Vapes On a Plane

CANNABIS CULTURE - Flying the pot-friendly skies just got a little easier, now that it's been confirmed that Health Canada-licensed medicinal cannabis consumers are able to legally consume marijuana both in the airports while waiting for their flights and while on the plane during the flight.

At the end of May 2011, as a license-holder, I took it upon myself to clear up any ambiguities in regards to where and when I'm able to medicate.

Up until this point, we could only speculate as to what exactly the policies were of the corporations and agencies we deal with when we choose air travel. At various times, cardholders have been hassled going through security, as CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) agents haven't been trained to recognize either the MMAR card or paper licenses. The old policy stood that even if the cannabis is legal, if it's found amongst your carry-on items, a report would have to be made, sometimes involving police stationed in the airport – and it could take up to a good twenty minutes to work through the process. Often insensitive agents pull out bags of medicine to display for the entire security area, remarking at the scent and/or asking what strain it is. After the last time this happened to me, the CATSA representative for Calgary International Airport suggested that I file a complaint in order to get the policy changed.

"Believe me, our agents would much rather just see the card and wave you through without the hassle, so if enough complaints are made, the policy can be changed."

Whether or not there were several complaints, my complaint was voiced and heard and so I was contacted by a CATSA representative this week, informing me that the policy is indeed changing and that a memo to that effect will be circulated nationwide within the month. This memo/newsletter will explain to CATSA agents about the new policy of recognizing MMAR cards/paper licenses (pictures of the cards will be provided to them) and explain that filing a report when they come across one isn't necessary. There will be special notes made regarding the professional, courteous conduct required when an agent does come across marijuana; this medicine is to be treated as they would any other prescription medication. Agents don't pull out your Viagra and comment on it, so therefore, the same should be true for your pot.

So now that we know we can bring our meds with us through security, what about consuming them in the airport? That's the bailiwick of each individual airport authority, so I called the two airports I was dealing with, YYC (Calgary) and YYZ (Toronto). I asked both if there was any reason why I wouldn't be able to use my vaporizer once I’m past security and they said, "As long as you can find a plug…"

This left the last piece of the puzzle: could I vape on the plane itself?

The airlines themselves control what happens on their planes, so I called up one of the notoriously friendly WestJet agents and posed the question. I explained what a vaporizer is used for and how it works and after checking with a supervisor, she confirmed that as long as the device was battery-operated (there are no plugs on WestJet planes and you can't burn butane on them, either) and I was using it during the times when I would normally be able to use an electronic device (not during take-off or landing), I was free to medicate as needed.

This news came none too soon, because I arrived for my flight to Toronto for the Treating Yourself Expo absolutely sick as a dog. After intestinal surgery and a stomach bug, I was looking so bad, WestJet wasn't going to let me board the flight. Thanks to my fellow cardholding traveling companions, the Fagins & Rob Blair, I was able to set up my Zephyr and vape myself into feeling and looking good enough to get on the plane, over the course of about an hour-and-a-half.

Once on the plane and in the air, the NO2 vaporizer was packed with the much-needed AK47 and I was able to periodically relieve my nausea throughout the over-three-hour flight, becoming the first person to legally and openly vape on a plane. I suppose high at 30,000+ feet is about as high as anyone's ever gotten on a commercial airline without medibles.

On the flight back to Calgary, I joined the new Mile High Club once again by availing myself of a Launch Box vaporizer provided to me by Dom Cramer, owner of the Toronto Hemp Company (thank you to Tracy Curley for arranging it).

Unfortunately, after contacting Air Canada about their policies surrounding vaporization, I am not as encouraged. Not only did I wait several hours to speak with an agent, Air Canada claimed that, "…it’s not on our list of things you can bring on the plane, so therefore it’s probably not allowed on the plane." This reasoning is, of course, ridiculous. So I encourage all cardholders to contact Air Canada themselves and demand that the same courtesy given to WestJet fliers be given to those traveling on Air Canada. In fact, I encourage everyone to contact any and all domestic airlines and find out their policy about vaping on a plane.

