How cannabis legalization will affect travel within Canada
It’s illegal to cross the Canadian border when in possession of cannabis. Even after the country passed laws that eventually legalize recreational marijuana, it remains illegal to either enter or leave Canada with cannabis (of course, it remains illegal in the United States as well), even if it’s for medical purposes.
According to travel.gc.ca:
Under the Cannabis Act, the legalization of cannabis in Canada will not change Canada’s border rules. Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis into Canada will remain illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad.
But what about domestic travel within Canada?
A bus company, a rail line and an airline were all recently interviewed to understand the implications of travelling with cannabis within Canada once the Cannabis Act comes into effect on October 17.
Here’s all you need to know about how the Cannabis Act affects domestic travel.
As things stand for now, it seems you’ll be able to board a domestic commercial flight with your stash of weed, at least for now.
A Porter Airlines official said the airline was evaluating if there was a need to introduce new policies to regulate how passengers transport cannabis.
Porter said that things might change after the Cannabis Act comes into force but for now, the prohibition remains in place.
The airline prohibits passengers from transporting cannabis, with the only exception being medical marijuana, which is already well documented.
In a statement, Porter also reminds passengers that crossing the borders with cannabis can land them in big trouble and should be avoided completely.
“Regardless of whether you’re travelling to a country that legalizes cannabis or not, it’s important to note that there are no provisions for travelling internationally with cannabis. It’s illegal and will remain that way after October 17, even for medical cannabis.”
We still wait to see what other airlines have to say about this topic, but we are hopeful they will be on the same boat in this regard.
Via Rail says it’s taking steps to make sure that cannabis legalization for their company goes on smoothly.
According to Via rep Mylene Bélanger, Via has already put in place a multidisciplinary task force to understand the potential impact of weed legalization for the company. The task force will also make sure that the company is ready for the upcoming legalization of marijuana in the country.
Overall, the rail line doesn’t seem to be making any drastic changes that could affect customers experience as long as their behaviour in the train is within the confines of the law. Via Rail doesn’t search passengers or their belongings.
Bélanger says that the company will generally comply with all legislation regarding transportation of weed in public spaces.
According to Greyhound Communication Specialist Crystal Booker, the company will continue to prohibit the use of recreational marijuana in its buses and terminals, just the same way they prohibit alcohol consumption.
“Our employees will also be prohibited from using the substance because they are in safety-sensitive positions.”
Greyhound buses currently prohibit alcohol, regardless of whether it’s in carry-on bags or checked luggage, and will continue to do so for recreational marijuana as well.
The company searches luggage, but not every time and not for every route.
Passengers with medical cannabis will be exempted from this rule.
“We will adhere to the stipulations of the Cannabis Act as far as medical cannabis is concerned,” said Booker.
If you’re planning to carry your weed with you as you take a cross-Canada road trip, it’s important to note that the rules for travelling by car while in possession of marijuana vary widely from province to province.
It’s always a good idea to cross-check with provincial legislation before taking that road trip to avoid getting into a sticky situation.
You should also make sure to avoid driving if you plan to partake in a weed sesh during your road trip as, of course, that would constitute driving under the influence and your road trip will not go as planned.