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Flying with Cannabis – Official CATSA Guidelines

On October 12, 2016 the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) added medical marijuana and provided guidance on how to travel with cannabis when flying within Canada.

Their website indicates that you can carry medical cannabis in checked or carry-on luggage and that you must be prepared to show medical documentation. Police may be called to verify the documents.

We recommend that passengers pack medical cannabis in their carry-on to avoid unnecessary delays that may be caused by random luggage searches or drug-sniffing dogs.

Hopefully this clarification to the guidelines will make flying with medical cannabis in Canada a much simpler, quicker and less stressful activity for Canadians.

Here are the guidelines we have been providing to patients for some time now for travelling with medical cannabis:

In General

  • You can only travel with your medical cannabis within Canada.
    • If you attempt to take it outside of the country you may face serious consequences as a result of foreign government’s more strict medical cannabis rules.
  • Always keep your product in the original packaging
    • This makes it easier to identify your medical cannabis as medication
  • Always bring your CanniMed Card and Registration Document
    • These documents show your official status as a patient and contain information that will assist authorities in answering any questions they have.
  • Never bring more than your 30-day limit
    • Federal law prohibits you from bringing more than that with you, regardless of how long you will be gone from home.

When Flying

  • Pack your medical cannabis in an easy-to-reach place in your carry-on luggage, along with your paperwork
    • You will save time for yourself and others if you can get to everything quickly
    • CATSA recommends that you DO NOT pack medical cannabis in your checked luggage.
  • Call both the airline and the airport at least a week before you fly to inform them of your situation
    • This allows them to be prepared for you and may help to avoid delays
  • Arrive at least an hour before the suggested time to allow additional time for verification
    • When you reach the pre-board screening checkpoint, advise screening personnel that you are transporting medical cannabis and request a private search
    • Once inside the search area give the staff all your paperwork. Their standard procedure is to contact police to clear the cannabis for travel. This is routine, but takes time, so be prepared
  • You are NOT allowed to smoke or vape while onboard the plane, or in most airports. Be sure to take your medicine before you arrive.

We hope that wherever your journey takes you, that you arrive safe and sound!