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Flying The Pot-Friendly Skies Just Got A Little Easier

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Flying the pot-friendly skies just got a little easier



By Lisa Mamakind, Cannabis Culture



Sunday, June 12 2011







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



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



Up until this point, we could only speculate as to whatexactly the policies were of the corporations and agencies we deal with when wechoose air travel. At various times, cardholders have been hassled goingthrough security, as CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) agentshaven't been trained to recognize either the MMAR card or paper licenses. Theold policy stood that even if the cannabis is legal, if it's found amongst yourcarry-on items, a report would have to be made, sometimes involving policestationed in the airport – and it could take up to a good twenty minutes towork through the process. Often insensitive agents pull out bags of medicine todisplay for the entire security area, remarking at the scent and/or asking whatstrain it is. After the last time this happened to me, the CATSA representativefor Calgary International Airport suggested that I file a complaint in order toget the policy changed.



"Believe me, our agents would much rather just see thecard 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 complaintwas voiced and heard and so I was contacted by a CATSA representative thisweek, informing me that the policy is indeed changing and that a memo to thateffect will be circulated nationwide within the month. This memo/newsletterwill explain to CATSA agents about the new policy of recognizing MMARcards/paper licenses (pictures of the cards will be provided to them) andexplain that filing a report when they come across one isn't necessary. Therewill be special notes made regarding the professional, courteous conductrequired when an agent does come across marijuana; this medicine is to betreated as they would any other prescription medication. Agents don't pull outyour Viagra and comment on it, so therefore, the same should be true for yourpot.



So now that we know we can bring our meds with us throughsecurity, what about consuming them in the airport? That's the bailiwick ofeach individual airport authority, so I called the two airports I was dealingwith, YYC (Calgary) and YYZ (Toronto). I asked both if there was any reason whyI 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 theplane itself?



The airlines themselves control what happens on theirplanes, so I called up one of the notoriously friendly WestJet agents and posedthe question. I explained what a vaporizer is used for and how it works andafter checking with a supervisor, she confirmed that as long as the device wasbattery-operated (there are no plugs on WestJet planes and you can't burnbutane on them, either) and I was using it during the times when I wouldnormally 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 myflight to Toronto for the Treating Yourself Expo absolutely sick as a dog.After intestinal surgery and a stomach bug, I was looking so bad, WestJetwasn't going to let me board the flight. Thanks to my fellow cardholdingtraveling companions, the Fagins & Rob Blair, I was able to set up myZephyr and vape myself into feeling and looking good enough to get on theplane, over the course of about an hour-and-a-half.



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



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



Unfortunately, after contacting Air Canada about theirpolicies surrounding vaporization, I am not as encouraged. Not only did I waitseveral hours to speak with an agent, Air Canada claimed that, "…it’s noton our list of things you can bring on the plane, so therefore it’s probablynot allowed on the plane." This reasoning is, of course, ridiculous. So Iencourage all cardholders to contact Air Canada themselves and demand that thesame 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 findout their policy about vaping on a plane.



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



Happy travels.


By Lisa Mamakind, Cannabis Culture


Posted by


Michael Komorn




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