Carnival Cruise Line recently imposed a lifetime ban on Melinda Van Veldhuizen, a 42-year-old mother from Texas, for bringing a package of CBD sleep gummies on board. The decision, which drew widespread criticism, came after cruise employees discovered the gummies during a routine search of backpacks in Port Miami over the summer.
According to reports from Miami’s ABC News affiliate WPLG, Van Veldhuizen was subjected to a rigorous two-and-a-half-hour interrogation by Carnival security and police after the gummies were found. Although the sale and use of hemp-derived CBD products is 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 his 21st wedding anniversary and his son’s senior year of high school, was banned from boarding the ship. His attorney, Daren Stabinski, revealed to Washington Post that the family had spent about $5,586 on the vacation.
To add insult to injury, upon his exclusion from the cruise, Van Veldhuizen received a letter from Carnival permanently banning him from all Carnival ships. Capt. Rocco Lubrano’s letter explicitly stated that he “would not be permitted to sail aboard any Carnival Cruise Lines ship in the future.”
Expressing his dismay at the situation, Van Veldhuizen, an experienced Carnival cruiser with more than a dozen voyages, is filing an internal complaint with Carnival. However, he has hinted at the possibility of legal action if the matter is not satisfactorily resolved.
Carnival Cruise Line’s unusual decision has sparked outrage and led to discussions about the severity of the punishment for carrying a legally accepted substance. Van Veldhuizen, adamant in his search for a solution, remains determined to address the issue effectively.