TRAVELLING WITH MEDICAL CANNABIS IN NORTH AMERICA

At time of writing, 30 US states and the whole of Canada have legalized medical cannabis. Unfortunately, travelling with medical cannabis is still not something we could recommend. Certainly not in North America. Whether travelling by land, sea, or air, don't carry. Medical cannabis patients transporting medicine on their person or in their luggage could encounter serious legal problems and even criminal charges.

For starters, the interstate highways in the US are under federal jurisdiction. If your vehicle is stopped and searched by a state trooper in a legal state, it’s at his/her discretion how to handle you. The trooper could potentially ruin your road trip by confiscating your medicine. In the worst case, they could arrest you too. If you have more than 28g of flower, you could lose it even in California. Moreover, crossing state lines with medical cannabis is still a federal crime.

The TSA definitely don’t want medical cannabis or CBD products aboard planes. Not even on domestic flights. There are a few weed amnesty bins in US airports. Denver International Airport, Las Vegas Airport, and a few others have depositories for wary passengers to ditch their stash before they get into trouble.

Most US airports forbid any quantity of cannabis on the premises. Furthermore, Canada still forbids the import and export of medical cannabis by and to patients. Canadian citizens can’t take their prescribed domestic medical cannabis abroad either.

TRAVELLING WITH MEDICAL CANNABIS IN THE EU

Medical cannabis legislation is far from harmonised across the member-states of the EU. If you have a medical cannabis prescription, it’s possible to take a trip abroad, and take a 30 day supply of medicine with you. But be prepared for a hell of a lot of paperwork. Lengthy waiting periods to get approval from the relevant authorities are standard operating procedure.

Legality of Medical Cannabis

HOW MUCH PAPERWORK IS INVOLVED?

The government of the Netherlands is where Dutch medical cannabis patients can find out about the relevant documents for travelling with medicine, such as the 30-day Schengen Certificate. This cert permits legal travel in up to 4 Schengen area countries. However, outside the 26 Schengen countries, a medical certificate in English is required.

Schengen Certificates must be signed by the patient’s doctor, then approved by the Central Administrative Office (CAK). Medical certs (usually valid for one year) must also be signed by the doctor and processed by CAK, plus approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It’s probably a good idea to contact the embassy of the country you plan to visit too, just in case any additional paperwork is required. Overall, the process is complicated and hardly streamlined for quick approval. German medical cannabis patients must cut through a similar amount of red tape if they want to travel with their medicine.

WHAT KIND OF MEDICAL CANNABIS CAN YOU TRAVEL WITH?

You can’t exactly take a bag of homegrown abroad. At present, there are only a handful of medical cannabis variants you can legally travel with. According to a 2017 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), only “authorised cannabis-based medicines” are legal.

Nabiximols sublingual spray, dronabinol capsules, nabilone capsules, and five strains of cannabis flowers by Bedrocan are authorised medical cannabis products for European travellers. By 2019, when the first medical marijuana crops are harvested in Germany, this list is sure to grow significantly.

Coffeeshop

ALTERNATIVE 3: FIND A LOCAL MEDICAL CANNABIS SOURCE

Medical cannabis is legal in Italy and has been since 2013. In Spain, there is a cottage industry of private-member cannabis social clubs. Spanish clubs operate in a legal grey area like Dutch coffeeshops, but are nonetheless tolerated. A smaller underground club scene is emerging in Belgium and Switzerland too.

Finding a local source of legal medical cannabis can be as simple as contacting the dispensary or club via social media. Many European medical cannabis vendors have an online presence, often detailing the criteria for membership/services on their website or chat forum. Find out who your real friends are on Facebook. Perhaps an existing contact can hook you up with medical cannabis on your travels.

WHAT ABOUT TRAVELLING WITH CBD OIL?

CBD oil is now more associated with nutrient supplementation, rather than getting high. A bottle of CBD oil or pack of softgel capsules is certainly more discreet than CBD-rich medical cannabis buds. The good news is that CBD oil is legal throughout most of Europe. CBD-based products can be found in high-street health shops from Dublin to Athens. Of course, you could order all the supplements you will ever need and have them delivered with just a few mouse clicks.

CBD Oil When Travelling

THE LAST WORD ON TRAVELLING WITH MEDICAL CANNABIS

If you need access to medical cannabis on your travels, you need to plan your whole itinerary very carefully. Choose medical cannabis-friendly destinations. There are some parts of the world where getting caught with any kind of cannabis will get you banged up abroad. Filling out tedious paperwork or reaching out to local sources is preferable to incarceration.

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