Dear Herb: How do I bring cannabis on an airplane without breaking the law?

Travelling for the holidays? You can bring your weed on a Canadian domestic flight, if you follow the rules


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Dear Herb: How should I carry weed in my baggage on a domestic Canadian flight? — Ready for Takeoff

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/12/2018 (1506 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dear Herb: How should I carry weed in my baggage on a domestic Canadian flight? — Ready for Takeoff

Dear Takeoff: We looked at this question about a year ago, but it’s time for an update now that legalization has reached its cruising altitude.

Canadian adults can absolutely travel with cannabis on an airplane without breaking any laws, but on domestic flights only. If your flight crosses any international borders, taking cannabis across those borders could be a serious crime — even if you’re flying to another place where cannabis is legal in some form, like Colorado or Washington.

Herb answers your questions about legal consumption and growing, the law, etiquette — you name it, he'll look into it.

To reiterate: Do not take cannabis on international flights out of Canada, or try to bring cannabis into Canada on an international flight, under any circumstances.

As for domestic Canadian flights, travellers with cannabis should follow these cannabis guidelines provided by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the federal agency responsible for air passenger screening:

  • Cannabis is permitted in both carry-on and checked baggage.
  • You can only carry up to 30 grams of cannabis on an airplane, since you can only carry up to 30 grams in public.
  • If you’re a federally registered medical cannabis user, you can carry more than 30 grams if your medical documentation says you can.
  • Cannabis oil is allowed on an aircraft, but is subject to CATSA’s restrictions on liquids in carry-on baggage: No more than 100 ml of cannabis oil is permitted in a carry-on.

Carrying more than the legal limit of cannabis on a Canadian flight without valid medical authorization could get you in trouble with the law. CATSA warns that if they find more than 30 grams in someone’s baggage, “protocol requires us to notify the police. This could lead to charges and prosecution.”

(Under the federal Cannabis Act, the penalties for possessing more than 30 grams of dried cannabis in a public place are the same as the penalties for possessing illicit cannabis, starting with a ticket for possession of less than 50 grams and ranging all the way up to serious prison time.)

Smoking or vaping cannabis on a plane in Canada, is off limits, of course. But in at least one Canadian airport — the Vancouver International Airport — it’s perfectly legal to smoke a joint or have a vape in a designated smoking area outside the terminal before you go through security.

The majority of airports in Canada don’t allow cannabis use on the premises, though. Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, for example, is clear that smoking and vaping weed is completely prohibited, and Montreal’s airport authority takes the same stance.

If you’re going to use cannabis before your flight, use it wisely. Airlines can and do refuse service to customers who are clearly intoxicated.

Finally, be sure to check the minimum legal age for possessing cannabis at your Canadian destination. An 18-year-old Albertan could board a flight to Ontario with cannabis, step off the plane, and immediately be in violation of Ontario law, which sets the minimum age for possession at 19.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority allows passengers on domestic Canadian filghts to carry up to 30 grams of cannabis in their baggage. (The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)

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.

First, please check this list of questions already answered by Herb. Then, email, or to submit anonymously, fill out the form below. Please include an email address if you’d like to be notified when Herb answers your question:  


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