The Nassau Tribune reports on a criminal hearing last weekend in the Bahamas after five cruise ship passengers from two different ship were arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.  The five passengers each had between one and five grams of pot. I’m told that’s enough pot for a couple of joints.

A 28 year old from Leesburg, Florida was apprehended by the Chief of Security on the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas with 1 gram of pot. The ship’s security invited the Bahamian police onto the Enchantment and handed the joint and the passenger over. The Magistrate filed him Pot Bahamas$500 and threatened that if he didn’t pay the fine immediately he would throw him in jail, adding “and unlike US prisons, our prisons are not as hospitable.” 

A 27 year old man from Sarasota, Florida was arrested after he bought 2 grams of pot ashore in downtown Nassau. He arrived in Nassau on the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas. The Magistrate fined him $500 as well, telling him "some countries in Asia can carry a punishment as severe as death."

A 60 year old woman on the Enchantment of the Seas was arrested with 5 grams of pot. The magistrate filed her $800, stating (and I quote): "It is a shock that individuals at this age would be engaging in such illegal activities.” 

A 61 year old man from Fort Meyers on an unspecified cruise ships was arrested after the cruise ship turned him over to the Bahamian police with 5 grams of pot. He received a $800 fine.

The last pothead was a 37 year old who bought 2 grams for $50 at the straw market. The stoner told the judge “I was walking around the straw market. I was drinking. I had like two rums that morning . . " The judge was unimpressed and threatened him with a three month jail sentence if he didn’t pay $500 right away.  

It never ceases to amaze me that cruise lines like Royal Caribbean make hundreds of millions of dollars pushing booze on their ships to the point that the passenger are knee-walking-and-puking drunk, but a cruise ship security officer will collar a guest for a single joint and turn them over to the police. 

The double standard also applies to the Bahamas where pot dealers canvas the port and sell pot up and down Bay Street and in and around every bar in town. One of the chief complaints we hear from Crime Nassau Bahamascruise passengers sailing to Nassau is that they are constantly harassed by the local citizens to buy pot the second they step off the cruise ship and walk into town.  

The Bahamas has one of the highest crime rates in the world. It lets child predators go free, it has a deplorable record solving crimes on Bahamian-flagged cruise ships, and it is clueless when it comes to solving murders and violent crimes against tourists

Nabbing cruise tourists with a joint or two, and teaming up with the cruise lines to pull passengers off the ship with small amounts of pot while Bahamians are openly selling the stuff at the straw market, are duplicitous revenue collecting exercises.

The Bahamas is one gunshot away from losing the cruise lines. It needs to concentrate its limited resources on protecting its citizens and visitors from armed bad guys and not hassle the tourists who bring money into its impoverished country. 


Photo Credit: Vibe (top); Nassau Tribune April 9 2014 newspaper – Tribune.

  • Andy Smithers

    What about the cruise lines promoting Bob Marley Experience excursions with the sole point of it to get high in a regulated environment only to be screwed by a magistrate that knows the cruise lines are about to leave the Bahamas. Reasons all to well know to anyone who goes ashore that pot will be offered to them regardless. What idiots these people were to take the pot back on board. Sell the pot sanctioned by the cruise line and then get the pot back for resale is just unbelievable and a nice business model for the excursion providers. WIN WIN Cruise Line, PAX Loose Loose…

  • Joe johnson

    It is really sad that you are putting down The Bahamas because some pot head tourists chose to buy drugs which are illegal. They had a choice and chose to do the crime and now should pay the fine. No matter where they would have been caught they would have been charged! You trying to justify their breaking the law with reference to other crimes is despicable!

  • Joe:

    You live in the Bahamas, where crime is out of control. Your police can’t catch the bad guys even though they openly sell drugs at the dock and downtown. Instead they act tough with the tourists. If you have a joint or two in Miami, it’s highly unlikely there will be charges. The State Attorney’s office will not waste its time. No foolhardy threats of imprisoning tourists in a rotten jail while the murderers and muggers who have traumatized tourists go free.

  • Gl Greene

    I was just in Nassau, on Bay street and the straw market. Nobody offered to sell me pot anywhere. Guess I’m not the target demographic. But I’ve heard it many times “beware of other countries drug laws; much tougher than in the US.” Not sure it’s fair to compare Miami drug laws to The Bahamas’…they are two different countries. Despite all the warnings prior to our visit I did have a pleasant time there. As for the police… we did witness a drunk spring breaker crash her rented moped, nearly hitting a few pedestrians. Luckily she appeared to be uninjured. The police arrived almost instantly, checked the moped for damage, helped her pick up the pieces and then sent her on her way. She was obviously toasted but the police didn’t seem to care.

  • Andy Smithers

    Joe Johnson I was just there in December and I make my judgement based on personal experience. I went to the Queens Staircase and spoke with Officer Brown who bluntly told me that 8 cruise pasengers were robbed and beaten on the spot where we stand. He cautioned me for good reason and I thanked him for his candor. If the police tell you to be careful I listen. I don’t find pot problematic in its use but the corruption and the violence that it brings cause me concern. I don’t think a war on drugs serves any purpose. Nations should look to treatment and regulation to bring safety to the residents as well as visitors. Its a common sense approach to an industry that is not going anywhere. Pot is offered on the street freely and I have the common sense to not bring it on to a ship. Not a stoned tourist…

  • tinikini

    Really?????? The police in the Bahamas don’t have anything better to do than to bust tourists with a couple of joints???? How sad when their islands are having such horrible issues.

    I have only been on 3 cruises but I have to wonder, just exactly where do you smoke pot on a cruise ship without getting busted? I think I would have rather been busted on the island and paid my fine, rather than be busted on the cruise ship and kicked off at the next port. But then again I am from Colorado, where pot is legal, so I look at pot differently than most people.

    Our law states that you cannot annoy anyone with the smell, it is not to be used around anyone under 21, and you cannot smoke it in public. So how do you not annoy anyone on the cruise ship if you are smoking on the balcony or in your room and the smell permeates the halls? You just broke the law if you would have done that in Colorado staying in a hotel. Just because it is legal doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want, it is highly regulated.

    As another post said, we have all been warned to mind our P’s and Q’s when we are in a foreign country no matter where we are from. Know your laws and stick to activities that are legal.

    In all fairness Jim, IMHO, if you are going to call passengers who are in the possession of a couple of joints “potheads” then you should call passengers who have a couple of drinks or more everyday all week “drunks”.

  • Captain Kirk

    US law and binding agreements between the cruise lines and US Customs/CBP actually requires cruise lines to screen, intercept and hand over to local law enforcement anybody in possession of any contaband, no matter how small. In Chicago 9 people were shot dead during Easter Weekend, still police issued traffic tickets…… cannot make such silly comparisons”…..

  • fred

    I’m sorry but when you go to a foreign country you observe their laws. You don’t want to go into a Bahamian jail? