Dear Herb: How do I legally transport weed in my car?
As usual, the law varies between Canada's different provinces and territories
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/12/2018 (1513 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Dear Herb: How am I supposed to legally transport weed in my car? — Road Tripper
Dear Road Tripper: Thanks for asking. I addressed this in a February edition of Dear Herb, but we’re due for a post-legalization update.
As with so many issues surrounding legalization here in Canada, it depends on where you live — the federal Cannabis Act doesn’t address the issue of transporting cannabis in a vehicle, so it’s up to provincial and territorial governments. The overarching theme across those different legal jurisdictions is this: Like alcohol, cannabis should never be in reach of a vehicle’s driver or passengers. Some provinces and territories allow cannabis to be within reach if it’s still sealed in the original container.
Remember, possession of illicit cannabis is always illegal under the Cannabis Act. Even with legal weed, it’s against the law to possess more than 30 grams in a public place (there’s an exception for registered medical cannabis users).
No provincial laws permit the consumption of cannabis in a vehicle, although a few make a special exception for motor homes or boats that are being used as a dwelling. And, of course, cannabis-impaired driving is against the law.
Below is an up-to-date overview of provincial and territorial laws regarding transporting cannabis in a vehicle, with links to the appropriate legislation:
In Alberta, the government advises that cannabis in a car "must be secured in closed packaging and not within reach of any occupants." The relevant Alberta law doesn’t say much else on the topic, other than creating an exception for "common carriers" like delivery businesses who may be transporting cannabis from one place to another.
British Columbia’s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act makes it illegal for an adult to operate a vehicle — moving or stationary — with cannabis in it, unless the cannabis is still sealed in its original package, or is "not readily accessible to the driver" or passengers. This also applies to off-road vehicles like ATVs, as well as bicycles and trains. Like Alberta’s law, there’s an exception for common carriers and certain people who may be federally authorized to conduct cannabis-related activities.
Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act also specifies that cannabis has to be inaccessible to anyone in a vehicle, and whoever wrote the law was kind enough to spell out exactly what "inaccessible" means. Transporting cannabis in a vehicle is allowed if "the cannabis is stored in the trunk, an exterior compartment on the vehicle or another space designed for the carriage of goods or baggage that is not readily accessible to any person in the motor vehicle." If your vehicle doesn’t have a completely enclosed trunk (like an SUV, a pickup truck or a hatchback) the cannabis can be legally stored behind the back seat.
Oddly enough, New Brunswick’s Cannabis Control Act and associated regulations don’t specify how cannabis should or shouldn’t be transported in a vehicle, although the law does say that a taxi driver can’t transport cannabis "unless the cannabis is in the possession of a passenger." In the absence of a clear law, I’d recommend that New Brunswickers who are transporting weed in a vehicle keep it out of reach, and ideally in a closed package.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, you can’t have cannabis in a vehicle (including a boat) unless its sealed in the original packaging or "not otherwise readily available" to anyone in the vehicle. There’s an exception for vehicles that serve as a dwelling, and Newfoundlanders can legally carry cannabis on their person if they’re being transported in a bus or a taxi.
The government of the Northwest Territories advises Northwest Territorians transporting weed in a vehicle to keep it "in closed packaging and not within reach of the vehicle driver or occupants." NWT law specifies that you can’t open a container of cannabis in a vehicle.
Nova Scotia tells cannabis consumers that the rules for vehicular cannabis transportation are "the same as alcohol. Cannabis must be in a closed, sealed package and out of reach from anyone in the vehicle." The province’s Cannabis Control Act specifies that "vehicle" includes boats.
Nunavut’s Cannabis Statutes Amendment Act allows marijuana to be transported in a vehicle if it’s "packed in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to any person in or on the vehicle," or if it’s sealed in its original container. Passengers in a vehicle for hire can legally keep cannabis in their personal possession.
In Ontario, the Cannabis Control Act says cannabis can be transported in a vehicle or boat as long as it’s sealed in the original container or "is packed in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle or boat."
On Prince Edward Island, provincial law specifies that cannabis can be transported in a vehicle if it’s in sealed in the original package or "packed in a container that is fastened closed and is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle or boat." It’s also acceptable to transport cannabis in a vehicle that’s used as a home, or as a passenger on a bus or taxi.
Quebec’s Cannabis Regulation Act deals with the transport of cannabis for commercial purposes (like shipping to or from a store), but makes no mention of transporting personal cannabis in a vehicle. The province’s Highway Safety Code likewise makes no mention of transporting cannabis in a vehicle.
Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act allows Saskatchewanians to transport cannabis in a vehicle "for the purpose of transporting the cannabis from the place at which it was lawfully obtained to a place where it may be lawfully had, kept or consumed or from that place to another place where it may be lawfully had, kept or consumed." (In other words, from the store to your house, or from house to house.)
Last of all, Yukon law permits cannabis to be trasnported in a vehicle if it’s "in a closed container" and "inaccessible to all persons in the vehicle." "Inaccessible," according to territorial law, means "situated in the vehicle so that it is not readily available to the persons in it."
Got a question about cannabis? Herb answers your questions about legal consumption and growing, the law, etiquette — you name it, he’ll look into it.
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