There’s no question that marijuana is quickly becoming more mainstream. Today dozens of states offer some form of legal weed (meaning medical and/or recreational), while roughly 20 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.
With cruise ships traveling from place to place where laws can be different — but also often being in international waters — that begs the question: Can you bring marijuana on a cruise ship?
Rules Around Marijuana on a Cruise Ship
If you’re wondering if you can bring weed with you on a cruise, the answer is no. Even if you are sailing from a state — or country — where marijuana is fully legalized, you can’t bring it on a cruise ship. This includes other products such as CBD or ‘delta’ consumables.
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 with 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.
As well, there are laws about bringing marijuana into a country, even if it is legal in that nation (e.g. Canada).
In other words, to be on the safe side, cruise lines simply prohibit marijuana altogether.
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.
Many places that are visited by cruise ships are relaxing restrictions on the drug. For example, it is legal in California, Washington, Alaska, New York, Massachusetts and other coastal states. 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. Mexico is also seemingly in the works toward legal marijuana.
However, most ports accessible from cruises from North America still have laws against the drug.
(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 the handful of ‘legal’ 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 ship, 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.
Other ports where pot is legal, including Seattle and Juneau, 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.
All you need to do is search for a dispensary on Google before arriving to direct you where to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I smoke legally on the ship if I have a medical license?
As we covered above and in this article, no marijuana is allowed on cruise ships — even if it is for medicinal purposes or legally obtained on shore. That means even if you are docked in a port like Seattle where the drug is legal and you have a license, you aren’t allowed to have or consume it while on the ship.
What happens if I’m caught with weed on a cruise?
To be honest, it’s not always 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.
At the very least, you should expect it to be confiscated and reported to the proper authorities to handle. Carnival makes it clear that bringing it on their ships will mean a $500 fine and “may also result in the disembarkation of all guests in the stateroom.”
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.
One thing to keep in mind is that passengers undergo security screening (x-ray of personal items and walking through a metal detector) when coming back to the ship. So if you are thinking about bringing it back on with you, think twice.
Just to let you know I am on MSC Divina cruise ship right now (29 May 2023) and we are having an issue with our neighbor on the balcony smoking pot ALL DAY & ALL NIGHT & they scream, yell & fight with each other ALL NIGHT LONG….well, then once they are high they laugh and cheer and bark LOL, literally. While I’m not against people smoking pot, especially for medical reasons, I am against being forced to smell it all day. I can’t enjoy being on my balcony and even when my balcony door is closed, the smoke seeps into our room. It has been the worst cruise we’ve ever been on and it’s a long cruise since we are crossing the Atlantic going to Europe. This is now day 15 and although guest services and security has still done NOTHING and constantly says it is illegal to smoke pot on MSC, we finally got an appointment with manager who profusely apologized and told us that MSC actually allows marijuana to be smoked INSIDE the cabins as long as the guest has a medical marijuana card. She told us the guest doesn’t even have to go to a designated smoking area onboard. No worries about a fire hazard smoking inside cabins. But other guests cannot bring clothing steamers for fear of a fire. LOL The logic. The neighbors on the other side already moved out last week, but the ship is completely sold out and we have no where to move to. She offered me a free massage today. LOL I politely declined. I’m not looking for a free massage. I just want fresh air and sleep without smelling weed in my room all night. If this was properly disclosed BEFORE we purchased my cruise, I would NOT have bought this cruise with MSC. I cannot wait to get off this ship. I’m sure many people have medical cards to smoke marijuana nowadays so I can only imagine that MSC cruise lines will now become the pot smoking cruise line in the industry. Hopefully this will help warn others who are sensitive to the sell of marijuana like I am. And if you are a pot smoker, you’re in luck, if you have a medical marijuana card you might want to start cruising with MSC because pot is now permitted per the manager onboard this ship. *Oh the ship also has to leave from the USA to be allowed to smoke pot inside your cabin. If the cruise starts out of Europe then they won’t allow it BUT if you leave out of the USA and Europe is one of the stops then you are ok to keep smoking because you left from the USA. (but even though security kept saying its illegal, they do nothing anyways). Hope this helps.
Thanks for sharing. Just for the record, we’ve searched for marijuana policy on MSC’s website and see no mention of any policy regarding the drug one way or another.
Sorry that your trip has been affected by it. I can completely understand your frustration!
I’m cancelling my Carnival Cruise in Dec, screw this, alcohol is more dangerous.
Heck I think they should be selling it at the bars! I would rather see people puffing a joint than huge amounts of skin in small bathing suits. 20 pounds in a 3 pound sack. Let’s all get high and have fun.
Cruise ships restricting the use of medical marijuana is wrong and unhumain. I’m in chronic and acute pain daily from spinal fusions and rely on medical marijuana to live without having spasms throughout my entire body. I was really looking forward to going on a cruise with my family and experience something fun in my life. But without my medical marijuana on the cruise, there goes my chance of ever experiencing a cruise in my life. This needs to stop being a polical issue with governments and businesses dictating where I can consume my medical marijuana in order to survive. Its unfair and cruel to not allow chronic pain patients like me get the medical care I need from marijuana. This needs to change especially for a medical necessity from acute pain, to nausea and headaches. Until something changes with the policy on medical marijuana, I will avoid cruise ships and keep telling people about the cruel and unethical rules of not allowing medical marijuana use. Its ridiculous that even if I have a medical marijuana card that it can be confiscated and I can be charged for the possession of medicine that allows me to live without being in agony every moment of my life.
Exclude people that’s nice. Everyone can get loaded around me and smoke their nasty cigarettes EVEN INDOORS AT CASINO. but I’m not allowed to have a puff a thing that cures cancer. WOW
Do they sell single edibles in port? Otherwise wouldn’t you have to dispose of it since you cannot take it back on the ship?
Right. Not sure about selling singles. Maybe someone with more experience can answer?
I’m with Gordon
I was planning a trip with my brother but when I found this info I backed out in protest. Until these companies take a stand and the people of this country stand up against our govt.’s stance, nothing will change. I understand this is international but if the govt. changed their stance then all could be cool. The problem is the govt’s stance is purely political. They know that legalizing it will rock the pharmaceutical industry. Several of them are lobbyists for those same companies. “It dulls the brain” is their okie-doke reason they give while turning the blind eye to The heroin-addicted, LEGAL, head-bobbing oxycodone users and alcohol users. Sorry about the political rant but stop me when I’m lying! I’m not anti-govt., just anti-b.s.!
Where was it found? Did they search you? Random check?
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.
Thanks for sharing your story.
Seems something is missing here. You were docked in Mexico and they found it in your cabin? Why would they be searching your cabin?
Room service probably found it while cleaning or fixing up the rooms.
Why would they go through your personal items. Their job is to clean around without touching personal items. Or did you have it just sitting out for them to see
Either they were “cleaning” where they shouldn’t or this person was too bold/careless with their stash
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.
Some of us have been ‘risking it’s for years out of medical necessity. I’d rather risk a fine than a seizure or other serious medical episode without it. Edibles and Vapes travel remarkably incognito. Not everyone is priveleged enough to live somewhere legal.
In some ports they bring dogs on board to sniff.