refused entry into the U.S. and risk criminal charges or a lifetime ban from the country.
Pack light, pack tight
Pack cannabis in a sealed container and throw it in a bag to ensure you don’t open your suitcase to find a messy green surprise.
Rules around the maximum amount an individual can carry on their person don’t change once you’re in the air — you can only take up to 30 grams with you, no matter where you’re going within Canada.
You can’t smoke everywhere
While provinces such as Ontario and British Columbia allow cannabis to be smoked in many of the same public places as tobacco, others such as Saskatchewan and New Brunswick only allow it in private residences.
Make sure you check the laws in the province or territory you’re travelling to before you leave. Keep in mind that laws also vary between municipalities.
Be extra careful if you’re 18 years old
Quebec and Alberta are the only provinces where the legal age for cannabis is 18, not 19, which means a legal joint you bring from home could land you in trouble once you touch down.
Don’t bring it in, don’t take it out
If you’re leaving or entering Canada, the rules are pretty simple.
“The legalization of cannabis in Canada did not change Canada’s border rules,” according to the Government of Canada’s website. “Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis across Canada’s international borders is illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad.”
That goes both ways: Even if you’re coming from a U.S. state where cannabis is legal, you’re not allowed to bring any product with you when you return to Canada.
Canadians crossing the U.S. border have already been hit with lifetime entry bans for admitting to prior cannabis use (pot-related charges and convictions could also render visitors inadmissible). If caught with weed in your possession, “You can expect legal prosecution and fines, and possibly jail time,” Canada’s government guide says.
So while travelling with cannabis is legal within Canada, some might want to consider leaving leaving it at home and buying some legal product at your destination. Support local businesses, and don’t risk legal consequences. A win-win.