Can I bring marijuana on a cruise ship?

If you’re planning a cruise vacation and are considering smoking marijuana or ingesting cannabis in any form, there are some important rules you should know. Cruise ships operate under federal jurisdiction, which means that even if cannabis is legal in some states or countries, it is illegal to have it on a cruise ship. This means you cannot get high on the high seas.

However, the rules regarding marijuana on cruise ships depend on where you are cruising. Some cruise ships visit states where private use of cannabis is legal, such as Alaska, California, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York. While you may have an opportunity to indulge on land, it does not mean you can walk right off the ship and light up.

It’s crucial to know the cruise ship rules because violations come with stiff penalties. Every cruise passenger who has been caught smoking marijuana on a cruise ship has learned this the hard way. If you do smoke on your cabin balcony, for example, it might be your fellow cruise passengers who report you. The crew is also trained to spot and report any illegal drugs.

Under the cruise contract you sign to board a ship, cruise lines have the right to search your room, throw you off the ship, and turn you over to local authorities for any violations. This could result in fines and possible jail time. Your cruise vacation will come to an abrupt halt.

Even CBD, which is derived from cannabis but does not have psychoactive effects, is not allowed on cruise ships. Cruise lines explicitly state that cannabis in any form is not allowed on board. It doesn’t matter if medical marijuana is allowed in a specific state or if you have a marijuana medical card. Bringing pot or edibles, including those containing CBD, onto a cruise ship is prohibited.

As you board your cruise at the pier, you may notice customs or security officials with dogs. Among their duties is sniffing out drugs in carry-on baggage. Cruise lines also have technological means to find drugs in checked bags, although they don’t publicly discuss this.

If you are caught with cannabis on a cruise ship, the consequences can be severe. Consider the case of a Pennsylvania woman who was found with marijuana and related paraphernalia in her purse and cabin on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. She was arrested by Bermuda authorities, fined, and sent home. Similarly, a nurse from Texas was banned for life from sailing with Carnival Cruise Line after CBD gummies were found in her luggage.

It’s worth noting that the rules regarding marijuana may be more lenient in certain ports of call. For example, in Amsterdam, you can legally smoke in cannabis cafes, although takeout is not allowed. In Jamaica, smoking in public is illegal, but the fines for violations are usually minimal. To legally explore the scene in these destinations, you may want to consider booking a marijuana tour.

Alaska has been at the forefront of providing places for tourists and locals to light up socially. While marijuana was legalized for private use in the state, it was limited to use in private, leaving cruisers out of the picture. However, in August 2021, Alaska approved two venues for on-site consumption. These venues allow you to buy cannabis products for on-site use in designated areas. Additional consumption lounges are in the works.

If you want to ensure the opportunity to smoke on your cruise vacation, you may want to consider doing a pre- or post-cruise stay at a cannabis-friendly hotel in a port city where marijuana is legal. Some hotels have arrangements with cannabis delivery services and offer in-room menus of hemp and cannabis products.

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to smoke marijuana or ingest cannabis on your cruise vacation, it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations. Cruise ships operate under federal jurisdiction, and it is illegal to have cannabis on board. Violations can result in severe penalties, including being thrown off the ship and turned over to local authorities. It’s best to respect the rules and regulations of the cruise line and the ports of call to ensure a smooth and enjoyable vacation.

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