If You’re Going to Canada to Buy Weed, Here’s What You Need to Know

Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario allow you to smoke weed anywhere it’s legal to smoke tobacco, with the exception of cars and places where children are often present. Generally that means no smoking in parks, sporting fields or near a school or playground.

In Ontario you must be more than 20 meters, or about 66 feet, away from an area like a school, playground or day care center — even if children are not present. And many hotels in Canada, including the Marriott and Omni hotel brands are already smoke-free, which means cannabis smoke, too.

Driving while under the influence of cannabis — or any other drug — is still illegal in Canada. Cannabis must be sealed and out of reach to drivers and passengers — like in the trunk — if being transported by car. If caught driving while high, you could face substantial fines and possibly go to prison.

Nine states in the United States and the District of Columbia now allow recreational marijuana use, including Maine, Seattle and Vermont, which share the border with Canada. But that doesn’t mean you can bring weed back and forth with you.

Travelers returning to the United States are barred from bringing cannabis with them because the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana remain illegal under federal law. “Individuals found with marijuana may face seizure, fines, arrest, or in the case of aliens, denial of admission into the U.S.,” Stephanie Malin, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, wrote in an email.

While every inspection is different, she noted, “zero tolerance fines and penalties generally range from $500 to $5,000.” Likewise, it is illegal to bring cannabis into Canada.

Every Canadian province has a website dedicated to its own specific cannabis laws and regulations, so do your research before heading across the border to smoke.

Another option: Hire someone to plan your trip for you. In Toronto, Canada High Tours offers two-hour packages starting at 50 Canadian dollars that include “several unique options for respectful and responsible cannabis consumption.” Canna Tours in Victoria, British Columbia, offers to connect travelers with “cannabis-friendly” accommodations.

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