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Traveling With CBD & Cannabis

Over the last few years, legislation surrounding the cannabis industry has rapidly changed in the United States and Canada. While other countries are slowly (but surely) catching up to the herbal revolution, some countries haven’t warmed up to the idea of legalizing cannabis. With so many opposing views on the sticky subject, sorting out the rules for traveling with CBD and cannabis can get a little tricky.

It’s a common misconception that cannabidiol (CBD) extracted from hemp and marijuana is the same since they are both classified biologically as cannabis. This understanding is a contributing factor to the barriers to traveling with CBD. The molecular structure of CBD indeed remains identical regardless of which plant it is extracted from. The key difference between hemp and marijuana is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.

THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces a “high” sensation. The hemp plant contains a broad range of cannabinoids, including THC. However, hemp-derived products do not produce enough THC to create intoxicating effects when consumed. Legally, marijuana refers to cannabis that has more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight.

While the rest of the world is still ironing out how to classify CBD, we’ll share a few tips and cautionary advice on how to approach traveling with CBD in the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world.

Traveling With CBD In The United States

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and removed some cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Under U.S. law, hemp is classified as cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana is classified as cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC. Marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 substance. Therefore, any CBD derived from marijuana is considered federally illegal.

Inevitably, with 50 American states and stringent cannabis laws, there are many moving parts when it comes to traveling with CBD. In 2019, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) changed its cannabis policy to allow passengers to bring some forms of cannabis-infused products on flights. The TSA acts as the authority of travel and security in the United States and has outlined their approach to cannabis and CBD on flights.

The official TSA website states, “marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA. TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities”.

In simpler terms, any cannabis product containing more than 0.3% THC is officially considered marijuana, including CBD, and thus not permitted on any flights. If traveling with CBD, the THC percentage must be visible on a sealed container. A TSA agent has the authority to confiscate the container otherwise.

The report details further that “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 if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”

Although some states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, it is still prohibited at the federal level. The U.S. federal government does not currently allow marijuana on airlines or in secure airport zones.

Trraveling With CBD In Canada

As a country, CBD laws in Canada are more straightforward to deal with, as hemp and marijuana are both fully legal. The Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17, 2018, creating a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis across Canada.

Under the Cannabis Act, subject to provincial and territorial restrictions, adults who are 18 years of age or older are legally able to:

    • Possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis
    • Share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
    • Buy dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer
    • Grow, from licensed seed or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use
    • Make cannabis products at home as long as organic solvents are not used to create concentrated products

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority states that a single traveler can carry up to 30 grams of cannabis (including extracts, such as CBD shatter) in their carry-on bag or checked luggage. If you are a medical marijuana user and have the official documentation, you can travel with 30 times your daily amount, up to 150 grams. Liquid and topical forms are subject to liquids, aerosols, and gels (LAGs) restrictions in carry-on baggage. They must be placed with other LAGs in a 1-liter clear closed and re-sealable plastic bag.

Traveling with CBD on domestic flights in Canada is legal. However, the official Canadian Government website states, “It is illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border, whether you are entering or leaving the country. You could be charged with a criminal offense if you try to travel to other countries with any amount of cannabis in your possession. This includes edible cannabis, cannabis topicals, and cannabis extracts, as well as products containing CBD. This applies to all countries, whether cannabis is legal there or not.”

Traveling With CBD Worldwide

Canada and the United States may have more relaxed views on traveling with CBD, but CBD laws get a bit hazy when it comes to international destinations. Even though many countries have legalized hemp-derived CBD products, it’s important to look into each country’s laws due to the different regulations regarding THC content.

Europe is one of the most liberal regions of the world when it comes to marijuana and hemp. CBD products with less than 0.2% THC are legal everywhere, excluding Slovakia. Some countries in Europe allow higher THC limits or have chosen to have no limits enforced by law.

Australia and New Zealand are surprisingly strict when it comes to traveling with CBD. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia recently approved low-dose CBD products to be sold over the counter by a pharmacist without a prescription. You must have a prescription to buy CBD products in New Zealand.

CBD is very restricted in Africa. So far, only South Africa allows the sale of CBD products that meet specific THC content limits. In Asia, CBD laws vary. North Korea and China produce hemp, but in both countries, CBD is illegal. In some countries, cannabis products of any kind are extremely illegal, resulting in prison time or even the death penalty.

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Should You Travel With CBD?

The safest route to take will always be traveling sans cannabis. That’s a fancy way of saying leave your cannabis-infused products at home. If your adventures require herbal assistance, we suggest doing some thorough research to get familiar with the CBD laws in parts of the world you plan to visit.

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

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