Cannabis and Travel

Cannabis and Travel: What You Need to Know

Taking a trip is an exciting event. Not only is there the anticipation of taking time away from the place you see every day, but the planning of your trip can also be just as exciting as the trip itself.

After being unable to travel last year, many people are looking forward to finally getting out, whether that be soon or once more places in the world have opened up.

But, if you are a marijuana user, planning a trip where you smoke freely can be difficult. It presents an additional layer of considerations you need to make when making travel and lodging plans. Plus, you’ll need to carefully pack any cannabis items you are planning to take with you.

Below, we break down what you need to know about traveling and cannabis both in Canada and outside of it. Plus, get tips on how to pack appropriately for your trip and what cannabis products you may want to take with you.

1. Traveling in Canada

If you are only planning to travel inside Canada, travel, and cannabis are much easier than if you want to take an international trip. That’s due, in large part, to the fact that cannabis was legalized on a federal level in 2019.

Let’s take a look at the rules and restrictions you need to know before traveling inside Canada’s borders but outside your home province.

Using Cannabis in Your Canadian Travels

Though cannabis use is legal across the country, each province has its laws regarding what age you can have to be allowed to use marijuana products; where, how, and if they can be used in public, and even how much you can carry on you. 

Some territories, for example, allow cannabis use in all areas where smoking cigarettes are allowed. Others may only allow cannabis use in designated areas. And even others still may not allow cannabis use at all in public but do allow it to be used on private property and residences. This is important to know so you don’t get in trouble lighting up where you shouldn’t.

So, before you hit the road, be sure to research the cannabis laws for the specific province or territory you are planning to visit. Keep in mind; they can change, so check them before you go and when you get there.

Using Cannabis in Your Canadian Travels

Lodging and Cannabis in Canada

Finding the perfect place to stay is another fun part of any trip. You may be looking forward to staying in a hotel with amenities you can use to treat yourself, or a bed and breakfast that provides a comfy, relaxing atmosphere, or even a private rental that allows you to live the high life for a while. Wherever you plan to stay, it is also essential to know what type of cannabis is permitted.

Hotel chains have different rules in addressing cannabis use in their rooms and lobbies. Some have decided to block off sections of the hotel specifically for smokes (cigarette and cannabis alike). Others may have public, designated areas where guests can smoke. Others do not allow cannabis use at all. Before you book your stay, browse the hotel website or contact them directly to ask what their rules around cannabis use in their hotel are.

When it comes to private rentals such as those booked on Airbnb, the decision on the use of cannabis on the property is primarily left up to the owners. You can see whether the hosts have marked their properties as cannabis-friendly or not. But, like with a hotel, it’s better to ask them directly what their policy is before you make your reservation, so there will be no surprises.

Flying With Cannabis in Canada

If you are traveling to your chosen destination by plane, we have good news. Flying with weed in Canada is pretty straightforward. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) allows for passengers to possess a maximum of 30 grams of recreational dried cannabis while on a flight. But, you must only be traveling within Canada.

You can either put your cannabis in a checked bag or bring it with you as part of your carry-on luggage. Just be sure you are of age to possess it, both where you are leaving from and where you are going, and that the amount in your possession is under the limit.

The way you pack your cannabis buds for a flight is primarily up to you. The CATSA does not require it to be in a specific bag or even a resealable bag. But, you’ll likely want to keep it in a sealed, airtight bag to help keep it fresh while traveling.

You can also carry other cannabis products such as cannabis oil with you. But if they are in your carry-on luggage, these must follow current restrictions on liquid products. Mainly, your bottle of cannabis oil needs to be 100 ml or less.

When flying with cannabis, keep in mind:

  • If you are on a domestic flight, there may be times when a domestic flight has to divert to an airport in the United States, where cannabis possession is illegal. If you are planning to fly close to the border, maybe rethink flying with cannabis.
  • Though you should not encounter any problems traveling with cannabis, you may want to arrive at the airport at least 30 minutes earlier than planned to allow time for questions, should they be asked.

Flying With Cannabis in Canada

Driving in Canada With Cannabis

If you plan to drive to your chosen destination, there are other rules to consider before driving off.

As we mentioned earlier, every province and territory has its laws and restrictions on cannabis. That includes regulations on how people can transport cannabis through their area. Ontario, for example, requires cannabis to be in its original package and unopened and kept where you and any passenger can’t reach it while traveling.

Again, you will need to research the travel restrictions each territory and province has before you start your road trip. To be safe, people have kept cannabis in the original package, with a receipt, and in the trunk instead of out in the open.

