The CBC has obtained a number of complaints filed to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, several of them dealing with passengers attempting to fly with medical cannabis.
One complainant wrote to the agency that their son had declared his medical cannabis during screening, resulting in a police presence.
“This is a prescribed medication and you need to have a clear policy on this,” the complaint stated. “There are hundreds of prescribed narcotics that go [through] screening every hour and they are not subjected to this kind of treatment, requiring an RCMP officer to attend the screening process to review the prescription documentation for a small amount of prescribed medication.”
The cannabis was eventually let on the the plane but attendants said the son should have packed his cannabis in his checked luggage even though the government’s travel website directs patients to include it in their carry-on.
Another complainant who revealed he was traveling with medical cannabis wrote that both the attending security officer and supervisor didn’t know the proper procedure, calling in three police officers after a 45-minute wait.
The security authority told CBC that “screening officers do not have the authority to accept or refuse Health Canada documentation on the use of marijuana” and airport security need to alert police when they find cannabis of any kind on passengers or in baggage.
The agency’s website does not mention medical cannabis specifically, but advises that all medication is packed into a passenger’s carry-on, and held in an easily accessible location.
“Documentation to support your medical needs or condition is not required; however, if you feel that it would help ease your screening, it should be presented to the screening officer along with your medically necessary items,” the website states.