Ever wonder about the rules and regulations surrounding recreational cannabis legalization and border crossing? A general rule of thumb is that taking cannabis across the border, whether entering or exiting Canada, is illegal. Read more to learn about the specifics pertaining to border crossing regulations.

Entering Canada

Despite its legalization in Canada, pre-existing cannabis border rules have not changed. Any cannabis or cannabis products being taken into Canada is illegal and will result in serious criminal penalties. These consequences may not be limited to Canada, but also to your home country. This is true regardless if you are travelling from places that have legalized cannabis. Additionally, it is important to note that bringing medical cannabis into Canada is also illegal.

In order to comply with Canada’s regulations, it is crucial that you declare any cannabis and/or cannabis-containing products that you may have brought upon entry. If you fail to do so, you will face serious enforcement action, such as arrest and prosecution.

Leaving Canada

To reiterate, Canada’s border rules when it comes to cannabis has not changed due to its legalization. Because cannabis is illegal in most countries, it is important to note that previous use may affect your entry into your destination country. This is true for other substances that are prohibited by local law, in which case you may be denied entry.

Canada does not have the authority to intervene on your behalf in the event that you are unable to meet your destination country’s entry or exit requirements. Thus, think and plan ahead before you decide to make a quick weekend trip across the border! You, alone, are responsible for researching the laws regarding cannabis in your destination country.

United States

Residing in British Columbia and the greater Vancouver area means many trips down to Washington. Although the possession and use of recreational cannabis is legal in some American states, it is still illegal under federal laws. Because of this, you are prohibited from taking it across the Canada-U.S. border. Even though the state you may be travelling to has legalized cannabis possession, you can expect legal prosecution, fines, and even jail time if you bring any form of cannabis across the border. You may be denied entry to the U.S if you are travelling due to being involved in the cannabis industry. A border officer also has the authority to bar you from entry should they find out about your previous cannabis use even if it was consumed legally.

You can apply for a waiver in order to be granted entry if you have been banned from the U.S. because of cannabis use. However, this action is difficult and expensive. Additionally, you will have to undergo this process every few years for the rest of your life unless regulations change in the future.

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