I can honestly say that without the ability to consume my medicine on a fairly continual basis, I would not have been able to make this past trip. I know of many med pot patients who could never before even consider travel that would keep them away from their medicine for such an extended period of time as a cross-country flight, or even a two-hour wait to board the flight. Bravo to the forward-thinkers at WestJet, CATSA and the various airport authorities.

Happy travels.

Remo the Urban Grower interviews me about vaping on the plane:


Comments

WestJet: The Official Airline of Medicinal Cannabis Consumers

This is the email I got from WestJet after I sent them a thank you comment for being so frikken cool:

Thank you for contacting WestJet online regarding your recent experience and thank you for brightening our day with your thoughtful feedback.

On behalf of WestJet, I hope you are feeling okay after your recent flight. Every WestJetter is important in making our guests‚ experiences the best it can be. It is wonderful to hear that we were able to provide such excellent service. We are grateful for both positive and negative feedback, but comments such as yours truly encourage all of us to do our WestJet best every day. I have happily passed your letter on to our Team Leaders.

Thank you again for contacting us. On behalf of WestJet I wish you all the best and hope that we can welcome you back onboard with us in the future.

Best Regards,

Brie - Guest Relations Specialist
WestJet Airlines

???

and i highly doubt shes the first person ever to vape on a plane, its called the bathroom where most usually did before, mostly out of probly being scared.

also wouldnt that stink up the plane, some people HATE the smell and possibly get people second hand high ? when they dont want to be.

were there children on board ? because thats a big no no if there was, i love pot but smoking infront of kids is wrong, even vaping.

It's not really smoking...

It's not really smoking... It doesn't give off big clouds of smoke, and the smell hardly lingers at all. Definitely won't get anyone high off 2nd hand vapours, lol. I completely agree about your kid statement though - out of sight, out of mind!

No offense intended, but you

No offense intended, but you seem to be strangely critical of this article for no apparent reason.

Did you know you could openly vape pot on a plane?

Did you participate in changing air travel policy to make is easier for patients to get their medicine through security?

She stated she was the first person to "legally and openly" vape on a plane. Vaping in the bathroom, whether legal or not, is not open.

Also, the perception that medicating with MMJ around children is unacceptable, or "a big no no" as you put it, but taking other doctor recommended medication if front of children is fine should be on of the things that people involved with MMJ should be working to change, not perpetuate.

I smoke where my kids see

I smoke where my kids see me. And dont plan on stopping. You can lie to your kids all you want about what you do. My children are given all the proper info to make educated choices.

My children have been

My children have been brought up with me smoking all my life, and each have made the choice to not imbibe, 'cept my daughter who has a few hits from time to time which help her with her Lupus flares.I too am not ashamed of my habit, and strive to enlighten all around me as to the healing properties of the weed.

Easy to spot Troll.

Thanks Troll!

She has crazy eyes

"Not only did I wait several hours to speak with an agent"

Wow you must have zero life. You waited on the phone for hours to whine about not being able get high on a plane? And you think you are like the rosa parks of weed now? If some stupid bitch blew smoke, oh sorry "vapour" on my kids on a plane she would be eating that machine. But she doesnt care about the other people on the plane, her selfish needs come first. You really think she cant fly a few hours without getting high on the plane? Its also funny how she cries security commented on her weed, but then cant wait to show every person in the lounge and every person on the plane her weed being used. How come diabetics are always respectful of other people not wanting to see them shoot up, but you people need to blow smoke on everyone?

With Stupid People come Stupid Comments

This last comment just shows how very stupid some people can be "not even worth wasting my breathe on." These same people who think of medicinal marijuana as something being dangerous are the same people who probably warm their cars on cold winter days in the attached garages turning their kids stupider by the day! Ha!
Awesome of Calgary WestJet & Toronto .
Way to Go Lisa for being the front runner. ;-)

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