A Calgary medical marijuana user is calling for better education around travelling with the medication after hers was confiscated by Greyhound.
Grace McKenzie was making a trip from Calgary to Edmonton this week when she told a Greyhound employee that she was carrying her prescribed medication from a licensed producer approved by Health Canada.
"I talked to the security guard and he told me I wasn't allowed to take it because I didn't have a medical card," said McKenzie.
McKenzie says she had the marijuana in the original container with her patient information on it along with a photo ID, which is all she needs to carry it legally. She says she thought she was doing the right thing by approaching security before the boarding process started to explain what was in her backpack ahead of any bag searches.
"I told them I don't need a medical card because the licensed producer I'm with doesn't give medical cards. They told me when I got my medical licence that my licence was my container and that as long as it was in my container with my prescription on the side of it and a matching ID then I was OK to board with it."
Police couldn't help
McKenzie says she called Calgary police but they couldn't help with the situation.
"I was upset and worried. I got my medical licence for anxiety, depression and chronic back pain and I had to come to Edmonton with no medicine."
McKenzie says even though medical marijuana has been legal for a long time in Canada, there's still a long way to go when it comes to education.
"I just really want them to be educated so people with their licences can freely travel with it. We're not illegal smugglers or anything. We're just trying to travel with our medicine and we should have the right to do that."
Air travel OK
Canadians have been flying to and from airports across the country with medical marijuana for a while now, with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority providing guidance to passengers travelling with prescription cannabis on its website.
Under the "What can I bring?" section, it includes medical marijuana in both carry-on and checked baggage and offers this advice: "If you are travelling with medical marijuana, be prepared to show medical documentation. In airports where police are present, they will be called to verify your documents."
McKenzie's licensed producer, Quebec-based Hydropothecary Corporation, offers guidelines to its customers on travelling with medical marijuana.
"Hydropothecary recommends that our clients carry a piece of photo identification, as well as the original medical marijuana packaging with the authorization label," said Maxime Cyr, the company's director of customer experience and compliance.
"If a client is concerned about possible delays when travelling with their medication, it is advisable to alert the travel company prior to departure, so that the company can identify any concerns in advance."
He says when an individual travels with medical marijuana and questions arise about their medical marijuana authorization, law enforcement authorities should be contacted.
"These authorities can then contact the licensed provider to confirm the validity of the client registration with the licensed producer," Cyr added.
In a statement, Greyhound said they are looking into why McKenzie's marijuana was taken away.
"If a customer has the proper Health Canada documentation, we will allow them to travel with medical marijuana. We're currently looking into what happened and why the customer's medical marijuana was confiscated."
McKenzie said she will continue to try to get her medication back from the company.
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