How to Smoke Marijuana (Legally!) On a Cruise

There’s no question that marijuana is quickly becoming more mainstream. Today more than two dozen states offer some form of legal weed (meaning medical or recreational), while ten states offer full-blown legalization of the drug.

However, there are still plenty of restrictions on marijuana possession and usage. While it is legal in some states, it’s against the law to carry it over state lines from a legal state to a non-legal state. And even places where it is fully legal have rules on how much you can carry and consuming weed in public.

Most importantly for our purposes, even if you are sailing from a state — or country — where marijuana is fully legalized, you can’t bring it on a cruise ship.

All cruise lines prohibit passengers from bringing weed on a cruise with them. That’s because cruise lines departing the United States follow U.S. federal law regarding marijuana. On the federal level, pot is still illegal to possess.

In addition, cruise ships travel from port to port, often visiting different countries at each stop. In these cases, it would be impossible to comply with each country’s laws if the cruise line allowed passengers to bring weed on their trip.

How to Smoke Marijuana Legally on a Cruise

So if it’s prohibited to bring marijuana on a cruise ship, how can you legally smoke it on a cruise?

The only way is by sailing to ports where marijuana is legal, and then buying and consuming it while in port.

Right now, the only places in North America where marijuana is legal for recreational purposes — and accessible by a cruise ship — is California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Maine, and Alaska. Canada on a whole also has legal marijuana.

Jamaica, a place long known for the ganja culture, has loosened restrictions to where those with a declared medical need for “therapeutic” marijuana can purchase and consume. Even if you don’t have an official declaration, the fine for possession of small amounts is relatively low.

Meanwhile, all other ports accessible from cruises from North America still have laws against marijuana.

(Keep in mind that most places have laws against public consumption of marijuana, even if it’s legal to buy. It’s up to you to be knowledgeable of all local laws before partaking.)

In other words, if you want to smoke legally, then you’ll need to visit one of this handful of countries or states on your cruise. From there, you’ll need to purchase and consume the product off of the ship, and don’t try to bring anything back with you.

Legal Dispensaries in Cruise Ports

While you might be disappointed that you can’t legally smoke while on a cruise, there is some good news.

Many ports where weed is legal are setup to cater to cruise ship guests. For example, Skagway, Alaska, is a popular port for cruises from the West Coast to Alaska. While the town is small (just about 1,000 people), it has a dispensary called the Remedy Shoppe just a few blocks from the cruise port.

Remedy Shoppe
Imagery: DigitalGlobe; Map data: Google

Other ports where pot is legal, including Seattle, Juneau, and Astoria, also offer dispensaries near the cruise port should you want to partake. That means if you want to purchase marijuana (legally!) on your cruise, then you should have ample opportunity to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Smoke Legally on the Ship If I Have a Medical License?
As we covered in this article, no marijuana is allowed on cruise ships — even if it is for medicinal purposes or legally obtained on shore.

What happens if I’m caught with weed on a cruise?
To be honest, it’s not entirely clear. If in port, you should be subject to local laws. There are stories of local authorities finding drugs on cruise ships and arresting passengers. If in international waters, it will be up to the cruise line on how they choose to pursue the offense.

What if I come back from port while high?
If you get high while in port (legally) and then come back to the ship, then nothing is likely to happen to you unless you are making a disorderly scene. There are no checks to see if passengers are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

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  1. I actually did get caught with marijuana concentrates in my cabin on the carnival Vista. We left out of Galveston TX and my marijuana was found while docked in cozumel Mexico. My marijuana was confiscated and I was taken down to the security office and forced to give a statement stating that it was mine and brought it from home and was told if I didn’t write this statement I would be disembarked in Mexico. I was informed that my marijuana would be turned over to local authorities when we returned to Galveston. When we got back to Galveston and I tried to get off the ship I was flagged and forced to wait to speak with authorities. Apparently the Galveston police decided to not pursue charges however I was told I needed to speak with the port authority and led down to customs where they had my marijuana and paraphernalia in evidence bags. I was asked about where I got it and so forth which I admitted I brought from home and was essentially given a stern warning and told to never do that again. He asked what I did for a living etc. I’m a clean cut middle aged guy and was dressed in business attire so I think I may have been given a break. Very scary experience that really ruined my trip so be careful! Not sure if they are quite so lenient with everyone.

  2. Not entirely accurate, but essentially on target. There are also pot shops near downtown Fairbanks and Anchorage. As to consuming onboard, most cruise lines don’t prohibit vaping in smoking areas and some lines even allow it in your cabin. Since no one can tell what’s in a vape cartridge it’s an easy way to consume your cannabis on board.

    • We wouldn’t risk it. It’s against the rules of the ship and there are laws against taking marijuana in and out of a country.


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