Canadians made pot legal at the federal level, but that still doesn’t mean RVing with marijuana in Canada is a joy ride. Many important rules apply when you’re carrying cannabis on board.
How to Go RVing with Marijuana in Canada
In 2018 the Canadian Cannabis Act set the national ground rules for legalized production, distribution, sale and use of cannabis products. Today, any adult over 18 can legally buy, possess, grow and share cannabis with other adults. But, Canada’s provincial and territorial governments have the right to override these rules however they see fit.
Don’t assume what’s legal in one place legal in the other. Here’s what you need to know about RVing with marijuana in Canada.
First, you’ve gotta ditch your stash before you get to the international border.
The Canadian Government’s stance on border crossing with cannabis says “It is illegal to bring cannabis into Canada. If you do have cannabis or products containing cannabis with you when you enter Canada, you must declare them to the Canada Border Services Agency. If you do not declare cannabis products when you enter Canada, you can face enforcement action, including arrest and prosecution.”
Whether you’re coming or going between Canada and the U.S., transporting weed in your RV across international borders is completely illegal, even if you are crossing in a state where cannabis is legal, such as Washington.
“This applies to cannabis or any product containing cannabis or even if the intended use is for medical purposes. Those who do can face serious criminal penalties, such as fines or even jail time, even if unintentional,” said immigration attorney Scott Bettridge in an interview with Forbes.com.
Then you’ve gotta know where pot use is legal.
Once you get through customs you’ll find that when you go RVing with marijuana in Canada’s provinces and territories, you’ll encounter a puzzling patchwork of laws that differ from place to place. For example:
- Manitoba doesn’t allow public consumption of cannabis anywhere. You can only use it in “a private residence.”
- Alberta says go ahead and toke up anywhere in public where where smoking tobacco is allowed.
- British Columbia rules state that cannabis use follows the same rules as tobacco smoking. Wherever it’s banned, don’t do it. Wherever it’s cool, go ahead and light up. Just don’t pass the doobie anywhere kids play, like in parks and athletic fields.
The good news for RVers is that many Canadian cannabis laws state that a recreational vehicle is considered a “temporary residence.” So go ahead and take your pot from place to place in your rig. Just don’t drive stoned.
And remember that in most territories you need to transport marijuana in a sealed container away from vehicle occupants. Alberta and Quebec are the exception.
Finally, carefully choose where you decide to camp with cannabis
Once you arrive at a campground, it’s important to understand the cannabis regulations. Authorities treat it much like alcohol and many of the same usage rules apply. For example:
Private campgrounds and resorts can write their own cannabis rules. If they don’t explicitly state them on your check-in materials, it’s your responsibility to ask if you intend to consume marijuana on their property.
The Parks Canada Agency (similar to the U.S. National Parks Service), has a general rule that says campers can enjoy cannabis at campgrounds in all provinces and territories. But you can only consume in your campsite and definitely not in common areas. Avoid lighting up in playgrounds, kitchen shelters, washrooms, trails, or roads.
However, each province, territory, or municipality can enforce their own cannabis laws if they have a Parks Canada campground under their jurisdiction. Some allow cannabis consumption in places like park trails and in the backcountry, some do not.
The Parks Canada “Cannabis use at Parks Canada places” website lists important rules you need to know when visiting a Parks Canada destination.
The Canadian government says it’s an individual’s responsibility to understand cannabis laws wherever one travels. Before you go RVing in Canada with marijuana, take time to understand the Canadian cannabis laws in all provinces and territories and you’ll steer clear of any hassles with the authorities.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
A M W says
Rene, why are you promoting the use of marijuana? Why not give tips on how to do something that is beneficial? Yes, I know someone will reply that it is beneficial and they will give all the good things it has done. I guess some people could find something good to say about murder.
Having your neighbor use marijuana in campgrounds is just one more way to ruin a good trip. The drunks are bad enough.
The title seems pretty indicative of the content. So if it didn’t interest you, did you click just to complain?
AWM, why do you feel this article is ‘promoting’ the use of marijuana? Regardless of how you feel about marijuana use, it is the new reality in Canada, and for those who use it this is a helpful and informative article. We Canadians are still getting our heads around all the rules which, in addition to Federal and Provincial regulations, are also governed at the municipal level. Nearly every city and town also have their own bylaws on where, how and when cannabis can be consumed, so if you’re staying within city or town limits you should google the local cannabis policy for them as well. Policies at all levels of government are aimed squarely at mitigating the impact of users on those around them. Chances are that if you travel to our beautiful country (and you should), you will never notice cannabis being consumed, although the giggles coming from the next campsite might be evidence after the fact. Oh, and your murder analogy is just, well…silly.
Aahhh don’t tell them ,, let the pot heads get caught
AMW Your ignorance is VERY TELLING. Murder!? Really!?
Imagine getting this triggered by what others choose to do in their free time. Do you stand outside your local bar with a picket sign too?
shut up buddy its legal just like your scotch
AWM your ignorance is showing when you compare alcohol to marijuana users…drunks are loud and obnoxious and start fights. Stoners are quit and like to talk and start bands!
Federal and provincial rules are covered, but an important level is missed: municipal rules. Municipal (city, town, county…) rules may not allow use even if it would be allowed under the provincial rules. This is the same as with any other activity.
Did the OP just equate marijuana use to murder? Wow.
I appreciate the information. Thanks!
Clear as mud!
You sited only 3 Provinces. They are a few more. Live and let live. Although I haven’t smoked pot in over 40 years ( I took the advice of St. Paul and put it down as childish when I became a man) the criminalization of what we chose to put in our bodies is sad. Canada is wise in it’s legalization as it takes pot out of the hands of criminal activity.
shut up buddy its legal just like your scotch
I believe you posted the same comment above so per chance it is a mistake? If not….. First I am not your buddy, maricon. Please reserve your insults for your poor family. You have added nothing to the discussion “shut up buddy”….. speaks well of your station in life. Would you consider adding “Low” in front of your moniker?
You need to work on your reading comprehension.
Does this include CBD which is non-psychotic and is used for pain?
Marc Rodstein says
Quote from the article: “This applies to cannabis or any product containing cannabis or even if the intended use is for medical purposes.”
Thank you for the information!
Jay Low says
Just watched a youtube video of a band group traveling into the US . Answered in the affirmative to the question of cannabis USE in Canada. They were denied entry to the US and prohibited from entering for 3 months! Had to leave RV and fly to Mexico till 3 month time passed.