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Cannabis at the border

The Cannabis Act, legalizing and regulating cannabis (marijuana), creates a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada.

Transporting cannabis across the border in any form – including any oils containing THC or cannabidiol (CBD) – without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada remains a serious criminal offence subject to arrest and prosecution, despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada. The prohibition applies regardless of:

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

Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out.

If you are entering Canada from another country, remember: if you have cannabis with you in any form, you must declare it to the Canada Border Services Agency. Not declaring cannabis in your possession at the Canadian border could also lead to arrest and prosecution.

If you are leaving Canada, remember: you may not take cannabis out of the country either. You may be subject to criminal charges if you attempt to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis in your possession.

Only Health Canada retains the authority to issue permits or grant exemptions to import or export cannabis. They do so under very limited circumstances and for limited purposes: medical, scientific or industrial hemp. For importers with the Health Canada granted authority, please refer to Customs Notice 18-19 on calculating cannabis duty.

Videos

Laws for cannabis at the Canadian border

2019-02-13
An explanation about the laws for cannabis at the Canadian border.

Cannabis and international travel

Cannabis is legal for adults in Canada. However, it is still illegal to transport cannabis and products containing cannabis – including edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals – across the Canadian border:

  • No matter how much cannabis you have with you
  • Even if you are authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes in any form, including cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Even if you are travelling to or from a municipality, state or country where cannabis has been legalized or decriminalized

If you are entering Canada and have cannabis with you in any form, you must declare it to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Not declaring cannabis in your possession at the Canadian border is a serious criminal offence. You could be arrested and prosecuted.

Leaving Canada

It is illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border, whether you are entering or leaving the country. You could be charged with a criminal offence if you try to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis in your possession. This applies to all countries, whether cannabis is legal there or not.

Cannabis is illegal in most countries. If you try to travel internationally with any amount of cannabis in your possession, you could face serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad. You could be denied entry at your destination country if you have previously used cannabis or any substance prohibited by local laws. You could also be denied entry to other countries in the future.

It is your responsibility to learn about the laws, including the legal status of cannabis use and possession, in your destination country. See our Travel Advice and Advisories for more information.

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. Do not 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 cannabis, 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.

Patrick and his roommate are packing for their upcoming trip.

He sees his roommate putting legal cannabis into his luggage.

Luckily, Patrick had checked Travel.gc.ca/cannabis before packing for their trip.

He knew it is against the law to take cannabis across Canada’s international borders.