Canada's Legal Cannabis Edibles: What Aussies Going to Canada Need to Know

Nov 26, 2019

Recreational cannabis use became legal in Canada late last year. Last month the Canadian government declared it legal to make cannabis edibles, and estimate that they will be ready for sale by mid- December. These changes have some interesting ramifications for tourism and travellers, even for those who have no interest in cannabis. With the Canadian winter season about to kick off and many Australian’s gearing up to swap the surf and sun for skis and slopes, we outline what you need to know about these changes before your journey to the Great White North.  

How does legalisation affect travel within Canada ?

The move to legalise cannabis was a federal decision, ensuring that legislation took effect nation-wide. Reflecting this, the Cannabis Act outlined that “there [will] be no inherent barriers to transporting cannabis between provinces and territories”, and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has confirmed that travellers are able to carry a maximum of 30 grams in either checked or carry-on baggage when flying domestic. However, despite this, rules outlining what is considered legal usage have largely been left to the discretion of each territory and province, and depending on where you are in the country, regulations will vary greatly.  These variations could include anything from possession limits, the legal age of consumption, and restrictions on usage in public and private spaces. Upcoming regulations guiding the production, sale and usage of edibles will also be determined by individual provinces. For example, the Quebec government has stated that a majority of the more popular cannabis edibles such as brownies, chocolate and gummy lollies, won't be available for sale on the grounds that they have the potential to attract minors in a way that dried cannabis does not. For this reason, whilst it is perfectly fine to carry cannabis on your person during your travels, it is essential that you check out the local laws of any town you intend to visit. This includes travellers returning to Canada who have previously been in the country during the period since legalisation. As the second wave of cannabis regulations roll out, make sure that you stay updated on any important changes or amendments that may have taken place that could affect your travel. 

Can I smoke cannabis in Hotels or Airbnb’s?

This is another aspect of cannabis consumption that will be largely dependent on where you are, however, as with regular tobacco consumption, most hotels and Airbnbs will be smoke-free. For areas such as Newfoundland & Labrador, where cannabis consumption is only allowed in private residences, this may pose some challenges for tourists wishing to take advantage of Canada’s laws and enjoy cannabis in their down time. So, if you think you might want to do so, keep this in mind when booking accommodation. 

So, what is the best way for me to enjoy recreational cannabis in Canada 

It is important to remember that whilst cannabis is legal, it is only legally sold in government-regulated stores. As long as you are aware of the specific regulations of the province you are visiting and are are purchasing from a government licensed supplier, then you are free to enjoy cannabis at your own leisure. For the more cannabis-friendly tourist in search of something more interesting, there are a selection of cannabis based tours that you can participate in, in which activities can range from local tours, hiking and yoga retreats; all infused with a cannabis experience in a safe and guided environment. Whilst these tours are currently few and far between, it is expected that they will rise in popularity thanks to the introduction of edibles. 

Will cannabis use in Canada affect my travel when returning home ?

It should go without saying that it is illegal to bring any form of cannabis back to Australia with you, and that you could face extremely heavy penalties if you attempt to do so. So, if you do choose to consume cannabis legally whilst in Canada, be sure to take precautions against any of your items or bags containing traces of residue in order to avoid any issues at the airport. It would be advisable to purchase a separate bag if you choose to carry cannabis with you.

I don’t use cannabis, will I be affected? 

Even those who wish to abstain could end up feeling the effects of cannabis legalisation in some way. It has been reported that both U.S and Canadian officials have stepped up their scrutiny of travellers crossing the border in order to prevent cannabis being illegally transported in and out of the country. As a result of heightened security measures, delays have occurred, specifically around peak festival seasons. With edibles set to hit the market in the coming months, it is reasonable to expect similar delays for those journeying between Canada and the U.S. However, despite some suggestions prior to the introduction of these new laws, cannabis legalisation did not completely transform Canada’s cultural and social landscape. Whilst it is always important to understand and be aware of relevant national and local laws, travellers wishing to avoid cannabis altogether when visiting the Great White North should face little problem doing so. 

For official guidelines and updates, see this Government of Canada advisory on alcohol, drugs and travel.

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