It is understandable that medical cannabis patients feel uncertain when it comes to travelling with their prescriptions. Every country has its own rules, and whilst medical and recreational use has been legalised in some areas, in others cannabis remains illegal. With that in mind, this article provides some top tips to those hoping to travel both nationally and internationally with their medication. Unfortunately, it is important to note that these are only tips, and even if the guidance is followed, travellers may still encounter issues/face arrest. Therefore, the decision to travel with medical cannabis is made at the traveller’s risk.
Travel within the UK
Despite medical cannabis being legal in the UK, travellers still face barriers when moving around the country with their medication. To make journeys as stress-free as possible, travellers should keep their medication within the prescription container. As well as this, it’s always a good idea to keep digital and physical copies of any relevant paperwork, such as the original prescription, and have the prescribing clinician’s phone number to hand, just in case.
The legality of cannabis differs from country to country, so it’s essential to check the status of medical cannabis in the destination country. The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society recommends that a simple Wikipedia search of the ‘legality of medical cannabis’ in a given country should help to answer any burning questions. However, travellers should also check with the embassy of the destination country for specific guidance.
Travellers should follow the same steps as per the national guidance, with copies of relevant paperwork kept close to hand. Often countries will require a letter of proof to be shown at the border, this must include:
- The traveller’s name
- Date of birth
- The countries entered and length of stay
- List of medication, quantity transported, strength, and doses
- Name of health condition the prescription is treating
- The signature of the specialist prescriber
If travellers have any uncertainties, it is always worth getting in contact with the embassy directly and making a request to travel into the country with medical cannabis.
Importantly, if transferring flights, travellers must check the legality of medical cannabis in the country they are stopping over in. For example, many flights connect via Dubai, where cannabis is currently illegal.
If returning back to the UK, travellers must check the requirements and guidance for bringing a controlled substance back into the country.
Take Home Messages
Taking this into account, the top tips for transporting medical cannabis are:
- Keep all medication in prescription containers
- Keep digital and physical copies of all relevant paperwork, e.g. the prescription
- Have the prescribing clinician’s phone number handy
If travelling abroad:
- Check with the embassy of the destination country and any layover countries
- Have a letter of proof ready to be shown at the border