Last updated: September 21, 2020
Canada legalized the use of recreational cannabis in October 2018, but delivery providers have had a longer period of time to prepare for shipping cannabis. The road to cannabis legalization started back in 2001, when Canada allowed mail-ordered medical cannabis. This was a service that required strict handling regulations throughout the supply chain. Now, logistics providers can use many of those shipping regulations to comply with the additional shipments contributed by The Cannabis Act.1 Fast forward to 2019, Health Canada has added cannabis extracts, cannabis topicals, and edible cannabis to The Cannabis Act – bringing a need for further regulations to be implemented.
The legalization of cannabis has sparked a variety of questions for Canadian businesses and customers alike. Abrar Suri, Strategic Account Manager at Purolator, breaks down these new regulations to answer your questions on how to comply with The Cannabis Act.
Firstly, what should you know about mailing cannabis?
Health Canada has put strict regulations in place for the delivery of cannabis to ensure its security in transit. As a business, customer or simply as a Canadian, by informing yourself of these regulations, you’ll secure yourself a trouble-free process.
How has COVID-19 impacted the delivery of cannabis throughout Canada?
While retail cannabis stores throughout the country closed during COVID-19 lockdown, government officials announced that the delivery of cannabis products would be available to Canadians during the pandemic. The provision of cannabis delivery is contingent on retailers continuing to comply with all laws and regulations that ensure cannabis is not sold or delivered to anyone under legal age limits established by the provinces.
What businesses can ship cannabis to individuals?
Medicinally, only a licensed producer – approved by Health Canada – can ship medical cannabis to patients registered on Health Canada’s network.
Recreationally, each province has a different distribution plan, outlined in the chart below. Canadians also have the option of buying online and having cannabis products shipped directly to them.
|Private licensed stores
Can individuals mail cannabis to another individual?
Yes, individuals can mail cannabis to another individual, as long as it was purchased from a licensed producer or grown at home.
Can you ship cannabis with any courier?
Yes, you can ship cannabis with any courier, as long as it was purchased from a licensed producer or grown at home.
Can you ship cannabis extracts, cannabis topicals, and edible cannabis with any courier?
Yes, you can ship cannabis extracts, cannabis topicals, and edible cannabis with any courier, as long as the product was purchased from a licensed producer.
How much cannabis can you ship at one time?
There are different limits on the amount of cannabis you can ship, depending on the product type.
|Recreational cannabis (including extracts, topicals, and edibles)
|30 times the patients’ daily prescription
|4 plants per household
Exception: prohibited in Manitoba and Quebec
Exception: prohibited in Manitoba and Quebec
Can you ship cannabis across provinces?
Yes, you can ship cannabis from province-to-province. However, you may not ship cannabis plants and seeds to Manitoba and Quebec.
Can you ship cannabis to the U.S. in states where it is legal?
No. Even though certain states in the U.S. have legalized cannabis, it is illegal to ship cannabis outside of Canada. You can face serious penalties both in Canada and the U.S. In Canada, cannabis is a Schedule I substance. Your penalty will depend on the intent of your shipment and the amount of cannabis enclosed. Offenders can be liable for a fine or even years of imprisonment.
Can you take cannabis into the U.S., where it is legal, and deliver by hand?
No. It’s illegal to cross the border while in possession of any amount of cannabis. You can face serious penalties both in Canada and the U.S. In Canada, cannabis is a Schedule I substance. Your penalty will depend on your intent and the amount of cannabis in your possession. Offenders can be liable for a fine or even years of imprisonment.
What are the packaging and labeling requirements for mailing cannabis?
Health Canada has strict regulations on cannabis deliveries to ensure its safe transit. All deliveries must follow these packaging and labeling requirements:
- Child-proof. Products must have child-resistant packaging.
- Excise stamp. Every product must have an excise stamp affixed on the packaging. This stamp is proof that the required duties were paid to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It can also serve as the security seal.
- Odourless. Use a plastic container or vacuum-sealed bag to stop odour from escaping. To prevent odour from absorbing into your outer packaging, keep them in a separate room from your cannabis products.
- Security feature. Apply a security seal on the product to assure consumers that the product has not been opened prior to purchase.
- Unmarked shipment packaging. The shipment packaging must not provide any indication of its contents.
Does cannabis have any specific declaration or mailing requirements?
Yes, couriers need proof of age and an adult signature from the recipient.
What happens if a package isn’t up to the acceptable standard?
If your packaging isn’t up to the acceptable standard, the package will likely be held back, and you’d be contacted. A good delivery provider will give you recommendations to improve your compliance with cannabis shipping regulations. For example, how to reduce the odour and how to ship cannabis safely within the Purolator network.
What recipients need to know about receiving cannabis.
There are some requirements your recipient needs to know about their cannabis delivery. Communicate these requirements in advance and a smooth shipping experience will follow.
How old do you need to be to receive cannabis?
The age restriction for receiving cannabis varies, province by province. Below we’ve listed out the legal age required by province to purchase and receive cannabis.
|BC, MB, NB, NL, NT, NS, NU, ON, PE, SK, YT
Does cannabis need to be received by the person who ordered it?
No, anybody in the household can receive it as long as they are over the minimum age set by the province.
Does cannabis need to be delivered to a home address?
No, you can deliver cannabis to any Canadian address. The only exception is you cannot send it to a P.O. box because you’ll need to provide proof of age and an adult signature.
Does cannabis always need to be signed for or can it just go in a mailbox?
Cannabis cannot be placed in a mailbox because it requires proof of age and an adult signature before it is handed off to the recipient.
Cannabis shipping regulations are new to Canada and proper packaging is up to you. By getting up-to-speed with Health Canada’s regulations, you can streamline your cannabis shipping experience.
Are you a licensed producer? Purolator can help you enhance your cannabis shipping processes with an on-site visit, tailored advice, and a dedicated representative to support you at any time.