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Recently, a woman was banned from a cruise line after CBD gummies were found in her luggage. Do airlines, cruises, and hotels have a duty to enforce US cannabis laws?
Woman Banned From Cruise Line After CBD Gummies Discovered
Prior to boarding a Carnival cruise in Florida, a woman was stopped at security for the discovery of nail clippers which led security staff to investigate further.
“Van Veldhuizen, a frequent cruise passenger, had been trying to get through security at the Port of Miami in August when she was stopped by agents after X-rays detected nail clippers in her suitcase, according to The Washington Post. While searching her bag, agents found CBD gummies and pulled her aside, per the outlet.” – People
This is fraught with issues throughout.
It’s important to note that this did not happen on the ship but rather at the port. Most ports (including all airports but one terminal at JFK which is privately held) are federal property and thus federal laws apply, not that of the state in which they are located. It was security that made this discovery but if that’s on federal land, it is subject to federal law. The involvement of the ship’s Captain, who has incredible rights at sea but few on shore, seemed to be looking for a way to let the passenger travel, though the report noted that police had been involved following the discovery.
“The captain asked me several times if I had a marijuana card or if I had a diagnosis, if I needed it. I said, ‘It’s CBD; that doesn’t exist. It’s just not a thing,’ ” she said, adding that her family also opted not to go on the cruise without her.
Soon after, she received a letter from Carnival saying that she was banned from all future cruises with the company. The letter, which she shared with WPLG and The Washington Post, stated: “This decision was based on your actions on the current cruise, which were in violation of ship rules, interfered with the safety and/or enjoyment of other guests on the ship or caused harm to Carnival.” – People
Do Travel Companies Have To Enforce?
Following the incident, Carnival, the world’s second largest cruise line (including subsidiaries), has made it clear that it restricts the use of both marijuana and CBD products onboard. However, CBD in particular is either conditionally or fully legal in all 50 states, and federally legal when derived from hemp. No state requires a medical card or prescription for CBD as it doesn’t contain intoxicants, and persons requiring CBD products that exceed the maximum intoxicant standards would be more likely prescribed medical marijuana. Carnival is able to do what it likes and can enforce as it sees fit.
The question is whether travel companies have to enforce US law, and the answer is no. If a client is staying in a hotel, flying on an airline, renting a car, or taking a cruise, they commit the crime and not the travel provider.
Hotels have looked the other way when it comes to marijuana use, even when that violates state laws against smoking indoors. In some cases, it’s possible hotels may ban customers who use marijuana on their property even in states where it’s legal as federal bans remain in place. But they aren’t generally going through someone’s luggage at check-in and calling the police over benign gummies.
Read the full piece