Canadian airlines is instructing passengers how to fly with cannabis

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Last year, Transport Canada revealed that airplane travelers will be allowed to fly with cannabis in their cargo.

This, of course, included a few stipulations. Among them: carry-on rules still apply for liquids, Canadians must be traveling to a domestic destination, and they couldn’t exceed 30 grams of cannabis on their person, which is the legal amount for personal use in Canada anyways.

But now, WestJet is giving Twitter recommendations to its Canadian passengers on how to fly with weed. WestJet is the second-largest Canadian airline carrier with service also extending to the United States, Europe, Central America, and beyond. Still, it’s rather odd to witness a major airline instructing passengers how to pack their stash properly.

We recommend that you pack the marijuana in an air-tight container in your carry-on and allow an additional 30 minutes for security screening. You are not permitted to smoke or use a vaporizer on board the aircraft.

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— WestJet (@WestJet) January 2, 2019

WestJet does not require notification or documentation if you intend to travel with marijuana; however, local security, customs and immigration may have additional requirements.

— WestJet (@WestJet) January 2, 2019

Actually, what renders most odd here is WestJet’s inclusion of customs and immigrations. As Transport Canada has made clear, it’s not legal for Canadians or foreigners to transport cannabis across the border, if when traveling to a destination where cannabis is legal like Colorado. To be exact, this is probably WestJet’s social media manager giving out these recs, but that person still represents the company’s official public position.

A little digging also reveals a similar position stated on the company’s website. You can find the below text in a section advising passengers how to travel with certain medications, including medical marijuana.

WestJet does not require notification or documentation if you intend to travel with medical marijuana; however, local security, customs and immigration may have additional requirements, and may not recognize a guest’s authority to possess this drug. Penalties including fines, imprisonment or other criminal sanctions may apply.  

The company’s website also repeats the advice of packing cannabis in an airtight container and allowing 30 extra minutes to clear security. But it also includes this line about unexpected diversions in flight plans: “It is your responsibility to ensure you are safely and legally transporting or possessing your medication, for all points in your travel, including unexpected stops in locations for a flight diversion.”

The subtext is clear: If your domestic flight has to cross the border into the United States, and cannabis is found on your person, WestJet is not liable for any penalties you may incur. Canada’s transport minister warned that international passengers must abide by their country of destination in an interview with Global News.

WestJet also joined Air Canada last year in banning cannabis usage for employees in “safety-sensitive positions,” even when those employees aren’t working. A spokeswoman revealed that cannabis is being treated differently than alcohol for those employees, as guidelines stipulate those in “safety-sensitive positions” not consume alcohol within 12 hours of starting their shift.

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