Keep in mind driving under the influence is illegal in all of Canada’s provinces and territories. That includes driving under the influence of cannabis. Before your trip, don’t use any cannabis products and don’t use any while you go.

2. Traveling Internationally With Cannabis

Perhaps it is now safe for you to travel a little further. You are ready to get out of Canada entirely. If your planned trips take you out of the country, the rules are quite simple: you cannot travel with cannabis internationally. As they say, “don’t bring it in and don’t take it out.”

Many countries have not yet legalized marijuana, and traveling with it is illegal. In places where cannabis is legal, they still do not allow travelers to arrive with any amount of cannabis in their possession. Doing so can result in fines, being denied entry to the country, and other penalties.

This includes driving across the border with cannabis. You will likely be denied entry if cannabis is found in your possession as you try to cross from Canada to the United States.

Even though you cannot travel internationally with your stash of cannabis, there are options. Some places allow travelers to purchase marijuana from local dispensaries once they arrive. If this is an appealing option for you, you’ll still want to ensure you are well versed in the laws in the specific country and city you are visiting.

Being able to purchase cannabis products once you’ve reached your destination can be quite beneficial. You will:

  • Have a fresher product (hopefully) than if you carried your own.
  • Have access to strains and products not available in your area, allowing you to experience new products.
  • Have the chance to meet new people in your temporary home.

Tips for Traveling With Cannabis

3. Tips for Traveling With Cannabis

So, you’ve decided to stay in Canada for your trip. Great! Now, how should you pack your product? Here are some tips:

  • Only pack what you will need (under the limits, of course). Don’t plan to take your entire stash with you. If you only plan to be gone a weekend, do you even need to take 30 grams? Only take how much you think you’ll use.
  • Consider keeping it in its original packaging while you travel. Though not required, it can make things easier should someone question you. If you’ve opened the package, place the whole thing in a stash bag.
  • Keep freshness in mind. When at home, it’s best to keep your stash protected from light and air; the same applies when you are on the go. Don’t leave it sitting out in the sunlight in the backseat. Consider leaving it in your trunk (required in some places) as you travel to keep it in the dark place and help keep it fresh.
  • Remember, you may be able to buy cannabis at your destination. If that’s the case, it may be easier to do that. You can get what you need when you arrive, sparing you the headache of trying to travel with weed. The only thing you’d have to take with you (if you want to) is your equipment, such as a favourite pipe.
  • Travel with more portable items instead of buds. Consider just taking some gummies, other cannabis edibles, or a disposable vape pen. These are sometimes easier to pack, and you don’t have to worry about things breaking.

Cannabis and Traveling: Final Thoughts

Taking a cannabis-friendly vacation or trip is only getting easier as more places legalize the use of cannabis on a recreational level. But, it’s vital to remember that though cannabis is legal in Canada, it is not yet legal everywhere.

If you plan a getaway inside Canada’s borders, you can travel with cannabis by car or plane. But restrictions apply. When flying with cannabis, you can only carry a maximum amount of 30 grams of dried flower with you. You can pack this in your luggage or bring it with you in your carry-on. How you store it on your trip is up to you.

You can also drive with your cannabis, but be sure not to take it as you go. Driving under the influence is illegal everywhere.

Before you pack your bags and head to your next Canadian destination, be sure to research the laws in place in that territory or province. This will include finding information on:

  • Where can you smoke (public or private)?
  • How to travel with it (do they require original packaging?).
  • Restrictions around the age to use cannabis (can range from 18 to 21).

By familiarizing yourself with the regulations in place, you can ensure you don’t inadvertently break the rules and get into trouble.

Traveling internationally with cannabis, however, is a hard no. It is illegal to leave Canada with weed or to bring cannabis into Canada. Even if you plan to visit a country where cannabis use is legal, you cannot take your own with you.

Instead, you may be able to purchase what you need there (but some places restrict selling to tourists). Just like you should do before traveling in Canada, you should also familiarize yourself with the regulations of cannabis use in other countries before you go.

Whether you are staying here or going abroad, the cannabis rules in your lodging are up to the hotel or residence. Before booking your stay, be sure to contact them and learn their policies around cannabis use in the rooms and public areas.

Finally, most countries, territories, even cities have restrictions around travel right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to look into what guidelines are required to travel around your country or internationally (Are masks required? What social distancing rules are in place?). Then be prepared to follow them.

Travel safe, travel smart, and enjoy your next cannabis-friendly trip!

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