What happens when you bring 2.5kg of hash rosin through airport security in Canada?

| David Brown

Gord Nichol says it was an educational opportunity for airport security and law enforcement when he was transporting several kilograms of cannabis hash rosin through the Saskatoon airport on Friday. 

Nichol, the founder of North 40 Cannabis, a micro cannabis licence holder in Saskatchewan, says that when he declared the presence of 2.5 kilograms of hash rosin in his carry-on that airport authorities were unsure of how to proceed. 

He was transporting the recently-produced hash from his facility in Saskatchewan to Vancouver to escort it to an electron beam (E-beam) sterilization processor in British Columbia, before heading back to Saskatchewan the next day. 

Nichol says that although the flower had passed microbial testing without the need for sterilization or irradiation—something he is quite proud of— because of the hash product being so highly concentrated, there were concerns that it would not pass testing. 

“Apparently you can’t condense three rooms of trichomes into hash rosin without any telltale microbials.”

Once he informed the authorities at the airport about the presence of the legal hash, he said they had to call a supervisor, who eventually said they had to call Saskatoon police to get their take on the issue. Eventually, after reviewing the paperwork, the police and airport authorities decided everything looked in order, and allowed Nichol to pass through. 

“She (the Saskatoon police officer who responded to the call) checked out all the paperwork and said it looked good but she didn’t really know what to do. She asked if there was anyone she could call at Health Canada to confirm and I laughed and told her ‘I’ve had my licence for about a year and still don’t have a phone number for anyone, but I can give you their email. They usually get back to you usually between three weeks and three months’.”

Nichol says that they all gathered around to watch it pass through security to see what it showed up like on the x-ray machine. 

“It was definitely a teachable moment. I guess they all wanted to see what hash looked like on the screens.”

He says the experience overall was positive, and somewhat funny. 

“It wasn’t a negative experience. Slightly comical due to two federal agencies not knowing the legality of the situation. I’m not at all pissed at them, we all laughed in the end.”

The cost of running a batch of cannabis through a sterilization service is around $1,500-$2,000. Cannabis licence holders must ensure that cannabis being transferred in this way has it escorted by an authorized person. Although Nichol says he could have outsourced it to another agency, he said it was simply easier to do it himself, plus gave him a chance to briefly visit BC. Although there are other facilities in the country that offer such services, he says BC was just a better destination. 

“I’d rather come to the West Coast than Ontario.”