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Can you bring your medical cannabis with you when travelling through Europe?

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         Woman backpacking with medical marihuana on prescription


Many expect cannabis legality to spread across Europe in the coming years. As this happens, medical cannabis users will need to know if it is legal to carry cannabis with them during business and leisure travel around Europe. Unfortunately, as cannabis enjoys its first few years of emerging international legality, the laws allowing safe travel with cannabis still have a long way to go. If you want to travel with cannabis, do your research very carefully to ensure that you don’t find yourself in trouble.

 

Cannabis in Europe

Medical cannabis may be available and legal in several different EU countries, but that doesn't mean that there are harmonious laws across the EU permitting travelling with cannabis. In fact, it’s fair to say that a huge amount of work still needs to be done. Yes, you can take cannabis with you in Europe. But the responsibility is with you to check the laws in the countries you are travelling to. You will also need to ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork and have fully liaised with the countries that you plan to visit. But be warned, the bureaucracy is tedious and very time consuming.

 

Travelling between EU Schengen countries with medical cannabis

If you are travelling between Schengen countries then you will need to fill in an application form. The Dutch version is here. More information is available here, note that it will take around 4 weeks for your application to be processed. So, if you are thinking of travelling with legal medical cannabis in the EU you will need to plan well ahead. Don't expect to arrange a last minute holiday and be able to take an ounce of homegrown and some hash with you the following day. If you are travelling outside of the Schengen countries it is likely that you will need a Doctors letter and a medication passport.


travelling-with-cannabis-what-is-allowed-in-europe



Paperwork and bureaucracy

It is strongly recommended that you also contact the embassy of the country to which you are travelling to further discuss the matter. This is usually just a simple email or phone call, followed up with a reply a short time later. This may seem like a lot of hassle, but it is a fraction of the hassle you will receive for being caught with unapproved medication overseas. Many medical cannabis users simply don't travel if they can’t take their cannabis with them. For some people, the ability to access cannabis is far more important than the choice of country they wish to visit for a holiday. Some medical cannabis users will arrange their holiday according to the cannabis legality in the country they wish to visit.

 

Can you travel with homegrown medical cannabis in the EU?

Although many medical cannabis users grow their own cannabis from feminized seeds and autoflower seeds, that doesn't mean you can take it with you overseas. In fact, only 4 specific types of cannabis products are regarded as authorized. These are shown in the table below.

 

Brand Name

Description

Medical uses

Type of product

Sativex (Nabiximols)

1:1 THC:CBD oral spray

Multiple sclerosis

Oral spray

Marinol

Synthetic THC

MS, Cancer, AIDS

Gelatin capsule

Cesamet (Nabilone)

Synthetic THC type compound

Cancer

Capsule

Bedrocan

Cannabis buds/flowers

Numerous!

Cured flower buds in various THC/CBD strengths.

 

As can be seen from the formal guidelines, this severely restricts the type of cannabis you can carry. If you want to take cannabis flowers/buds with you, they have to be Bedrocan. That is likely to change in future as the laws modernise and cannabis become available from new European producers. But for now, if you want to travel in the EU with cannabis products you have limited options. What’s worse, there is plenty of mandatory paperwork in order to guarantee your freedom from harassment. Don't expect to be able to travel freely around the EU with your favourite homegrown, your hash stash, shatter or any other type of unapproved cannabis extract.



medical-marihuana-and-travelling-through-europe-by-airplane


Other options for medical cannabis users travelling in the EU

Smuggling cannabis is a risk that can ruin any holiday. But some medical users are prepared to take that risk. Clearly much depends on the country you are visiting. Some countries will confiscate small amounts. Others will be happy to ruin your holiday, and some will be happy to lock you up too. Perhaps a better option is to plan your holidays/travels to countries with cannabis available to buy when you arrive.

 

Spain & The Netherlands. Easy local access to quality cannabis

Spain has a network of cannabis social clubs which offer cannabis at reasonable prices once you register and join. The Barcelona region is particularly well supplied with social clubs. The Netherlands is one of Europe’s oldest and most famous destinations for cannabis lovers. The Amsterdam area in particular has many well respected coffee shops which are noted for serving high quality cannabis. Cannabis users travelling to North America will find Canada a most welcoming host, with legal recreational and medical cannabis. The USA has legalized recreational/medical cannabis in around half of the states. Be sure to check before you visit and select a legal state for your travels!

 

September 3rd 2019

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