|(Wall Street Journal)
Cruise travelers wanting to smoke pot or chew gummies are running into a problem: cruise lines trying to eradicate all types of cannabis products on board.
Cruise lines say they are simply following federal law, and that marijuana is illegal in many countries they sail to. They say that they also want to create a comfortable experience for nonusers.
The companies are warning passengers not to sail with cannabis products and ratcheting up efforts to identify people flouting their rules as their ships swell with travelers. Among the efforts, Carnival Cruise Line has started employing drug-sniffing dogs and is sending out multiple pre-cruise messages that warn against bringing on marijuana.
Passengers say they are scared and confused amid the crackdown. Some passengers have been kicked off ships in foreign ports or banned, while others say they have used the products openly with no repercussions.
Josh DeLucio and his wife take about three cruises each year. He says he manages multiple medical conditions that cause chronic pain in his legs.
He never vacations without what he calls his mobile pharmacy, replete with prescription medications and other treatments. Among them: a topical salve containing CBD and THC that he says decreases his leg pain. He says he doesn’t enjoy the smell of marijuana or being around people using it recreationally, but says it helps him manage his pain occasionally.
“My fear is being on the seas or in a foreign country and needing something,” says DeLucio, who lives in Richmond, Ind.
After hearing about cases where passengers were kicked off cruises for having similar items, DeLucio said he is reconsidering whether to bring the products with him on future trips.
Besides limiting potential legal liability, cruise lines could benefit financially by prohibiting cannabis onboard. Alcohol is a major revenue-generator for ships, and cruises also limit how much booze passengers bring on board.
Major cruise lines include cannabis on the list of items that passengers are prohibited from bringing onboard ships, along with other drugs and weapons. Some cruise lines also prohibit hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, products that don’t produce a high. Congress legalized them at the federal level in 2018.
A Texas woman received a lifetime ban from sailing with Carnival after CBD gummies were found in her carry-on luggage during a pre-cruise security screening for a trip this summer. Erin Van Veldhuizen was barred from boarding the ship, and her family received a partial refund after the incident, says Daren Stabinski, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based lawyer representing her.
This is a big deal because it impacts so many people.
Cruises in December and January are a big draw for people wanting to get away from the snow and cold of many places in the north.
The recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in 24 states and the global cruise industry welcomes 30 million passengers a year.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s recreational or medical.
Is the cruise industry just trying to obey the law or is it more about protecting their profits from the sale of alcohol?