November 21, 2023
Texas Woman Banned for Life by Carnival Cruises Over CBD Gummies in Luggage
A Texas woman was handed a lifetime ban from Carnival Cruise Line after CBD gummies were discovered in her luggage during boarding.
Melinda Van Veldhuizen, a 42-year-old nurse practitioner and chiropractor from Dallas, had planned to commemorate her 21st wedding anniversary and her son's senior year in high school on Carnival's Horizon Cruise in August. However, things went awry when she was halted during security checks at the Port of Miami after agents spotted nail clippers in her suitcase. Upon searching her bag, they found CBD gummies and detained her.
Van Veldhuizen, a regular cruise-goer, explained that the sealed gummies were intended to aid her sleep, a purpose they were advertised for. "I have trouble sleeping, so it was just to make sure I could sleep on the trip," she mentioned to WPLG.
Taken away from her family, she faced interrogation by security and law enforcement, waiting for over two hours before being informed of her inability to board. She conveyed her frustration over being questioned repeatedly about possessing a marijuana card or a diagnosis, emphasizing that it was only CBD, which she asserted was not subject to such regulations.
Subsequently, Carnival issued a letter banning her from all future trips with the company. The letter, shared with WPLG and The Washington Post, cited her actions as violating ship rules, potentially compromising safety, or disturbing other guests' enjoyment.
Daren Stabinski, her attorney, disclosed that Carnival initially demanded her to cover the $5,586 cruise fare for her family but later offered a $1,665 refund for her part.
Carnival, in a statement to WPLG, expressed regret over the situation but highlighted adherence to federal CBD regulations. The spokesperson emphasized their obligation to prevent prohibited items on their ships, in compliance with federal guidelines.
Stabinski, criticizing the treatment of his client, stressed that CBD derived from hemp is legally acceptable under federal law, and people should not face such consequences for it.