Anything to declare?

So pot, weed, cannabis – whatever you want to call it – becomes legal in Canada on 17th October.  The law says that on that date ….

“The federal legislation will:

  • allow adults to possess up to 30 grams of legally-produced cannabis
  • allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household
  • set the minimum age for purchase and use at 18 years of age, with the option for provinces to increase the age limit
  • enable a regulatory regime for the licensed production of cannabis, which would be controlled by the federal government
  • enable a regulatory regime for the distribution and sale of cannabis, which would be controlled by the provincial government
  • establish new provisions to address drug-impaired driving, as well as making several changes to the overall legal framework to address alcohol impaired driving”

So the one that jumps out to me above is the lawful ability to carry up to 30 grams of legally-produced cannabis.  But when they say “carry” where do they mean you can carry this cannabis?  Well – just within Canada and yes you can carry it on a flight – but only if it is for “medical” reasons.

Now I am sure you have chatted with friends or family who have been prescribed medical marijuana – in fact card-carrying marijuana patients have been around for a while – the difference being that from 17 October you can have it for fun – relaxation – whatever – and not necessarily for medical needs.

marijuana cartoon

But it has drawn a lot more attention to this issue and as travel agents we have been asked this question a few times now and frankly people seem confused.

So it’s OK to carry the stuff (as long as you have the prescription) on a flight within Canada – fine – but what happens if your flight is diverted (as they so often are) into a US airport.  Mmmm.

Edmonton Airport website makes no bones about what might happen in this situation –

“Important: If you are legally travelling within Canada with cannabis, and your flight is diverted into the United States, you may be required to disembark from the aircraft and go through the customs process. If this occurs, you must immediately contact the Canadian Embassy at 1-844-880-6519. You may be arrested and detained in the United States.”

Now if you have seen a few of those border patrol episodes you clearly don’t want to have to go through that scenario.  Sorry USA friends – but those USA immigration and customs people scare the hell out of me and always make me feel like I have done something wrong.  I just don’t need that hassle.

But – apart from those who like a little marijuana oil to sleep or calm “anxiety” let’s face it there are a lot of people out there with serious medical issues who really really need that marijuana to help with symptoms of multiple sclerosis, asthma and epilepsy to name but a few.

I guess this is just Chapter One in a long story still being written.


This is a special picture added for Gavin –

bill and ben

“As Bill & Ben the flower pot men use to say, “hello weed!”…”  – our British friends will know what we are talking about.


By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


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