Thinking of bringing weed on your cruise? We don’t have to tell you that bringing marijuana on your typical cruise is a big no-no. But there are some caveats that make you wonder if it’s legal. For example, if you are headed to Alaska.
If you’re headed to Alaska, odds are that you will be sailing from Seattle, Washington.
The state of Washington is seen as one of the most progressive in the United States when it comes to marijuana laws. It’s currently one of only a handful of states that allow the recreational use of the drug.
Within the state, people can have up to 1 oz. of marijuana for personal use with no penalty. The drug has to be used in private. Public consumption is subject to a $100 penalty.
In addition to Washington, Alaska is also extremely progressive on marijuana use. It also offers no penalty for recreational use. Again, having 1 oz. or less for personal use in perfectly legal for adults.
Since most cruises from Seattle head to Alaska, it creates an extremely unique situation where a cruise is traveling from one state to another where both allow the drug to be used legally. So it begs the question. If marijuana is legal in both states, does that mean you can bring it on your cruise?
No. Marijuana (medical or recreational) is not allowed on cruise ships.
While the drug is legal in both Alaska and Washington, it is still illegal at the federal level. That means technically, it’s not even legal in Alaska/Washington if the federal government chose to enforce the law.
This puts the cruise lines in a limbo. With conflicting laws, they choose to stay on the safe side and follow federal law.
Here’s what Carnival Cruise Lines says about marijuana on its ships:
Marijuana – We know some states passed legislation allowing the smoking of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. However, federal law supersedes state law and marijuana, whether for medical or recreational uses is still prohibited on our ships.
Norwegian Cruise Lines has a similar policy, and specifically mentioned medical marijuana:
It’s also not just a case of U.S. laws. In Canada (whose waters the cruises sail through, even if they don’t port), marijuana is illegal for the time-being.
In addition to the laws on the drug, cruise ships also have strict rules about onboard smoking, which put further pressure on trying to discreetly bring pot aboard. Ships are non-smoking, including in your cabin or balcony. Each ship does have designated smoking areas, but they are public places where lighting up marijuana would be frowned upon.
What happens if I am caught with marijuana on a cruise ship?
If you are caught with an illegal drug like marijuana on a ship, it’s difficult to say exactly what will happen. That’s because there are overlapping rules of law on a cruise ship, much of which depends on where the ship is located at the time of the offense.
Frankly, we’re not experts in maritime law (if you’re interested in learning more about the laws on a cruise ship, then check out this page). Chances are that small amounts of marijuana on the ship would likely just be confiscated. But it’s really up to the cruise line. At worst, they could alert local authorities to the situation and make you leave the ship at the next port of call and find your own way home.
In fact, in some Caribbean locales, the local police are known for entering staterooms when a cruise ship is in port looking for small amounts of drugs. This gives them an opportunity to raise fines from cruise passengers who aren’t aware of the local laws.
Our advice is to simply not risk it.