Cannabis in Canada: What you need to know when travelling

January 26, 2019

Oh, Cannabis! As of October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis is now legal in Canada. That means, adults can buy marijuana from government-regulated stores and light a joint, hit a bong or smoke from a vape in many public spaces. But before you book your flight to Canada in hopes of experiencing your first legal high, there are a few things you should know. Here are 10 tips for achieving a buzz while you travel from coast to coast.

Check your age

Similar to when buying alcohol, anyone who purchases weed will be asked to present ID to verify their age. In most provinces in Canada, you must be at least 19 years old to buy cannabis, but in Alberta and Quebec, the legal age is 18. If you plan on walking into a cannabis store, make sure you have a piece of government-issued photo ID like a passport or driver’s license on you.

Where to buy

Just because weed is legal, it doesn’t mean cannabis stores are popping up on every corner – yet. In some provinces like BC and Nova Scotia, you’ll see shops that are privately owned or run by the government, while in Ontario, all legal cannabis is only sold by the government online. If you don’t have a permanent address for mail and want to walk into a dispensary, make sure you double check which province you plan on travelling to.

Light up, with caution

Just because marijuana is legal doesn’t mean you can light up anywhere you want. Similar to cigarettes, it’s illegal to smoke indoors and within nine meters of a building’s entrance. In some provinces like BC you can smoke a joint in any outdoor public space including parks and sidewalks, but in other areas of Canada, it’s illegal to light up anywhere expect for private residences. Double check the laws before you light up.

Hicanada Cannabis 1

There’s a limit

Anyone caught carrying more than 30 grams of dried cannabis may face legal repercussions. Luckily, there’s no way you’d enjoy that much in one go (an average joint contains around 0.5 grams). So take what you need and store the rest of it away safely.

Empty your pockets

It’s illegal to carry marijuana to other countries. Before you hop on a bus, train or plane to the U.S., make sure you check your bag and pockets for bud and any type of weed paraphernalia (including vapes and bongs). There are now signs before you cross security at any Canadian airport, but when you’re in a rush, it’s something you could easily forget.


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are terms that come up a lot in the cannabis industry. Basically, THC creates the psychoactive signals to the brain that result in a feeling of “getting high.” In contrast, CBD doesn’t produce a high feeling at all (it’s more of an anti-inflammatory and often used for its health benefits) and can help counter or neutralize the effects of THC. Be sure that what you’re buying produces the effects you want to have.

Smoking Cannabis in Canada

Go low and slow

The potency of cannabis can vary depending on strain and producer. When you’re enjoying weed, especially if you’re new to the plant, pick a low dosage and go slowly. Smoking or vaping cannabis can begin to work almost immediately, but edibles often take at least 30 minutes to kick in. Be patient.

The deal with edibles

As of January 2019, edibles still aren’t legal in Canada, but legislation is on its way. In the meantime, cannabis-infused cookies, gummies and other types of edibles are only available on the “Green Market,” at some dispensaries and if they’re homemade. Because these aren’t government regulated, be careful what and how much you consume.

Don’t smoke and drive

Similar to laws around alcohol consumption and driving, you can’t smoke up and drive. The prohibited levels are at or over 2 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, so if you plan on getting high, make sure you have a safe ride back to where you’re staying.

Check in with the experts

If you’re interested in trying marijuana while you travel across Canada, check here to learn how to safely access weed and find out where you can enjoy it.

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