Customs Broker in Toronto – Moving Cannabis Across National Borders is Still Illegal

Yes, it is a quixotic but true statement. On October 17, 2018, cannabis will be legal to use in Canada for all purposes (including recreational), but that doesn’t mean that you can transport it across borders to the United States or beyond. If you would like more detailed information, please consult Argo Customs broker in Toronto.

History of Cannabis in Canada

Canada started on this journey to legal cannabis in 2001 when Canada passed the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. In 2015, the Liberal Party campaigned with now-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a platform that included legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. The Liberal Party secured 184 seats in Parliament which enabled the party to form a majority government and pass legalization without relying on other parties. On June 19, 2018, the party passed Bill C-45 the “Cannabis Act” which will legalize marijuana products in Canada on October 17, 2018.

Caution when Crossing the Border

However, even though marijuana is soon going to be legal, regulated, and taxed in Canada, you cannot take it across the border. Yes, that is right. Even if you are going to a country (or one of the states in the United States where it is legal), you cannot cross the border. Furthermore, if you are coming from the United States and going to Canada, you still cannot cross the border with cannabis.

Taking cannabis across the border without an exemption issued by Health Canada or a permit is a serious criminal offense that could result in incarceration, fines, and more. Health Canada retains sole authority to issue permits and exemptions to transport cannabis across the border in three narrow circumstances:

  1. For medical purposes;
  2. Scientific research; and
  3. Industrial hemp.

You will be subject to criminal prosecution regardless of the amount you carry (even if it is very little); if you have a medical document stating you need cannabis (unless it is issued by Health Canada); and even if you are traveling from a country or state that legalized it (like California or Uruguay).

ARGO Customs Can Help

If you have questions about legalized marijuana or the rules on importing and exporting in Toronto, you should contact a customs broker in Toronto for assistance. ARGO Customs Brokers are standing by to give you all the assistance you need.