Melinda Van Veldhuizen, a 42-year-old nurse and chiropractor from Dallas, told The Washington Post that she was stopped by security before a trip on the Carnival Horizon because an X-ray revealed metal nail clippers in her suitcase. During a search of her bag, security staff found a pack of CBD gum she was carrying purchased at a pharmacy in Texas. She said the rubber bands were sealed and were advertised to help with sleep problems.
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Van Veldhuizen said security and other staff made her wait in the boarding terminal area away from her family for approximately three and a half hours. During that time, she said security checked the rubber tires and asked if she had permission to possess them. In the end, she was told that she would not be allowed on the cruise.
Carnival Cruise Line sent a letter to Van Veldhuizen in August informing her that she would be banned from all ships, and all attempts to book future cruises would be cancelled.
This decision is based on your actions on the current cruise, which violated the ship’s rules, interfered with the safety and/or enjoyment of other guests on board, or caused damage to Carnival, Carnival Horizon Captain Rocco Lubrano wrote in the letter reviewed by The Washington Post.
Van Veldhuizens ban was first reported by Miami ABC affiliate VPLG.
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Van Veldhuizen said she was initially told she would be responsible for her own cruise and travel expenses for her husband and two teenage sons, who would be going on the cruise without her. That’s roughly $5,586, according to Darren Stabinski, her attorney based in South Florida. Her credit card was also charged nearly $700 after the cruise departed.
I was… freaked out because I don’t even have a parking ticket, like, I follow the rules, she said.
Carnival eventually sent a follow-up letter offering to reimburse her for the $1,665 cost of the cruise. But Stabinski said this is not enough. Van Veldhuizen hopes to be reimbursed for the expenses of the entire family. She also hopes her ban will be lifted.
Stabinski said his office is pursuing an internal lawsuit with Carnival, but Van Veldhuizen will seek a lawsuit if it is not properly resolved.
This has been emotionally draining and embarrassing for my client, and we just want Carnival to do the right thing, Stabinski said.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in marijuana and can be obtained from hemp or non-hemp plants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hemp would be considered any part of the cannabis sativa plant that has less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient that produces a high.
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The unpredictability of the compounds found in CBD products makes regulation more difficult and confusing. Although Congress legalized hemp products in the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD can be derived from hemp and cannabis. CBD candies are still considered illegal under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which is overseen by the US Food and Drug Administration.
It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to food or labeling it as a dietary supplement, according to the FDA.
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Since the FDA does not regulate over-the-counter CBD products, these products may contain higher levels of THC than advertised.
Stabinski said in this case that CBD gummies are derived from hemp and are not advertised as containing THC.
Because of this, they shouldn’t treat people like criminals, Stabinski told Carnival Cruise Line.
We are not here to determine where our guests purchase CBD or what they intend to use it for once on board, Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Matt Lupoli wrote in an email to The Post. It is our responsibility to follow federal guidelines and prevent prohibited items from being brought onto our ships.
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Cruise lines continue to follow federal law, which prohibits possession of marijuana, regardless of states that have legalized recreational or medical use, including Florida.
Disney Cruise Line, which also bans marijuana, cannabis and hemp products, as well as THC and CBD products, also states in its guidelines that it complies with federal regulations and local laws in all destinations it visits.
Van Veldhuizen said that over the years she and her husband and two sons have been on dozens of carnival cruises. He usually plans an annual trip that includes airfare and other travel expenses.
For their August excursion, which stopped through Aruba, Curaçao and the Dominican Republic, Van Veldhuizen planned to celebrate her 21st wedding anniversary with her husband and sons last year in high school. Her birthday was also in a few weeks.
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