Article by Scott Johnstone, Lift News
With federal legalization still more than half a year away, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (or CATSA—the agency responsible for airport baggage screening at security checkpoints) is already experiencing growing pains from the increasing crowds of Canadians bringing legal cannabis on flights. To ease the burden this is causing on airport personnel and local police detachments, CATSA is updating its screening policy for cannabis travellers.
Francophone news outlet TVA reports a bulletin was issued to front-line supervisors at CATSA stating that as of October, if cannabis is found by screening agents, the police will only be called in cases when the amount is larger than what would fit into a 1L bottle, or when the cannabis is abandoned.
Ambiguity remains with regards to whether the term ‘abandoned’ includes cases where a traveller with cannabis fails to produce adequate documentation to prove they are licensed, and surrenders the cannabis to screening agents, or whether the term is limited to cases where cannabis is found abandoned and without owner. At press time no response had been received to Lift’s request for clarification.
The policy change is presented as a means of mitigating the increasing burden faced by both law enforcement and airport security personnel in coping with the rapid influx in recent years of Canadians flying with legal medical cannabis.
“There’s been an exponential increase,” CATSA spokesperson Suzanne Perseo told TVA, “in the number of cannabis-positive screenings or declarations of cannabis prescribed for medical purposes, which makes the work of screening officers increasingly problematic when it comes to distinguishing between legal, illegal, and smuggled cannabis.”