Stories of People Getting Too Stoned on Planes
“There was a moment when I didn’t think I was going to survive.”
Snakes on a Plane (2006) asset via Wikipedia Commons | Art by Noel Ransome.
This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.With weed legalization arriving in less than two months in Canada, there are still many questions to be answered about where you can and can’t be stoned.
One place you can still expect some restrictions is on a plane. You’ll still be able to take it with you if you’re flying domestically, either in a carry-on bag or as checked-in luggage. However, if you’re hoping to take your weed across the border (even if it’s to another jurisdiction where it’s legal), forget about it.
Transport Canada says the Canadian Aviation Regulations that prohibit smoking on board an aircraft will also apply to smoking a joint. But given the lack of clarity around consumables, it’s not clear yet if a weed brownie will eventually appear on the on-board menu alongside, say, Bud Light.
Of course, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for legalization to apply to things like edibles or marijuana-infused beverages, which may not get the government’s official blessing until late 2019. Transport Canada says “it is too early to confirm the full implications for the use and carriage of cannabis products on aircrafts in Canada.”
For now, passengers should probably refrain from digging into their stash in the overhead compartment. But there’s nothing stopping you from getting baked before leaving the boarding gate. Whether or not that’s a good idea… well, maybe these stories of people greening out at 30,000 feet will help you figure that out.
Aiden, 35 and Connor, 34
Aiden: Connor is the resident enabler in our circle. He enjoys getting others high. In the taxi on the way to the airport in Mississauga, Connor insisted I eat weed cookies that he’d made and packed in a freezer bag.
Connor: I don’t think Aiden was comfortable with the idea. I told him I’d done it before two or three times. He had two cookies. He claims he had three or four, but I’m pretty sure it was two. I was trying to be polite, so I brought some milk to help him get the cookies down.
Aiden: I didn’t know what I was getting into. They were enough to make me feel sick. They hadn’t kicked in yet as we passed through security. We had a drink at a bar and I still felt nothing. But at the gate when it was time to board the aircraft and I stood up, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember thinking, Holy shit! This is not like smoking a joint!
Connor: He was starting to go a little white.
Aiden: By the time I got on the plane, I was feeling trapped and claustrophobic. I had the middle seat between Connor and a young woman. I felt overwhelmed with insane cold sweats and motion sickness, even though the plane wasn’t moving.
Connor: That’s when it started getting worse. He started getting more anxious. I tried to get him to listen to music.
Aiden: Connor was trying to calm me down. I plugged in headphones and opera music was playing in my ears. He realized that he’d fucked up. He became apologetic.
Connor: Aiden claims that I gave him opera music but that’s not true. I actually remember what the song was: "On and On" by Orbital.
Aiden: The music was the final straw. I knew what was going to happen next.
Connor: I looked for a puke bag and couldn’t find one. I gave him the plastic sleeve that the on-flight magazine slides into. He threw up—just half of his vomit landed in it. We hadn’t even taken off yet. Everyone around us was disgusted. He freaked out.
Aiden: I puked all over my white shirt and khaki pants. Immediately, I felt relief. I dragged my ass to the bathroom, where I sat on the floor for 20 minutes. I thought, What the fuck am I going to do? I heard banging on the door. I was suddenly aware of my surroundings. I gave myself a pep talk and opened the door.
The flight attendant was nice enough. I assured her I was OK. She moved us to the back of the plane. I went down the aisle with my head down, as though it were a walk of shame. My former seat was smothered with coffee grinds to mask the smell of vomit.
I sat beside Connor, furious. The flight attendant came again. She asked if I’d taken any drugs or alcohol. She was taking notes. I was super paranoid, but I stayed firm. I said I had a major fear of flying and I was feeling sick.
Connor: I remember him telling her that ever since 9/11, he’s been afraid to travel and his nerves overtook him.
Aiden: I passed out for the rest of the flight. I thought surely that someone would be waiting to speak with me and probe further once I got off. No one came, though. I couldn’t wait to get into some fresh clothes and out of the airport, but it seemed like our bags were taking forever to appear on the carousel.
Our friends arrived to pick us up and noticed right away how bad I looked. After dinner, we went to a party, where I eventually passed out.
I was at La Guardia Airport in New York six years ago. I was flying to visit my friend in South Carolina. Someone had mentioned to me that eating an edible before a flight made it more entertaining, so I thought, Why not try it out?
