Traveling With CBD: Know the Risks Before You Leave
To most people, COVID-19 is the biggest travel concern. But depending on where you go, another term that starts with “C” can land you in worse trouble – much worse, as one U.K. man recently learned.
There’s no denying that CBD oil and other cannabinoid products increasingly find acceptance throughout the industrialized world. But not every country is friendly-or even tolerant – to cannabis.
Considering the risk, it’s important to educate yourself about CBD and travel.
Traveling With CBD in the U.S.
Let’s start with the easiest one. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp is legal in all 50 states. However, some states may restrict or ban certain hemp-derived CBD products.
How to Fly With CBD in the U.S.
You can fly with CBD in the U.S., but there are a few minor rules to keep in mind, according to the TSA.
Obviously the product has to contain less than 0.3% THC. The TSA allows exceptions for FDA-approved versions of an otherwise restricted substance, like the CBD Epilepsy drug called Epidiolex, or synthetic THC medication, like Sativex.
Assuming you meet all the requirements, you can bring the CBD product in your carry-on or checked baggage. Try to keep the product in its own packaging to prevent damage or spills. If you have oil, put its container in a small plastic bag to catch any potential leaks.
The TSA also advises that they’re focused on security, so they won’t waste time checking for “marijuana” unless they suspect something.
Is it Risky to Travel With CBD to Another Country?
Yes, it is risky to travel with CBD to another country if you don’t fully research your destination’s laws. While we can’t cover every nation, we’ll address one particular incident and see what you can do to avoid being in a similar boat.
Even in cannabis-tolerant countries, crossing the border with CBD could complicate things. A prime example is Canada, which we’ll address soon.
Trapped in the U.A.E.
According to The Guardian, Billy Hood – a U.K. football coach living in Dubai – was “caught” in the United Arab Emirates with CBD vape juice in his car’s trunk – a car he sometimes shared.
Making matters worse, he had no idea how the juice got there, theorizing that it belonged to a friend of his who had recently visited.
Regardless of who the CBD belonged to, it didn’t stop the Dubai police from torturing Hood to sign a confession in Arabic, which he doesn’t speak. Dubai sentenced the 24 year-old to 25 years in prison. Currently, his family and the government are both working to bring him back to the U.K.
But it could be a tough fight. Billy Hood didn’t just get caught for possession in a cannabis-hostile country. According to High Times, U.A.E. is the most cannabis-hostile location. It doesn’t take much for drug offences to earn you the death penalty.
High Times also explains that the U.A.E. goes to enormous lengths to detect marijuana traces. Even having THC in your bloodstream will likely get you arrested.
Although Billy Hood’s ordeal is an extreme case, other countries could issue jail sentences, fines, and even executions for unsuspecting travelers.
Remember that “due process” isn’t a term many countries are familiar with.
Countries With the Strictest Cannabis Laws
Sneaking CBD internationally is a bad idea. But in some countries, it could be the worst idea you ever have. Always do your research, especially if you plan to visit any of the following seven places:
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
Penalties range from huge fines or disproportionately long jail time, to corporal punishment and execution.
What About Canada?
Many of us are eager to visit our neighbors to the north. It’s a lot closer, cheaper, and apparently safer in some respects, than a trip to Dubai.
Marijuana has been legal in Canada since October 2018, so it’s safe to assume you can bring your CBD products with you, right?
You’re likely wondering how recreational and medical cannabis can be federally legal in Canada, yet CBD extracts aren’t.
Canadian cannabinoid products – including CBD – can only be grown, extracted, distributed, and sold by licensed producers; and government or private dispensaries. Consequently, many U.S. – based hemp CBD producers often are unable to send their items to Canada.
The critical factor in this legal head-scratcher comes down to one thing: the source. All CBD in Canada is from what the U.S. would consider “marijuana.”
Furthermore, the lack of regulation for American hemp CBD products doesn’t sit well with Canada’s arguably over-regulated cannabis market.
Fortunately, you won’t be thrown in jail for decades. At worst, Canadian border officials will confiscate the product and let you move on.
Can I Bring CBD from Canada to the U.S.?
No, you can’t bring CBD from Canada to the U.S. Don’t even try it. If you think Canada’s cannabis regulations are intense for consumers, wait until you see the border’s take on marijuana.
Since these crossings are under federal jurisdiction, carrying cannabis from Canada to the U.S. – regardless of THC content – can complicate things.
Will I be Arrested for Bringing CBD from Canada?
A small amount of CBD or any other cannabis extract for personal use will likely be confiscated by U.S. customs agents. But if you happen to be a Canadian citizen, you’re far from off the hook.
Early after legalization, the U.S. made it very clear that no Canadian cannabis may enter the country, even if the state across the border also embraced marijuana reform. They took it so seriously that admitting cannabis use as a Canadian citizen can lead to a permanent ban from the U.S.
One Canadian man found himself on the wrong end of that policy. 61 year-old Barry Rough told officials that he hadn’t smoked marijuana in 18 years. This admission earned him a lifetime ban.
That being said, we’re not suggesting that you lie to the border officials.Honesty is important when dealing with authorities. Simply be aware that you may be asked about cannabis consumption, and the consequences that could bring.
Should I Travel With CBD?
You can travel in the U.S. with CBD. However, other countries are a different story. Even if you do your research, laws are complicated and you could miss something.
If possible, your safest bet is to simply leave the CBD at home.
- CBD is legal for domestic travel in the U.S., with some minor rules
- It’s illegal to bring CBD products across the border to Canada
- Bringing CBD from Canada or admitting cannabis use can lead to a lifetime ban for non-U.S. citizens.
- Some countries issue severe punishments for “drug possession,” which includes CBD
- The only safe way to avoid a legal ordeal is to not bring cannabis when you travel internationally
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