Driving with cannabis? Best to put it in the trunk

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Dear Herb: How am I supposed to legally transport weed in my car? — Road Tripper

Dear Road Tripper: As with so many issues surrounding legalization in Canada, it depends on where you live — the federal Cannabis Act doesn’t address the issue of transporting cannabis in a vehicle, so it’s up to provincial and territorial governments. The overarching theme across those different legal jurisdictions is this: Like alcohol, cannabis should never be in reach of a vehicle’s driver or passengers. Some provinces and territories allow cannabis to be within reach if it’s still sealed in the original container.

Remember, possession of illicit cannabis is always illegal under the Cannabis Act. Even with legal weed, it’s against the law to possess more than 30 grams in a public place (there’s an exception for registered medical cannabis users).

No provincial laws permit the consumption of cannabis in a vehicle, although a few make a special exception for motor homes or boats that are being used as a dwelling. And, of course, cannabis-impaired driving is against the law.

Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act specifies that cannabis has to be inaccessible to anyone in a vehicle, and whoever wrote the law was kind enough to spell out exactly what "inaccessible" means. Transporting cannabis in a vehicle is allowed if "the cannabis is stored in the trunk, an exterior compartment on the vehicle or another space designed for the carriage of goods or baggage that is not readily accessible to any person in the motor vehicle." If your vehicle doesn’t have a completely enclosed trunk (like an SUV, a pickup truck or a hatchback) the cannabis can be legally stored behind the back seat.

In neighbouring provinces, Ontario’s Cannabis Control Act says cannabis can be transported in a vehicle or boat as long as it’s sealed in the original container or "is packed in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle or boat." Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act allows motorists to transport cannabis in a vehicle "for the purpose of transporting the cannabis from the place at which it was lawfully obtained to a place where it may be lawfully had, kept or consumed or from that place to another place where it may be lawfully had, kept or consumed." (In other words, from the store to your house, or from house to house.)

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