Carnival Cruise Line banned a Texas mother from their fleet for life after she tried to get onboard one of the company’s ships with a pack of CBD sleep aid gummies in Miami.
Melinda Van Veldhuizen, a 42-year-old mom of two, said she was treated “like a criminal” by cruise employees and police when they found a bag of the CBD “sleep tight” gummies while searching her backpack at PortMiami over the summer, Miami’s ABC News affiliate WPLG reported.
The Dallas-based nurse practitioner told the news station she packed the gummies to help her get some sleep on the August trip she had planned to take with her family to celebrate both her 21st wedding anniversary with her husband and her son’s senior year of high school.
Van Veldhuizen was taken into a separate area after a cruise staffer found the CBD gummies in her bag.
She was then interrogated by Carnival security and police for two-and-a-half hours, she told WPLG.
The mom — who noted that she has never even gotten a parking ticket — was blocked from boarding the ship and her husband and sons didn’t want to go on the cruise to Aruba, Curaçao and the Dominican Republic without her.
The family had spent roughly $5,586 on their planned vacation, Van Veldhuizen’s attorney Daren Stabinski told The Washington Post.
CBD, a compound commonly derived from hemp that doesn’t cause impairment or a “high,” is different from marijuana which contains THC — a mind-altering substance, according to the CDC.
CBD is legal in most of the country after Congress removed hemp — defined as any part of the cannabis sativa plant with no greater than 0.3% of THC — from its list of controlled substances.
Van Veldhuizen’s gummies contained less than 0.01% THC, according to WPLG.
The hemp product, however, is prohibited by Carnival Cruise Lines.
“While certain CBD products used for medicinal purposes may be legal in the US, they are not legal in all the ports we visit and therefore are also considered prohibited items,” its website states.
Soon after Van Veldhuizen was forbidden from going on the cruise she paid for, she received a letter from Carnival informing her she was banned from all Carnival ships for life, WPLG reported.
The letter signed by Captain Rocco Lubrano states that she will “not be permitted to sail onboard any Carnival Cruise Lines vessel in the future.”
“This decision was based on your actions on the current cruise, which were a violation of the ship rules, interfered with the safety and/or enjoyment of other guests on the ship or caused harm to Carnival,” Lubrano wrote.
Van Veldhuizen said she has taken more than a dozen Carnival cruises over the years and was freaked out by the letter and the whole experience.
“I thought it was one of those situations where you’re like, ‘Oh shoot, I left a bottle of water in my backpack; you gotta throw it away,’ kind of thing like that happens at TSA,” Van Veldhuizen told the local news station.
She is now pursuing an internal claim with Carnival but has threatened to sue if her situation isn’t resolved “appropriately” and hired Stabinski to assist her, The Washington Post reported.
“Out of all the cases I take, this one was just specifically outrageous,” Stabinski said to WPLG.
Carnival did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.