The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA) recently conducted a study on what Canadians aged 18–60 across Canada know about the implications of travelling with marijuana*. Not surprisingly, how old you are plays a large part in the level of awareness you may have when travelling with marijuana:
- 20% of Canadians planning a vacation this year don’t know what marijuana products they can take, how much they can take, or where they can take it
- 13% of baby boomers said they wouldn’t anticipate any issues at the border when travelling from one legal province to another jurisdiction outside of Canada
- 21% of millennials believed they wouldn’t run into any issues at all
- 22% of respondents with medical marijuana prescriptions believe they can pack it in carry-ons just like any other prescription drug, regardless of where they are travelling
- 77% of baby boomers and 60% of millennials believe you shouldn’t pack marijuana at all when travelling, even with a prescription, to avoid running into trouble.
As you can see, there is a lot of confusion and varying opinion.
Here are the facts you should know.
If you decide to travel with marijuana it is vital to know where you can travel legally with the drug.
- Within Canada you can carry up to 30 grams of dry herb with you, even on domestic flights, in your checked baggage or carry-on (but it must be kept stowed at all times and cannot be consumed, rolled or otherwise exposed to the cabin or other passengers). For cannabis oils, you must follow airline restrictions on liquids (typically 100 ml or less). In the event of an unexpected flight diversion to a U.S. airport, the onus of responsibility is on the traveller if denied entry due to cannabis possession.
- Going to the U.S., your Canadian citizenship does not give you immunity from their laws or provide you with preferential treatment. Even though cannabis is legal in some states, it remains illegal under U.S. federal laws to possess it in any form or quantity. It is illegal to bring it across the Canada–U.S. border. Penalties for doing so include legal prosecution, fines — and possibly jail time.
- For international travel, most countries consider marijuana an illegal drug and using or carrying drugs can lead to charges, arrest and imprisonment.
You may also be denied entry into a country if you have used drugs, including cannabis.
Watch this video from the Canada Border Services Agency.
Travel with any form of cannabis should be done cautiously. Be diligent in asking your medical professional, the airlines and state authorities for guidance before you travel.
If you require cannabis for medicinal purposes and possess valid documentation, the maximum quantity allowed is equal to the lesser of your prescribed 30-day supply or 150 grams. For most, that will mean they can travel within Canada with up to a month’s worth of cannabis. Travelling with more could lead to your whole supply being confiscated, so be cautious about the amounts you bring.
If you are travelling by air within Canada, you’ll still need to limit liquids — cannabis oil or tincture — to under 100 ml in your carry-on to adhere to CATSA liquid limitations.
If your prescription means cannabis edibles, you must abide by all the usual restrictions for travelling with food, so check out your airline’s list of restricted and prohibited items to make sure you’re in the clear.
For many popular tourist destinations like Florida, Hawaii, and New York, cannabis has only been legalized for medicinal use. Remember that prescriptions for medical cannabis in Canada don’t necessarily transfer out of the country. If you are travelling to the U.S., it’s best to reach out to a company that sells medical cannabis beforehand to understand if you qualify to purchase medical cannabis in that state. Unfortunately, some states require you to be a resident to purchase medical cannabis, so it’s not often the case that Canadian patients qualify.
THiA recommends always following the golden rules of travel health insurance before you leave for your vacation:
- Understand your travel insurance policy. Insurance providers have staff available to answer any questions related to policies.
- Know your health. Pay attention to any symptoms you may be having, and consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions.
- Know your trip. How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive? Find a policy that is specifically tailored to your trip.
- Know your rights. The Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will help provide all travelling Canadians with additional confidence in their travel insurance purchase, knowing their company is supporting their rights as a consumer and making them aware of their responsibilities.
When you travel out of the country (or outside of your home province), many emergency medical expenses are not covered by provincial health insurance plans. Whether you take frequent trips to remote places all over the world, or you are a homebody planning your first trip to visit a relative out of the province, SBIS will help make sure your medical needs are covered in the event of an emergency.
With a wide range of Emergency Medical Travel Plan options, SBIS can help you secure the comprehensive coverage you need for worry-free travel.
If you are thinking about coverage, go online to choose from multiple coverage options. Chat with one of our expert travel advisors, submit your questions online, or give us a call. We’re here to help provide you with answers and assistance in selecting a plan that’s right for you.