Travelling as a medicinal cannabis patient in Australia: what you need to know

Understand your rights when it comes to travelling with legally prescribed cannabis medications as a patient in Australia.

by

Polln - Emily O.

August 2022

table of contents

5

min read

As a medicinal cannabis patient with a valid, legal prescription, you are entitled to carry your medication between all states and territories in Australia. But before you travel, there are some things to keep in mind to help you carry your medications safely and responsibly.

In this article, we’ll answer your questions about travelling as a medicinal cannabis patient in Australia.

Can I travel interstate with medicinal cannabis in Australia?

As long as you have a legal prescription from a qualified doctor or healthcare practitioner, you are allowed to travel with your prescribed cannabis medications between all states and territories in Australia. This includes all legally prescribed cannabis medication types, including oils, flower, tablets, wafers and more.

Whenever you’re travelling with your cannabis medications, you should keep them in their original packaging with the pharmacy label attached and carry a photo ID which matches the name on the label. It’s also a good idea to have your prescription or approval letter handy should you need to verify your patient status. If you’re a Polln patient, these will be readily available via the ‘Documents’ and ‘Prescription’ sections of your Polln patient dashboard.

Can I fly with medical cannabis in Australia?

Yes. As a patient, you are allowed to carry your medicinal cannabis treatments onboard when flying between states in Australia. Again, just make sure your medication is in its original packaging with the pharmacy label attached and bring photo ID and any relevant scripts and approval letters to support the fact that you are carrying these treatments legally.

If you’re at an airport, you may still encounter sniffer dogs or law enforcement, especially if you’re travelling with cannabis flower. But, as long as you have your valid prescription and proof of patient status with you, you are permitted to travel with those treatments.

Can I bring my medical cannabis in my carry-on luggage or does it need to be checked on domestic flights?

There are no specific guidelines as to whether you should carry your cannabis medication with you onto the cabin or put it in your checked luggage. You may prefer to keep your medications handy in your carry-on baggage in case you need to take them at the airport or during your flight, or if you’re worried about your luggage going missing. Or, you may be comfortable having your medications in your checked luggage. Either way, you still run the risk of being stopped or having your baggage searched, so always ensure you have documentation to support your legal patient status.

There are airline restrictions for travelling with personal vaporisers. Most airlines require these devices to be in your carry-on baggage and prohibit their use and charging during the flight. Check with your airline prior to flying to find out what their rules are for travelling with personal vaporisers.

Can I travel and/or fly with my vape in Australia?

Legally, you are allowed to carry anything that has been prescribed by your doctor for the treatment of your medical condition. While vapes are not prescribed, if you have a legal vaporiser device that has been authorised or recommended for use with your medication by your doctor, you should be okay to travel with this. 

Polln highly recommends that medicinal cannabis patients who are prescribed a flower for vaporisation use one of the devices listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), including the Volcano Medic, Mighty Medic or Mighty+ Medic by Storz & Bickel.

When it comes to flying with your vape, airlines will have specific rules and guidelines around what you can and can’t do. Most airlines require personal vaporiser devices to be in your carry-on baggage and prohibit their use and charging during the flight. Check with your airline prior to flying to find out what their rules are for travelling with personal vaporisers.

Can I consume my medication while I travel in Australia?

If you’re taking a form of cannabis medication that does not need to be vaporised, such as an oil, topical or a wafer tablet, then you can take your medication just as you would any other medication, based on your prescription and treatment plan. This means you shouldn’t encounter any issues when medicating in public, including at the airport, so long as you can verify your legal patient status if needed.

If you’re vaping in a public smoking area, you will just need to be cautious and ensure no one else is around that could inhale your medication vapour by being in proximity to you. As your medication is prescribed for you and you only, you do need to make sure it is not affecting those around you and only vape in non-crowded public smoking areas or in private.

Remember that driving with any amount of THC in your system is currently illegal Australia-wide. So if you are travelling by car or vehicle you will need to ensure you do not have THC in your system.

How should I store my medication while I travel in Australia?

While travelling, it’s always best to keep your medicinal cannabis treatments in their original packaging with the pharmacy label attached. This will ensure that if you are stopped or have your baggage checked, you can verify your patient status by matching your photo ID to the patient name on the pharmacy label and the medication names listed on your prescription can be aligned with those on the packaging.

As much as possible, you should try to maintain the quality and efficacy of your medication by storing your medication correctly while you travel. For cannabis flower, that means minimising exposure to heat, light and air. For all other medication types, that simply means following the storage guidelines on your medication label.

How much medication should I bring while travelling in Australia?

Ensure you have an adequate supply of your medication to cover you for the duration of your trip – based on your dosing and treatment plan – and take into account any delays you may experience.

If you are a Polln patient who needs to access your medication while travelling, you can easily access repeat scripts and arrange express treatment delivery to wherever you are in Australia by using your Polln patient dashboard or contacting the Care Team. You can also book and attend online consultations from wherever you are, in case you need to speak to your doctor on the go. 

Can I travel with medical cannabis internationally?

Because cannabis laws vary so much between countries and states, flying internationally with medical cannabis as a patient can be both difficult and risky. Before you leave Australia you should contact the Embassy or Consulate of the countries you intend to visit, including any countries where you will have a layover between flights, to find out what restrictions they have for travelling with cannabis medicines. Each country has its own required documentation for customs clearance when carrying medicinal cannabis, and some prohibit medical cannabis entirely.

If you will be away for an extended period of time, you should talk to your doctor about whether you will be able to access your medications should you need them while overseas. If you are unable to bring your cannabis treatments with you or access them while on your trip, you can also talk to your doctor about how to navigate being without your treatments for that period of time.

Travelling with MC in Australia checklist 

If you're travelling with medicinal cannabis as a legal patient in Australia, here are the main things to keep in mind:

  • Always ensure you can access a copy of your TGA approval letter or script outlining your list of approved medications, which will have been provided to you by your doctor or cannabis clinic. Make sure you're carrying some form of ID matching the information on this letter.
  • Keep your medication in its original packaging with the pharmacy label attached so that it can be identified as the medication on your approval letter or script.
  • Remember that while you are permitted to have your treatments with you and to travel with them, there may be restrictions on certain cannabis delivery methods, such as vaping in crowded public areas. 
  • Remember any driving restrictions that exist for your prescribed product will apply Australia-wide.
  • Ensure you have an adequate supply of your medication to cover you for the duration of your trip and account for any delays you may experience so you are not left without your medication.
  • If you've purchased cannabis via an online shop or from overseas, it is probably not legal. So, make sure that you’re only travelling with a product that you’ve obtained legally with a prescription from a healthcare professional.

Travelling within Australia as a Polln patient

If you’re a Polln patient, you'll have easy access to all of your medical cannabis services, including prescriptions, online consultations, Australia-wide express treatment delivery and more, from wherever you are in Australia. So, you can rest assured that your patient documents, doctor’s guidance and cannabis treatments are always just a few clicks away.

If you have repeat scripts on file, the Care Team can arrange invoices and express treatment delivery to wherever you are in Australia. While online consultations can easily be accessed on the go should you need to speak with your doctor or arrange new scripts. 

We highly recommend talking to your doctor about travelling with your medications within Australia so you can travel with confidence. All Polln practitioners are experienced cannabis prescribers who can provide guidance specific to your treatment plan and needs when it comes to travelling as a medical cannabis patient.

If you have any concerns about travelling with your prescribed medications or vaporiser, you can also contact the Care Team for further support.

To talk to a doctor about medicinal cannabis treatments, sign up as a Polln patient or book a consultation today.

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