Top tips for travelling with cannabis (or CBD) between countries

By: Contributor Activism

Going on a trip can be the beginning of an interesting adventure or a way to escape the daily grind. However, some of the users who decide taking cannabis or CBD with them, feel like they’re entering an intricate legal maze. Let this post be a compass for intrepid explorers who want to learn how to navigate the turbulent waters of cross-border regulations.

The first step in preparing your itinerary should be to do some research on cannabis-related laws, for both the country of origin and your destination country. Despite the international regulatory wave that has taken place in recent years, it can still be confusing to travel with either cannabis or CBD products, as standards vary significantly within Europe; and more so as you venture into other continents.

Caution and information will be your best tickets to an enjoyable and hassle-free experience. It’s also important to remember that, even in countries where cannabis is completely legal, regulations on permitted amounts and use may vary over time.

Travelling with cannabis or CBD within Europe

Travelling within Europe with cannabis or CBD involves different regulatory frameworks. European policy on cannabis is complex, as several Member States have made significant changes in recent years towards legalisation and the decriminalisation of cannabis for medical and personal use.

Before travelling across Europe with cannabis or CBD, it is crucial that you verify the laws of each country of destination and transit, and even include those countries where cannabis is legal, since cross-border transport may be subject to regulatory restrictions. Remember that the authorities in airports and border areas may carry out stricter controls, so it is best to know the details in advance as well as having the correct medical documentation and packaging if necessary.

Here’s a summary of the legal situation of marijuana in several European countries, so you can weigh up whether or not you should take cannabis with you in any of its formats:

  • The Netherlands: Although this country is renowned for its coffee shops and its soft law regarding marijuana, recreational cannabis is technically illegal. Having said that, possession and consumption in small quantities is decriminalised and handled under a controlled tolerance system. Interestingly though, a pilot programme involving licensed sales outlets is currently being carried out, to permanently legalise cannabis.
  • Spain: Despite the booming cannabis club phenomenon, the distribution and use of cannabis remains illegal in Spain. CBD is legal providing that THC levels are kept below 0.2%.
  • Portugal: Since 2001, the possession of any type of drug for personal use (including cannabis) has been decriminalised. However, sales remain illegal.
  • Germany: Medical cannabis is legal by prescription, and there is currently an ongoing bill for the legalisation of recreational cannabis, which is likely to go ahead in 2024.
  • Italy: The use of medical cannabis, as well as CBD flowers with THC levels below 0.6%, is legal by prescription. The rest is illegal.
  • Switzerland: CBD-rich cannabis, with a THC count below 1%, is legal and is regularly distributed in various outlets. In addition, a pilot programme for the legalisation of recreational cannabis is currently under way.
  • Czech Republic: Medical cannabis is legal, and the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use has been decriminalised.
  • Belgium: The possession of a small amount of cannabis for personal use has been decriminalised for adults.
  • Luxembourg: In July 2023, self-cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use were legalised. Adults are allowed to possess up to three grams of cannabis, and grow up to four plants in a safe place within their private residence.
  • France: This is one of Europe’s most stringent countries in terms of cannabis. Proof of this is that even medical cannabis is illegal, even though there’s been a pilot dispensing programme running for two years. CBD is legal in France provided that it contains less than 0.2% THC and is obtained from Cannabis seeds and stems. Nonetheless, the reality is that the law is applied inconsistently, and many CBD products are still sold in the country despite not meeting these requirements.

How to travel with cannabis or CBD in countries outside of Europe

If you’re going to travel to countries outside of Europe with marijuana or CBD products, make sure you do the relevant background research in advance. There are several countries in Asia and the Middle East, for instance, where cannabis possession can translate into a severe fine or even a jail sentence.

However, there are other places like the US or Canada which are known for their progressive regulation; as well as Uruguay and other Latin America countries, where the rules are much more relaxed. In Asia, the overall situation is very restrictive, with the exception of Thailand, which has surprised the whole world with its recent legalisation of medical cannabis for certain uses, becoming one of the most popular cannabis tourist destinations. However, this doesn’t apply to tourists entering the country with cannabis, even if they have a prescription from another country.

So, although cannabis and CBD are legal in some countries and states outside of Europe, even for recreational use, you should bear in mind that there may be specific restrictions on their import. Therefore, check with the relevant authorities or your consulate before travelling to ensure you meet all the requirements and don’t have any problems at Customs.

Map showing the legal status of recreational cannabis around the world

CBD: slightly safer ground

Due to its non-psychoactive nature, CBD is legal in many European countries, providing that the products or flowers don’t exceed the allowed THC levels, which usually range between 0.2 and 0.6%. If you decide to travel outside Europe and take CBD with you, legislation may be more complex as it varies depending on the destination. For example, CBD is legal at federal level in the US, but state laws can vary greatly.

If your decision to travel with cannabis or CBD is supported by a medical reason, it is crucial that you take the prescription of a professional with you, as well as the documentation proving that you require the use of marijuana or CBD for health purposes. Check the laws of your destination country regarding this prior to travelling, as your home country’s prescription may not be valid over there. Find out if you need to take a special authorisation with you, or if there are specific requirements at your holiday destination.

Packaging and transport of cannabis or CBD at airports

You may face extensive searches at Customs and airport controls, so it’s important you keep your cannabis or CBD in its original sealed container, making sure it’s clearly labelled, with the amount contained clearly indicated. Clarity and transparency will assist the authorities in certifying the legality of the product. In addition, CBD oil bottles usually contain 10 ml, so they’re within the limit of liquids that can be carried on board.

Conscious traveller: respecting the local culture and laws

Respecting the culture and laws of your destination is essential, however different they may be. Even if you disagree with the country’s cannabis regulation, you must still follow it to avoid severe penalties, including imprisonment.

It is important to remember that every time you visit a country with a new culture, you are an ambassador for your own country: there’s no doubt that respect is the best letter of introduction. So now that you know a little more about the complexity of travelling to other countries carrying cannabis or CBD, we can only wish you a happy trip filled with great cannabis vibes!

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.

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