Dear Herb: I want to take cannabis on a Canadian flight. Does it need to be in the original container?
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority clarifies the rules around how to carry weed on an airplane
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/09/2019 (1240 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Dear Herb: When I’m transporting weed on plane, and staying in Canada, do I need to keep it in the container it was purchased in?
I want to know if I can store my cannabis in bags to save on packing space. — Cannabis Carry-On
Dear Carry-On: Thanks for your letter.
For readers unfamiliar with the ins and outs of bringing cannabis on an aircraft in Canada, you’ll find answers in this previous edition of Dear Herb. Here’s a quick refresher on the basic rules:
- Canadians can only bring cannabis on domestic flights — it’s illegal to bring cannabis over an international border, even to a jurisdiction where cannabis has been legalized or decriminalized.
- Only 30 grams of cannabis, or the legal equivalent, can be carried on an aircraft. If you have more than 30 grams of cannabis, you’ll need the appropriate medical documentation to prove you’re authorized to possess it.
- For cannabis oils, the carry-on limit is 100 ml.
Now to your question: If you’re flying on a domestic Canadian flight, you and your baggage will be screened by security screeners operating under the authority of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).
The CATSA website doesn’t explicitly specify how cannabis should be packaged for a flight, and only references the 30-gram limit. So I put your question to CATSA, and got a definitive response:
“Legal amounts of cannabis is a permitted item, and as (with) any permitted item, there (is) no specific way of packaging it,” wrote a CATSA spokesperson by email. “Cannabis doesn’t need to be in the original purchase container.”
There’s your answer, Carry-On — CATSA doesn’t care whether your cannabis is packaged in the bulky original container or in a compact sandwich bag, as long as you abide by the possession limits. That’s important for Canadians who grow their own cannabis legally at home, since homegrown weed doesn’t come with a container.
If you are travelling with store-bought cannabis, I think you could potentially save yourself some hassle by keeping your cannabis in the original container when you pass through airport security. That’s because legal cannabis packaging in Canada lists the net weight of the product inside, which is a quick and easy way for an airport security screener to determine that a passenger is within the 30-gram cannabis possession limit.
But if you want to swap your cannabis into plastic bags to save on suitcase space, though, that’s perfectly permissible as far as CATSA is concerned. You could even bring the original receipt for the cannabis to show in case you’re questioned about how much you’re carrying.
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