Getting high in the sky

Believe it or not, weed is legal across Canada. In these first few weeks since the legalization became official, rumours have been swirling about implications and consequences on travel. You’ve probably already engaged in some water cooler talk about it, or sat at a family dinner listening to your “favourite” uncle explain in detail how the U.S. is blacklisting people who buy cannabis with their credit card. But what is really going on? Here are five facts on how cannabis affects travel to, from, or within Canada.

Cannabis can’t be brought into Canada.

Cannabis in any amount, purchased legally, or even medically prescribed, from outside of the country, will be confiscated at the border. What’s more, if you attempt to enter Canada with undeclared marijuana, you could face serious legal consequences.

Cannabis can’t be taken out of Canada.

Attempting to leave Canada with weed is doubly dangerous, since it can constitute a criminal charge in Canada as well as the country you’re trying to enter.

International punishments for possessing/transporting weed are extremely varied.

Laws for possession vary from small fines to imprisonment for life. There’s also a big difference between laws for possession and laws relating to international transportation. It’s the responsibility of the traveller to look into the laws of the country they’re visiting. It’s probably ideal to avoid being kept in a foreign prison, but maybe we shouldn’t generalize.

Travelling within Canada with cannabis is legal, but provincial laws apply.

At the moment, this might not mean much, as most provinces have the same legal age and public possession limit. What’s important to note is that individual provinces have some leeway in placing additional restrictions, meaning the legal age and possession limit can be modified, and the public areas where it can be used can be specified. Basically, keep up to date.

You won’t be automatically denied entry to the U.S., even if you work in the cannabis industry.

Though it was announced over the summer that Canadians involved in the cannabis biz could face lifetime bans to the U.S., just before the legalization, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency issues a surprising statement which reversed the verdict. According to the statement, evidence of involvement in the cannabis industry is not enough to bar a person from entering the United States. It’s worth noting, however, that a person travelling for a reason related to the industry is likely to be denied.

The legalization of marijuana is definitely a big deal, and the results of it, both at home and abroad, are not fully settled yet. Until the smoke clears, its probably a good idea to play it safe, and read up on your weed law.

By: Adam Haiun – Encore Travel Copywriter

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