A woman’s dream vacation turned into a nightmare when she was banned for life by Carnival Cruise Line after CBD gummies were found in her suitcase during the boarding process. Melinda Van Veldhuizen, a 42-year-old nurse from Dallas, experienced the shock of a lifetime when security at the Miami port discovered the gummies during a routine bag search.
While many may assume that CBD is harmless, it is a substance derived from cannabis. Although it has minimal psychoactive effects, according to the Ministry of Health, it does have potential therapeutic value. Veldhuizen, who had legally purchased the gummies online to aid her sleep, expressed surprise as she had never faced any issues while traveling with them in the past.
The discovery took place in Florida, where CBD is not currently illegal as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC, the compound responsible for the mind-altering effects of cannabis. Veldhuizen’s gummies contained only 0.1% THC, well below the legal limit. However, the cruise line had its own regulations prohibiting the presence of CBD on board.
After being informed about the ban, Veldhuizen’s family decided to skip the trip, resulting in a significant financial loss of approximately $10,000. Carnival Cruise Line defended their decision by stating that federal law considers CBD a controlled substance. The company further emphasized that they clearly communicated the list of prohibited items on their website and through pre-cruise communications.
This incident raises questions about the evolving perceptions surrounding cannabis use, especially among older individuals. According to The New York Times, cannabis use among Americans aged 65 and older has been steadily increasing. In 2007, only 0.4% of this demographic admitted to using cannabis, but by 2016, the number had risen to nearly 3%. Experts anticipate that by 2022, over 8% of older Americans will have turned to cannabis to alleviate pain, anxiety, and other health issues, similar to Veldhuizen’s reasons for using CBD gummies.
It is evident that the regulations and restrictions related to cannabis are still in flux, with various entities adopting different policies. As the popularity of CBD rises, it remains important for travelers to familiarize themselves with the regulations specific to the places they are visiting.