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Here's How Americans Can Get Their Hands On Legal Canadian Weed

Weed is now legal in Canada, so come on up and see the sights.

Posted on October 17, 2018, at 4:03 p.m. ET

John Woods / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Now that recreational weed is legal in Canada, Americans may be asking themselves how they can get in on the action.

The good news is that non-Canadians are very much permitted to partake in legal cannabis. The bad news is that it’s not going to be nearly as fun and easy as anyone would like.

Here’s a breakdown.

Choose your destination wisely

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to hit up any Canadian city and easily find legal weed for sale.

Each province and territory was allowed to make their own rules about how pot is being sold. Some have stores you can visit, and some don’t.

If you’re going to Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, you’re not going to have much luck. Right now, Ontario only has online sales on the Ontario Cannabis Store website.

This will only work out if you’re staying somewhere that can take deliveries, and you’re able to wait the one to three days for delivery. (It’s also worth noting that 38,000 orders have already been placed, so initial shipments might be delayed.)

You’d think that Vancouver, British Columbia, would be a veritable buffet of legal pot shops, but you’d be wrong. BC’s only legal store is is Kamloops, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Vancouver.

It’s not exactly hard to find an illegally run dispensary in either Toronto or Vancouver, but you want the legal stuff, right?

Other provinces have brick-and-mortar options, mainly located in major cities. You can see how each province and territory is selling weed here.

Bottom line: Do your research and locate your desired pot shop ahead of time.

John Woods / THE CANADIAN PRESS

You can’t light up just anywhere

You’re allowed to smoke in public in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Quebec, but that’s it. Everywhere else, you need to be in a private residence.

That means you need to plan ahead and stay at a 420-friendly Airbnb or hotel (like Bud and Breakfast) or hope for an invitation to someone’s home.

How to handle the border

It’s really unlikely that a Canadian border agent is going to ask if you plan to get high while visiting, said Henry Chang, a partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP. But it also doesn’t really matter, he said, because it’s a totally legal activity you don’t have to lie about.

“If they’re coming here without any controlled substances and they’re planning on trying it while they’re here, I don’t see any reason why they would run into problems,” Chang told BuzzFeed News.

Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Likewise, if you’re an American citizen, you won’t get in trouble while crossing back into the US simply for having partaken. But again, there’s no reason for it to come up.

If you’re not a citizen, however, you need to be more careful.

“I’m more concerned about someone who’s a permanent resident or a foreign worker,” said Chang. “There I could see more serious problems because they’re subject to the US immigration act.”

There’s also a question around paraphernalia. You can’t bring “instruments or literature” for illicit drug use into Canada, but weed is no longer illicit. But it’s also the early days.

“So even though I think they are probably okay, it might be best for US citizens not to bring bongs or water pipes with them when they come to Canada, just to be safe,” said Chang.

Leave it at home

Under no circumstances should you try to bring weed across the border, in either direction. You will get in trouble.

And no, it doesn’t matter if weed is legal in your state. Just don’t do it.


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