Now that weed has been legalized in Canada, what would happen (from a legal perspective) if you tried crossing into Canada by car from the US, with Cannabis products?

  • 1
    Which province of Canada are you trying to proceed to, also are you a Canadian citizen?
    – 3kstc
    Aug 11 '18 at 5:35
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    I was going to Halifax, but then I got high. I was gonna pay my Cannabis tax, but then I got high. They wouldn't let me cross the border and I know why, because I got high, because I got high, because I got high. I was gonna get some poutine, before I got high. I was gonna meet the Queen, before I got high. They said I had to be clean, and I know why, because I got high... I tried to cross at 4:20, because I was high. They told me "c'est la vie" because I was high. Now I'm back in Detroit, and I know why, because I was high, because I was high, because I was high. Aug 11 '18 at 10:58
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    Weed hasn't been legalized in Canada... and it won't be until October 17, 2018. Aug 14 '18 at 2:58
  • @JimMacKenzie It's still a reasonable question to ask, since not everyone might be following the details of it Aug 14 '18 at 17:55
  • @AzorAhai Absolutely. Just clarifying that until that date, it absolutely won't be legal to import cannabis. After that date, it will likely be legal to import small amounts for personal consumption, as it is with tobacco and alcohol now, but the limits that will be permitted haven't yet been disclosed to the public. Aug 14 '18 at 19:50

You'd be committing a crime, and could be punished severely.

You can find the full text of the Cannabis Act here. (As DJClayworth mentioned, it does not come into effect until October 17, 2018.)

If you are crossing into Canada with marijuana then you are importing it, and importation will (continue to) be illegal under the new law. It is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. See Section 11 of the Act.

The government will be able to issue permits for importation, but only for medical or scientific purposes, or for industrial hemp. See Section 62. You couldn't get a permit to import your recreational weed. Even if your weed is for your personal medical use, I expect that getting a permit will be a complicated process, intended for large organizations only.

How the law will actually be enforced is something we don't know yet. It's possible that attempted importation, on a personal scale, won't be punished so severely, or that they will just confiscate the drugs and give people a warning. But it's also possible that they'll enforce it strictly and impose long prison terms. In any case, it certainly won't be legal, and you can't expect anything good to come of trying it.

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    If I understand correctly this was done at the insistence of the US, as otherwise companies from border states could start selling large quantities of marijuana to Canada and CBP would have to start checking outbound cars for "illegal" goods.
    – JonathanReez
    Aug 11 '18 at 17:54
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    Here's a really clear statement on this from the Canadian government: twitter.com/TravelGoC/status/1029808751912599552 Aug 16 '18 at 17:04

First important point marijuana has not yet been legalized in Canada. It is not legalized until 17 October 2018. People can and will be prosecuted for possession until then. (If your marijuana is for medical purposes that's a different matter, but you would need to prove that).

You should also note that the sale and distribution of marijuana will still be regulated. Exact rules are up to the province, but in all cases selling without an appropriate license will be illegal. I can imagine that if you were found with an amount of marijuana that implied you were selling it you might be prosecuted, but nobody has tested the laws in this area yet.

Nate Eldredge has corrected me that importation of marijuana will continue to be illegal and potentially heavily punished. I personally can think of no good reason for importing anything from a place where it is illegal to where it is cheaply and legally available. The intention is to make legal sales no more expensive than the previous illegal price.

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    The law will legalize possession of marijuana, but here we are talking about importation, which is a different story. A quick glance at the law suggests that special permits would be required for importation, and trying to bring in marijuana without one would be illegal. Aug 11 '18 at 15:39
  • @NateEldredge I wasn't aware of that. I would suggest writing your own answer to point that out. Aug 11 '18 at 15:44

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