Carnival Cruise has given a lifetime ban to a Texas woman who brought CBD gummies on board, despite them being federally legal.
Texas woman Melinda Van Veldhuizen has gone on so many cruises with Carnival Cruise that she has previously received priority boarding. Despite this, the cruise company has given Melinda a permanent ban for bringing aboard gummies containing cannabidiol (CBD), according to Local10 News. The ban comes despite hemp-derived CBD being legal since the passage of the federal farm bill in 2018.
On the cruise Melinda was celebrating her 21st wedding anniversary’s, as well as her son’s senior year of high school.
During boarding on the Carnival Cruise Ship Horizon at the Port of Miami, Florida, Melinda was pulled aside by security after they found CBD gummies in her bag.
“I have trouble sleeping, so it was just to make sure I could sleep on the trip”, said Melinda. “[S]o if there were any issues, I could sleep. I’ve always traveled with them, no problem.”
Melinda says “I sat there for two-and-a-half hours, really not sure what was going to happen. The way that they treated me was like a criminal.”
Hemp-derived CBD containing less than 0.3% THC has been legal since 2018. Melinda’s gummies containing just a third of the THC limit at 0.01%.
Carnival Cruise says they prohibit CBD due to federal restrictions.
“The captain asked me several times if I had a marijuana card or if I had a diagnosis, if I needed it,” said Melinda. “I said, ‘It’s CBD; that doesn’t exist. It’s just not a thing.’”
Following the incident Melinda and her family received a letter at her home stating she’s been banned for life.
“This decision was based on your actions on the current cruise, which were a violation of the ship rules, interfered with the safety and/or enjoyment of other guests on the ship or caused harm to Carnival,” the letter stated. “Your attempt to book a future cruise will result in cancellation and a possible loss of deposit monies.”
Local10 News shared a statement from Carniva; stating: “We are very sorry this guest and her family are unhappy with the outcome of their vacation plans, but we are following federal law under which CBD is defined as a controlled substance. We are not here to ascertain where our guests purchase CBD or what they intend to use it for once on board. Our responsibility is to follow federal guidelines and stop prohibited items from being brought on board our ships.”
The cruise line also did not refund Melinda for the trip which cost over $6,000 in total.
Melinda has hired attorney Daren Stabinsk to get a full refund and have the ban removed.
This situation is “specifically outrageous”, says Stabinsk. “We believe it was false imprisonment what they did to her. They had no right to hold her, especially when she did nothing wrong in the first place. CBD is not marijuana. When you look at the specific rules and conditions that you agree to when you sail, it specifically says marijuana, marijuana derivatives and all illegally-controlled substances are prohibited, and what my client had was none of those things.”