I ate it right before I got to security. I wanted it to kick in once I was safely on the flight.
The plane took off and it was definitely kicking in. I was sitting in the window seat and no one was next to me.
I looked out the window after what felt like a long period of time. I could still see swimming pools, driveways, houses—it felt like we weren’t really that high. But I knew that I had just eaten a brownie. Was my concept of time off? Was my concept of space off? I wasn’t really sure what to make of the situation.
The flight attendant came around with the drink cart. When he got to me I said, "Excuse me. Can you clarify something for me? I feel like we’re pretty low right now."
"What do you mean, low?" he said.
"Low in the air. It doesn’t seem normal," I said.
He leaned over to look out the window and said, "You’re right."
I felt validated.
He left the cart in the aisle much to the chagrin of everyone who was waiting to be served to speak with the pilot. The pilot said the reason was traffic.
I wasn’t interested in diving deeper into the situation, so I just nodded my head.
About 30 seconds later, the plane hit a 45-degree angle and shot into the clouds. And that was that.
My conclusion from that was either we were flying was too low to the ground because of air traffic, or I suddenly reminded a half-asleep pilot that we were flying to low.
I really liked the high-low juxtaposition.
I almost always fly high as a kite, whether it’s internationally or domestically.
The first time I flew baked, I was going to Toronto for training with one of the temp companies I started with at the time. It was my first time ever being stoned in an airport.
I happened to show up late and had to run to catch my flight. So, as I'm running, I was also carrying this huge banner bag. After clearing security, I ran to my gate, only to have my name announced over the PA system as soon as I sat down.
I’m tripping balls at this point. Keep in mind, I'm a brown Muslim guy who's hearing his name over the PA in an airport. I'm thinking the airport knows I’m baked, and I’m getting booted. In reality, I left my wallet behind at security and they were just calling me to grab it.
I was flying from New York to Vancouver for the holidays. I had a small piece of an edible chocolate square on my shelf, left over from a friend’s visit a month earlier. I thought it would be perfect to allay a little flight anxiety.
Thinking nothing of it, I popped it in my mouth on the way out the door.
I was running late. I started to feel the effects in the taxi. I got to the check-in counter just before the cutoff time. I had to juggle my belongings so they’d fit in a bag I could take on board.
I rushed through security feeling paranoid and anxious. I rolled up to the gate in panic mode and found out the flight was delayed.
While I waited, I could feel the high coming on stronger and stronger. I began to feel disembodied—a bit disconnected from my surroundings.
The flight got pushed back a couple more times. Another hour passed before the boarding call. During that time, it hit me really hard. I got really scared. It felt like I had no control over stuff around me. I was having a hard time concentrating on the book I was reading. I felt negative energy around me. I felt as though I was doing something illegal.
These two kids started running around and laughing. I got convinced that they knew I was high. It put me in an even deeper hole.
As it is, security at US airports is very heavy. It got so intense there was a moment when I didn’t think I was going to survive. I thought all these people were looking at me. I feel like I was on the verge of a major episode.
On the plane, the sensation slowly dissipated. When we disembarked, everything was back to normal.
It felt at the time like the strongest edible I’d ever had. I generally stay away from them because they’re unpredictable. I’ve since tried CBD oil on a flight and it’s helped me to relax but without the paranoia. But I don’t think I’d take an edible, or smoke up, before a flight again.
I was traveling from New York to Ireland. I ate about a pound of edible homemade rice crispy treats on my way to the airport. They kicked in right when I was checking in.
There was a really long line and I didn’t really pay attention to when my flight was. I ended up going for a walk and getting lost. I accidentally walked to another terminal. I was so relaxed it didn’t even matter.
When I returned, I found out my bag was two pounds overweight. I opened it and there was a huge bag of gummy bears. I laughed really loudly. So did the check-in agent.
Then I was in line at TSA for 40 minutes. They announced they had a bomb-sniffer dog. Even though I knew the dog couldn’t detect weed, I had an impending sense of doom, especially because I’m not American; I’m French. So I thought I’d be deported from the country. I freaked out and started to sweat. If anyone paid attention to me they’d see I was really nervous and that made me even more scared.
But when I passed by the dog I almost stopped to pet it. I have no idea why. I just love dogs.
On the plane, I was in the exit row. While the flight attendant was talking, I was baffled that he had a British accent on an American airline.
It was hard for me because I’ve only traveled alone a few times.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity. Names have been changed.
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