Entering Canada with Cannabis

Can I bring cannabis into or out of Canada?

Cannabis is one of the most widely used substances in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, nearly half of Canadians reported having used cannabis at some time in their lives.

In October 2018 Canada legalized the sale, possession and non-medical use of cannabis by adults. By 2019, the overall cannabis use increased (16.8% vs. 14.9%) particularly among: males, and adults aged 25 and older. Also, the use of cannabis increased especially in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Alberta.

Even though Cannabis is now legal for adults in this country, it is still illegal to bring cannabis into or out of Canada. This includes edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals.

Further, if you enter Canada and have cannabis with you in any form, you must declare it to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). According to the CBSA, not declaring cannabis in your possession at the Canadian border is a serious criminal offence.

The Cannabis Act

Under the Cannabis Act, it is illegal to import into Canada, or export from Canada, cannabis and cannabis products. In order to do this, you need a valid permit or exemption issued by the Government of Canada. The CBSA says that only Health Canada retains the authority to issue permits or grant exemptions to import or export this product.

“They do so under very limited circumstances and for limited purposes: medical, scientific or industrial hemp.”

Entering Canada with Cannabis

It is illegal to transport cannabis and products containing cannabis (edible, extracts and topicals) without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada. The prohibition applies regardless of whether:

  • you hold a medical document authorizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes,
  • you are travelling from an area with legalized or decriminalized cannabis

If you are entering Canada and have cannabis with you in any form, you must declare it to the Canada Border Services Agency, no matter how much cannabis you have with you.

Leaving Canada with Cannabis

It is also illegal to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis. This applies to all countries, whether cannabis is legal there or not. Moreover, if you try to travel internationally with cannabis in your possession, you could face serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad.

Travellers to the United States

Although the possession of cannabis is legal in some U.S. states, it remains illegal under U.S. federal laws. The Government of Canada advises not to attempt to cross the Canada-U.S. border with any amount of cannabis in any form, even if you are travelling to a U.S. state that has legalized possession of cannabis.

Previous use of this substance, or any substance prohibited by U.S. federal laws, could mean that you are denied entry to the U.S. If you are travelling for business related to the cannabis industry, you may be deemed inadmissible.

What happens if you don’t declare cannabis?

Individuals who do not declare their cannabis when entering Canada may face enforcement action, such as:

  • seizure,
  • arrest, and/or
  • monetary penalties.

Of course, the CBSA will apply a penalty based on the type, severity and frequency of the contravention. In 2021, the CBSA made around 22,779 cannabis seizures totalling 16,498 kilograms.

Travellers visiting or returning to Canada can contribute to a smooth border crossing by understanding and complying with their obligations at the Canadian border, said the CBSA.

Quick Facts

  • Cannabis remains one of the most widely used drugs in Canada.
  • Before legalization, the prevalence of cannabis use in this country had been increasing, particularly among those aged 25 and older.
  • The prevalence of cannabis use tends to be highest at ages 18 to 24 and higher among males than females.
  • With legalization, Canadians’ access to legal cannabis via retail stores and online stores has increased. Source: Statistics Canada.

<<Also Read: Smoking Weed in Canada – A Visa and Immigration Perspective>>

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Disclaimer:
This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

The characters and places in the articles:
All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

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Andrea Neira

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