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Pot on planes: What to know about travelling with marijuana in Canada

Last Updated Oct 15, 2018 at 2:23 pm EDT

A WestJet check-in terminal is shown at Toronto Pearson International Airport during an IT outage at the airline on Oct. 28, 2017. CITYNEWS/Hugues Cormier

Many are bracing for a significant cultural change when marijuana prohibition comes to an end across Canada on October 17, but it will be business as usual for the most part at Canadian airports.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) tells CityNews it doesn’t expect “any significant impacts” on its operations with the arrival of legalization, but it has updated its screening procedures to align with the Cannabis Act.

Transport Canada has already said that legal amounts of recreational cannabis will be allowed on checked or carry-on baggage on domestic flights.

In an email, CATSA spokesperson Christine Langlois told travellers to adhere to the existing rules concerning carry-on items. For instance, liquids must not exceed 100 ml — and that same rule applies to cannabis oil.

“Cannabis oil is subject to the 100┬áml limit at pre-board screening and must be placed with other liquids, aerosols and gels in a 1-litre clear closed and re-sealable plastic bag,” she explained.

“Passengers travelling with medical marijuana will be asked to present medical documentation when the amount declared or discovered during screening appears to be more than the legal limit for recreational cannabis.”

Langlois stressed that these rules apply only to flights within Canada.

“Flying outside of Canada with cannabis remains illegal,” she wrote. “When cannabis is declared by a passenger or discovered during the course of the screening process at a checkpoint that serves transborder or international flights, screening officers will remind the passenger that it is illegal to travel internationally with cannabis.”