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What Does Legalized Cannabis Mean for Travel Insurance?

Emergency Travel Medical and Cannabis Tips

Cannabis for recreational purposes is legal in Canada today. But what does this mean for travelers? Under the Cannabis Act, the regulation of cannabis in Canada will not change Canada’s border rules. Taking cannabis into or out of Canada is still illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties. This applies even when you are travelling to or from places that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis.

Emergency Medical Insurance and Cannabis

Review your travel insurance documents carefully if you use cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes. For some insurers, coverage may or may not be available depending on the circumstances under which a claim is made under the influence of cannabis:

  • If a claim arises due to the abuse/misuse of cannabis, then the claim would be denied, whether or not it was legal in the country or US State in which you are travelling.

  • If the cannabis was recommended by a doctor and was taken for medicinal purposes (and not being abused/misused), then a related claim may be covered, whether or not it’s legal in the location the claim occurred (provided stability requirements are met).

  • If cannabis is used for recreational purposes (no mention of medicinal use in any medical records), and not being abused/misused, the claim would be determined by whether or not it’s legal in the location where the emergency happened:

  • If legal, then the claim may be covered.

  • If illegal, the claim would be denied.

  • A claim would be denied for a medical cannabis prescription to get filled because it’s currently available over the counter, which is typically not covered.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

A trip cancellation claim would be denied if the traveler tried to cross the border and was denied entry because they’re banned, due to previous cannabis declaration. This is not a covered risk of trip cancellation policies.

Many people rely on coverage provided by credit cards or other embedded contract. It is important to understand the limitations of that coverage by reviewing it carefully. If in doubt, we recommend obtaining pre-trip counselling from your insurer to clarify any issues surrounding your planned use of cannabis while travelling.


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