May 14, 2021 10:32 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Back in 2018, Canada passed cannabis legalization for adults across the nation. This made Canada the largest country to ever legalize adult-use recreational/retail cannabis. In the meanwhile, cannabis legalization has been crawling along at a steady pace in the United States. Only a handful of states are still clinging to draconian federal cannabis prohibition. Even though many places in the United States have legal access to medical or recreational cannabis, it is still against the law to travel with cannabis over state lines.
If you only have a little bit on you and you’re in the United States, some officers won’t trouble you. However, they can if they want to. If you travel back and forth from the US to Canada, make sure that you don’t take your weed with you to and from. Just wait and purchase your products when you get to where you’re going.
Some great advice before leaving or entering Canada would be to perform a checklist of your luggage. Make sure that you don’t have any cannabis products on your person. Check your pockets, and if you’re one of those individuals that like to hide your stash in a sock or other strange spots, make sure you skip it this time. Before packing luggage, make sure that you check all compartments as many of us use them as stash spots and can forget we put weed in them. The last thing you want to do is get busted for a sack of bud you thought you lost only to have it found by border agents, confiscated, and then get a fine for it.
Crossing the Canadian border with cannabis, whether you are entering or leaving, used to result in fines and penalties that could include incarceration of up to 14 years in a Canadian prison. The Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA for short, has announced a new set of penalties for individuals apprehended crossing the Canadian border while in possession of cannabis.
New Penalties for Bringing Cannabis Across the Canadian Border
As of March 29th, 2021, the Canada Border Services Agency will start citing travelers by issuing financial penalties. In order to legally carry cannabis across the Canadian border, one must have an exemption or have a valid permit. Should CBSA catch you crossing into or out of Canada, it could end up costing you quite a bit of cash. According to CBSA, individuals who fail to declare cannabis or cannabis products while crossing the border will face monetary penalties and could face criminal prosecution.
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The CBSA will impose monetary penalties on travelers who “provide information to an officer that is not true, accurate, and complete or fail to report imported goods containing cannabis.” Undeclared cannabis products or cannabis will be detained with no terms of release. Individuals will be assessed a financial penalty that ranges from a fine of $200 to $2,000. Fines are based on severity, the history of non-compliance, and the type of contravention. In serious instances, the CBSA can still pursue criminal action in the form of incarceration.
Don’t Bring CBD Either
It’s not just medical or recreational cannabis that you are not allowed to import or export over the Canadian border without a valid permit or having the proper exemption issued by the Canadian government. This law also pertains to CBD-derived products that come from medical, recreational cannabis, or industrial hemp as well.
To get right to the point, unless you have the proper credentials, don’t travel with cannabis to or from Canada in any shape or form. If you do, you could find yourself facing monetary fines and, depending on the severity of your infraction, possibly even jail time. Remember, you can get cannabis when you get there and Canada has some absolutely fantastic cannabis!
If you’re coming from Canada to the US market it’s understandable that you may want to bring your own cannabis as much of the US market is flooded with low-grade product. Avoid the temptation and do a little research as to where to find the fire. There are plenty of craft cultivators in America that flower ladies to perfection, creating a superb quality product. It can be hard to find, though, because it flies off of store shelves. A good product sells itself; it doesn’t need fancy flamboyant advertising.
Hopefully, the Future Will be Different
Hopefully, as the United States of America sees a change of politicians for the first time in decades, new individuals will help usher in an era where traveling with a legal substance will no longer land the individual penalties, fines, and possible incarceration. Politicians in the United States have been dividing the country for years. Imaginary lines make up where we can and can’t go and what we can and can’t do.
Maybe, in the future, if the federal government in the US ever decides to reform their draconian laws, we may see a change in laws pertaining to crossing borders with cannabis. But for now, just don’t risk it!
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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