Dear Herb: How do I mail cannabis without breaking the law?

Follow these simple rules to get your package of weed from point A to point B


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Dear Herb: I was trying to find a specific cannabis product for my mother who suffers with osteoporosis. We live in Nova Scotia, and the product was not available here.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/01/2019 (1464 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dear Herb: I was trying to find a specific cannabis product for my mother who suffers with osteoporosis. We live in Nova Scotia, and the product was not available here.

I bought it online in Ontario and will have my sister who lives there pick it up and mail it to me via Canada Post. I just want to make sure this is legal. — Posting an Osteoporosis Treatment

Dear POT: There’s absolutely nothing illegal about adults mailing cannabis from one province to another via Canada Post, as long as the cannabis in question is a legal product and not illicit cannabis. In your situation, you’re guaranteed it’s legal if you bought it from the official Ontario Cannabis Store website, which is currently the only source of government-regulated recreational cannabis in Ontario.

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

It would be illegal to mail legally purchased cannabis if the package contained more than 30 grams, the public possession limit for cannabis. It’s illegal to possess more than 30 grams of cannabis in public without a valid medical authorization. (Again, if you bought this cannabis through the OCS and had it shipped to your sister in Ontario, the package shouldn’t contain more than 30 grams. Licensed cannabis retailers will never sell more than 30 grams of dried cannabis at once, or the legal equivalent in an oil or capsule form.)

That said, Canada Post has some special guidelines for mailing legal cannabis. It’s supposed to be sealed in “odour-proof, tamper-proof and leak-proof inner and outer packaging,” as well as “anonymous outer packaging without any marking or advertising that indicates what’s in the package.”

As it happens, I’ve recently noticed that Canada Post offices in my area are selling scent-blocking packages next to the cash register. Coincidence? I think not.

What could happen if your stinky weed package isn’t wrapped in a smell-proof mailer? Are posties sniffing at packages to see if they pass the smell test? I emailed Canada Post for some more information.

“Canada Post does not randomly inspect packages,” wrote the Crown corporation’s media relations team.

“However, if there are any parcels that are identifiable as containing cannabis due to odour being emitted from the item or has cannabis imagery on the packaging, they will be removed from our delivery network and treated as non-mailable matter.”

Canada Post has the legal authority to inspect mail and open any packages (except letters) to see if they contain “non-mailable matter,” wrote the spokesperson.

To sum up, here are the best practices for mailing cannabis in Canada without violating the federal Cannabis Act or running afoul of Canada Post’s rules:

  • Only mail legal cannabis. (That could be cannabis purchased from a licensed retailer, or cannabis grown at home in accordance with the law.)
  • Never mail more than 30 grams at a time. (Carrying more than 30 grams of cannabis outside your home is illegal.)
  • Make sure the cannabis is contained in a smell-proof package. (Otherwise, Canada Post might not deliver it.)
  • Don’t mark the package with any indication that it contains cannabis.

Stick with those rules, and your cannabis package should be just fine.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Canada Post has specific guidelines for mailing cannabis, such as odour-proof packaging.

One final thought, POT: It sounds like you’re trying to find a cannabis product for medical purposes through Nova Scotia’s recreational cannabis stores, which didn’t have that product in stock. If your mother is looking for a specific kind of cannabis product to treat the symptoms of her osteoporosis, you might want to look into getting her a medical cannabis authorization.

Signing up through Health Canada’s medical cannabis regime requires a doctor’s approval, and involves navigating a bit of red tape. But once your mother is registered she’ll be able to order cannabis products directly from a specific licensed cannabis producer, rather than being limited to whatever’s in stock at recreational cannabis stores in Nova Scotia.

Happy mailing!

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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