Traveling with medical marijuana – Should you?

by Anshul
a group of people walking in an airport

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‘Traveling with marijuana’ is always a hot topic among enthusiasts and medical users alike. Simply speaking, do not travel with marijuana, unless its medically prescribed. Even so, traveling with medical marijuana through airport security is not advised.

Traveling with medical marijuana in USA

In USA, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and TSA is governed by federal laws. TSA instructions on Medical marijuana are straight forward – they are focused on security and not actively looking for marijuana. However, if they do find the drug, TSA refers the matter to law enforcement officers. Presumably, law enforcement officers are then responsible for authenticating the medical marijuana certificate/prescription. Depending on the city of origin and destination, the application of law can get murky.  TSA policy is as follows;

Traveling with medical marijuana

Source: TSA

Possession of marijuana is illegal under federal law. TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana. TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but in the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.

Traveling with medical marijuana in Canada

Canada is actively working towards legalizing and regulating Cannabis. Under current law, processing and selling cannabis for non-medical purposes, remains illegal. As for traveling with medical marijuana, under a new policy, CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) will no longer have to call police for prescription marijuana, 150 grams or less.

This is great news for passengers that travel with medical marijuana. The process of having to call police to verify documents and authenticity simply added time and was of great inconvenience to passengers.

CATSA policy on Medical Marijuana;

Traveling with medical marijuana

Source: CATSA

If you are travelling with medical marijuana, be prepared to show medical documentation. Your documentation and the amount of medical marijuana you carry must be in accordance with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

Travel tips for Medical Marijuana users

  • Always carry proper documentation. If you are unsure of the regulations, call the airline in advance.
  • Allow extra time to clear security. Especially, in smaller airports where the agents do not see this often, it can take a while for the police to be called in for verification and other procedures.
  • Don’t hide it. Keep the medical marijuana in easy to reach sealed bags.
  • Do not bring as liquid in carry on bag.
  • If leaving it in checked bag, understand that it may get flagged (in USA) and could cause you to miss your flight.
  • Consume it before going to the airport. Pack your medical marijuana kit and purchasing once in destination city (local laws permitting of course).


Are you a medical marijuana user? Please share your travel experience with a comment below. 


Maike Doerrenberg October 20, 2017 - 6:49 pm

Traveling with medical marijuana is easy within Europe. There is a form on the Internet, download it, let your doctor fill it out and carry it with you together with the medical marijuana in your carry on luggage and you are save to travel within the Schengen Area (EU + Switzerland) No problem at all. It’s in 4 languages and all Schengen countries have to accept it.

Anshul October 20, 2017 - 9:07 pm

Thanks for sharing the EU procedures – cheers!

Karen September 7, 2018 - 6:28 pm

Thanks for this. Do you have a link where I can download the form. I can’t find it. Cheers K


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