BY MICHELLE BILTON
Consumption of cannabis isn’t the only upcoming change on Oct. 17. Once it’s legal travellers can carry up to 30 grams of cannabis on a domestic flight.
It remains illegal to bring any amount, including cannabis for medical purposes, through Canada’s international borders, like the Canada-U.S. or U.S.-Canada borders. Canadians can face criminal penalties if they bring cannabis on an international flight.
According to Annie Joanette, senior communications advisor for Transport Canada, it’s illegal to bring cannabis between two jurisdictions where cannabis is legal (e.g. a flight between Vancouver and Seattle).
Joanette emphasizes how Transport Canada is working hard toward making sure Canadians are aware of the law. “Signs will be installed at airports, ferry and cruise terminals, and railway stations at exit points from Canada. With respect to land crossings, Transport Canada is working with provinces and territories to install road signs near the border,” she says.
Jonette adds that even if you’re on a flight where cannabis is allowed, that doesn’t mean you can smoke it. “The Canadian Aviation Regulations prohibit smoking on board an aircraft. The regulations will apply to cannabis smoking after Oct. 17,” she says.
It’s up to travellers to be aware of each province’s laws while travelling with cannabis. Canadians must be of the legal age in the province where they depart from and where they arrive.
Passengers must declare all cannabis products and can bring it in their carry-on or tucked away in their luggage.
Christine Langlois, senior advisor communications and spokesperson for Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), says safety is CATSA’s first priority. “We continue to work with Transport Canada to ensure our procedures are consistent with government policy on cannabis,” she says.
“Passengers travelling with medical marijuana will be asked to present medical documentation when the amount declared or discovered during screening appears to be more than the legal limit for recreational cannabis,” she adds.
No more than 100ml of cannabis oil is allowed on a flight. It also must be placed with other liquids, aerosols and gels in a 1 litre clear closed and re-sealable plastic bag
For Jodie Emery, who has been a Vancouver-based advocate for cannabis freedom since 2004, legalizing domestic travelling with cannabis is a step in the right direction, but it’s still not enough.
“If you have more than 30 grams, you’re a criminal and you will face arrest. It’s good that Canadians can at least fly within Canada with cannabis, that’s a positive development, but it would be best to say there’s no punishments at all because cannabis itself doesn’t cause harm,” says Emery, who ran for provincial office with the B.C. Marijuana Party in 2005 and in a 2008 by-election.
Emery says her work is far from done and that laws surrounding cannabis will still be too harsh after legalization.
“Legalization should have meant that Canadians would no longer be criminalized, that the existing cannabis industry would not be criminalized and that Canadian tax dollars would not be wasted on law enforcement, but unfortunately we’re not seeing any of that happen. Canadians are still being arrested for possession and more,” she says
Emery claims the next step is cannabis amnesty.
“If the government wants to eliminate the criminal market they need to get rid of their criminal laws,” she says.