No Medical Marijuana or CBD on Cruise Ships – Here’s Why

Cruising is arguably one of the most popular vacation options in the world. In addition, there is no shortage of cruise lines whose ships are little more than floating parties complete with alcohol, dancing, and even casino gaming. But do not try to get on a cruise ship with medical marijuana or CBD. It is not allowed.

The Miami Herald recently ran a story about a Texas woman facing a lifetime ban from Carnival cruises after being caught trying to board a ship while in possession of CBD gummies. This might sound strange to you given the fact that CBD is legal throughout the U.S. However, Carnival has a strict policy against it. But why?

Cannabis, THC, and CBD

Before we get to cruise line policies, it is important to distinguish between THC and CBD. Both substances are cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. The biggest difference between the two is their effects on the brain. Simply put, THC will make you high while CBD will not.

Both THC and CBD are used for medicinal purposes. Any adult in the U.S. can purchase legal CBD from grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, and even online. The same is not true of THC. Most states regulate THC to one degree or another.

For example, medical cannabis is legal in Utah while recreational marijuana is not. To buy medical cannabis from an outlet like Salt Lake City’s Beehive Farmacy, you would have to have a valid medical cannabis card. Medical cannabis in Utah is defined as plant material or cannabis-derived medicines with more than 0.3% THC by volume – which just happens to be the federal standard.

Jurisdictions Have Different Regulations

What does any of this have to do with taking medical cannabis or CBD on a cruise ship? Everything. Utah has one way of regulating cannabis while Florida has another. Jurisdictions have different regulations here in the U.S. But it is not just here. There are different regulations from one country to the next.

A big part of cruising is visiting ports in various locations. You might visit 4 or 5 ports on a 7-night cruise. All of them could have different regulations for CBD and THC. Cruise lines do not want the legal responsibility of having to track the regulations and make sure their guests toe the line at each port. Then there is the liability issue.

Cruise Lines Don’t Want the Liability

Cruise lines assume a significant amount of liability whenever they board a ship and sail away from port. They are required by law to guarantee guest safety to the greatest extent possible. In some jurisdictions, they also face a certain amount of responsibility to ensure that guests do not break the law. Think about that in terms of marijuana possession.

Cruise lines do not want to take the risk of a passenger getting in trouble for marijuana. All it would take is one passenger being arrested and prosecuted for a cruise line to face a multi-million-dollar lawsuit. Can you imagine a passenger suing the cruise line for not preventing them from breaking the law?

Another source of risk is a passenger who is injured or harms someone else while under the influence of marijuana. Cruise lines already assume that risk by serving alcohol by the gallon. They certainly don’t want to add to the risk by allowing people to consume cannabis on board.

Like it or not, cruise lines do not allow medical cannabis or CBD on their ships. If that is a problem for cruisers, they will have to choose another vacation option.