Medical Marijuana

The other night on my passenger vessel, some guy lights up a joint RIGHT NEXT TO THE WHEELHOUSE!!! I tell to put it out and he tells me he has a card(sigh…this is California) after chewing him a new one and threatening to call the cops, he finally puts it out. This has been a concern if mine. With the use of controlled substances becoming a gray area, he has to be breaking federal law by doing that in front of a captain, right? I could lose everything if I failed a random and it would be his fault! Anyone have any input, any specific laws?

Yes, I have also thought about this happening. I would think sending him in for a reasonable suspicion DOT drug test would fix the problem and get his MMC suspended as well.

USCG regs should supersede any state laws, esp. on a US flagged vessel, or at least that’s how I see it. I am sure somebody else will be able to quote the exact regs and laws.

I think the only possible solution for the problem of 2nd-hand marijuana smoke causing somebody else to fail a drug test will be to increase the permissible amount of THC in someones system

I agree with Salty. In conversation with a Capt. about the issue of medical weed on board he said (and I have not confirmed) that there is a swab test for marijuana that will accurately show whether you have smoked it within the past day. Without legislation it would probably never be used, and there are big loopholes that would have to closed but it would help to ease the minds of those who partake at home and come back to work sweating the test.

I would love to see the NMC reply if someone put on the medical 04-08 that the doctor told them they needed to smoke weed

Re read the post. It was never stated a crew member lit up. Someone “Right Next to” the wheelhouse lit up. it is a passenger vessel.

Then the issue of second hand smoke comes up.

Last time I checked I was never expected to enforce, control, or patrol these laws. The Oath I took an an officer had to do with following the laws of the US. I have never seen that I was expected to be a policeman.

P.S. Although you ‘may think’ you are allowed to perform marriages aboard, that is not really true. Neither is your feeling that you must police the passengers. Their safety, and orderly carriage yes… but you are not a moral compass. God. I HATE passengers!

[U][I][B]Last time I checked I was never expected to enforce, control, or patrol these laws. The Oath I took an an officer had to do with following the laws of the US. I have never seen that I was expected to be a policeman.[/B][/I][/U]

the USCG has a ZERO policy on drugs aboard so are you not breaking the law by not getting rid of the passenger and the drugs and or not reporting the violation ???

nope. the -0- policy is for crew. the debate of passenger use is never mentioned, anywhere in our dictates. Hmmmm. I see an issue.
It has never been suggested that I ‘get rid’ of an offending passenger. neither has it ever been said i have to report. do you have other facts???

are you assuming that you ‘must’ inform on others?

Thanks for the feedback, yeah, this was an issue with a passenger. My concern is that the individuals actions directly effect me and my job, until I had him put out the joint, there was quite a bit of smoke entering the wheelhouse. If I get a random drug test, I could potentially lose my license do to this passengers “right to smoke.” don’t I have a legal right to prevent or stop an action that could jeopardize my license?

Many years ago my non-mariner roommates were avid pot smokers. I had my share of second hand smoke in the house, the car and just about anyplace else I was around them. I didn’t smoke. And I never failed a USCG drug test. I’m sure a little whiff of smoke won’t cause you to fail.

Funny story, I drove from Columbus, OH to St. Louis, MO with my roommates blazing up the whole way. On arrival in St. Louis I had to take an unexpected piss test. My clothes reeked of weed while I did the pre-test paperwork but I still passed the test.

Captain N: Over the last 8 years I’ve lived with roommates who smoked indoors while I’m around, and in my early days as a deckhand, have worked my fair share of “booze cruises” where rooms would fill up with smoke until you could find who was behind it. I seemed to be the guinea pig for drug testing in the company, but never once failed, so I’m sure you are fine.

Unless laws are very different over there, there is no “right to smoke”. You don’t even need to allow passengers to smoke cigarettes if you don’t want them to. If unsure, I would always lean towards federal laws over state laws.

As to the OP’s question about playing sea-cop when someone is getting stoned right beside him: what actions are a master and officers required to take when they witness unlawful actions by passengers? What legal trap might one fall into for failure to report a crime committed by passengers?

What about talking your company into making it a smoke free vessel?

I thought that the USCG had a ZERO tolerance for any drugs on a US flagged vessel,that would include the passengers too

And how exactly would they enforce that?

All any master need say is that this vessel is inspected by the USCG and that all Federal Statues are enforced by same. Then say that as master, you are duty bound to the USCG to ensure that Federal laws are upheld aboard this vessel and should same passenger insist that they have the “right” to have a substance prohibited under Federal law on the vessel that as master, you are obligated to not just put said passenger off but to report them to the Coast Guard for a voilation of Federal law.

Then see what our Mr. Pothead Passenger does when they hear that and if your employer gives you any shyte over having reacted as you did, then said employer has their heads up their asses! As far as the US Government is concerned, marijuano is still contraband and possession is still a Federal felony offense.

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First of all, you will not fail a drug test if you are exposed to second hand smoke from marijuana. Your lungs absorb nearly 99-100% of all THC inhaled, so the chances of you getting high off their smoke is nil.

Secondly, your company should have set forth zero-tolerance policies regarding the use of any drugs aboard, for crew AND passengers. By not enforcing these policies/rules, you could therefore be liable for any injuries resulting and could result in losing your job and face court time, who knows.

Any way you look at it it’s bad. If those Coast Guard were to board your vessel and found pot on somebody they could pull licenses right then and there and drug test. I haven’t heard too many stories of this happening however it is possible and why risk it?

No one has any actual cfr or uscode cites to steer this conversation? It seems some feel that we must be policeman on the water. I never felt this way. Am I wrong? I have to uphold the laws of the US, but am I required to have to enforce this upon others? JGDo you have any evidence that states passengers are subject to USCG drug enforcement? I have never heard of this. The wholesale importing, and smuggling, yes. But the casual user?


Having seen the ravages of cancer treatment, I support medical marijuana for legit cases, however it should be smoked in the privacy of his/her own home or environment where it is the norm and not the exception. CaptainN did the right thing by telling him to put it out. There’s always going to be the few who think the card gives them Carte Blanc on where to light up. If he feels he is being denied his ‘medicine’ for a short time then he should have stayed home.

Well, considering the amount of doobage found on the suspect, it could be considered criminal. In California, up to an ounce of weed will only get you an infraction (of $100). Any amount more than this could be considered “intent to sell” and a lawyer may be able to construe it in a way that would make the crew responsible for smuggling drugs. In other states, the amount to which is required to determine the “intent to sell” statute may be far less (half oz/1/8??). Regardless of what way someone were to try and swing it, it would not look good on a crew member’s record, either that there was illegal contraband on the vessel to begin with or that the crew member’s did nothing about it when found. Within state waters you are subject to the laws of that state, and if traveling between two states you’re throwing in a bunch of interstate laws that would then land you in Supreme Court jurisdiction.

These are clearly worst case scenarios, as I don’t know many cases where Coast Guard has boarded a vessel to bust someone with pot; however I have been boarded by the Coast Guard on tugboat’s returning from a foreign voyage where a search was conducted. I am sure if any illegal contraband was found, regardless if for personal use, or as medication, credentials would be pulled and drug screening would commence along with further investigation. Any vessel that I have ever been on has made it very clear that any controlled substance is strictly prohibited regardless if you are crew or a passenger. I have worked on dinner cruises and have had to tell people to put the pot away as it is a Coast Guard inspected vessel and company policy dictates prohibited use of drugs on their vessels.