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Australians love to travel both within and outside of Australia. Carrying medicinal cannabis can create feelings of uncertainty, given the lack of knowledge in the general community including those responsible for keeping us safe in airports, shipping terminals, bus and train stations.

Generally, there is no test for CBD products, however, THC products can be detected by sniffer dogs and drug tests at airports.

Planning ahead will reduce anxiety about carrying medicinal cannabis across borders and ensure you are following the laws of the country you are leaving.

When travelling interstate

Each Australian state and territory has specific requirements about carrying Schedule 8 and other restricted medications across borders; some require a script written by a local medical practitioner to lawfully possess that product. Queensland and Tasmania have additional requirements for CBD products even though they are not Schedule 8 drugs.

If in doubt about what is required contact the local state or territory health department.

Carrying medicinal cannabis interstate when travelling by aeroplane has not been tested in a court of law, however, it is generally accepted that medicinal cannabis, as a prescribed medication in the original packaging, will be exempt from confiscation and prosecution for patients travelling between states.

Travelling out of Australia

There are very few restrictions about the medications or medical devices you can take out of Australia. It is important, however, to check if they are permitted to be brought into your country of destination, as well as any country where you will be ‘in transit’. At this point in time it is difficult to fly internationally carrying medicinal cannabis, even if it has been prescribed, as it remains a restricted product in most countries.

Before you leave Australia you should contact the Embassy or Consulate of the countries you intend to visit. Each country has its own required documentation for customs clearance when carrying medicinal cannabis.

Always carry a letter from your doctor stating the name of the medicine, how much you are taking and that it is for your personal use. Keep the medicine in the original packaging for easy identification.

If you will be away for more than three months, ask your doctor about accessing more medicines overseas as not all medicines are available in all countries.

Travelling into Australia

To bring any medicinal cannabinoid therapy into Australia for personal use you will require what is called a ‘Travellers Exemption’, meaning you must have a medical prescription from a medical practitioner. It is important to note that the standard of documentation for obtaining medicinal cannabis in some counties will not meet the Australian requirements. Foreign documents such as a ‘medicinal cannabis licence’ or a ‘documented recommendation’ will not be sufficient to bring the medicine into Australia.

It is important to keep the medication in the original packaging labelled by the dispensing pharmacist. A copy of the medical prescription should be carried with the medication. Up to three months’ supply may be brought into Australia for personal use and can be carried by the individual or a parent or carer. It is important to check how much medicinal cannabis can be taken out of the country from which you are departing. Although you can bring three months’ worth of medicinal cannabis into Australia, you can only take one months’ worth out of Canada and nothing out of the United States of America.

Also, if you are ‘in transit’ in another country it is important to check the regulations about carrying medicinal cannabis; some countries have very strict laws which attract significant jail terms for possessing a drug that is not permitted in that jurisdiction.
  • Always carry medicinal cannabis in the original packaging dispensed from the pharmacist
  • Carry a medical prescription with the medicine
  • Carry a letter from your doctor stating the name, dose and personal usage of the medicine
  • Only bring up to three months’ worth into Australia
  • Check how much you are permitted to take out of the country you are leaving
  • Check the legal requirements for each country you are travelling to, as well as any country where you are ‘in transit’
  • Before leaving, contact the Embassy or Consulate of each country you are visiting for their rules and regulations
  • For further information visit the Therapeutic Goods Administration

Travelling with Medical Cannabis

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