Calgary travellers likely became the first in Canadian history to ingest marijuana using a vaporizer aboard a commercial flight earlier this month.
The group of four, which coincidentally enough were heading to a conference regarding medical marijuana use in Toronto, boarded a WestJet flight June 2 with a vaporizer and proceeded to use it throughout the flight without any hassle from flight attendants or fellow passengers.
“I just used it in my seat,” said group member Lisa Kirkman. “They don’t produce any smoke. That’s kind of the reason this can be done. There’s no combustion involved.”
All of the users aboard the flight are licensed by Health Canada to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. They carry documentation that allows them to pass through security with the drugs.
Kirkman had recently undergone intestinal surgery and was in a great deal of discomfort. She called ahead to WestJet to confirm whether she would be able to use the device.
“I wouldn’t have been able to go without it,” she said. “It’s a long flight.
“I wasn’t breaking any laws . . . if you can use an inhaler on the plane there’s no reason why I can’t use my vaporizer.”
Kirkman also inquired about using the device aboard and Air Canada flight, but they were less accomodating, she said.
Representatives with Transportation Canada said this was the first incidence of a vaporizer being used aboard a plane they were aware of. Earlier this afternoon, they were still consulting with experts on air travel regulations about whether the practice was acceptable.
WestJet is also looking into the matter, said spokesperson Robert Palmer.
“At the moment, we do not have a policy and I believe this is the first instance of a guest asking to use such a device,” he said. “For this reason, we are looking for guidance from Transport Canada as to the best approach going forward.”