Carnival Cruise Line recently imposed a lifetime ban on Melinda Van Veldhuizen, a 42-year-old mother from Texas, for carrying a pack of CBD sleep aid gummies on board. The decision, which drew widespread criticism, came after cruise employees discovered the gummies during a routine backpack search at Port Miami over the summer.
According to reports from Miami’s ABC News affiliate WPLG, Van Veldhuizen was subjected to a rigorous 2.5-hour interrogation by Carnival security and the police after the gummies were found. Despite the sale and use of hemp-derived CBD products being legal in 47 states, Florida imposes restrictions where products containing more than 0.3% THC require a medical marijuana card.
Van Veldhuizen, who had planned the cruise to celebrate her 21st wedding anniversary and her son’s senior year of high school, found herself barred from boarding the ship. Her attorney, Daren Stabinski, revealed to The Washington Post that the family had spent around $5,586 on the vacation.
Adding insult to injury, following her exclusion from the cruise, Van Veldhuizen received a letter from Carnival stating she was permanently banned from all Carnival ships. Captain Rocco Lubrano’s letter explicitly stated that she would “not be permitted to sail onboard any Carnival Cruise Lines vessel in the future.”
Expressing dismay over the situation, Van Veldhuizen, a seasoned Carnival cruiser with over a dozen trips, is pursuing an internal claim with Carnival. However, she has hinted at the possibility of legal action if the matter isn’t resolved satisfactorily.
The unusual decision by Carnival Cruise Line has sparked outrage and led to discussions around the severity of punishment for carrying a legally accepted substance. Van Veldhuizen, adamant about seeking a resolution, remains determined to address the issue effectively.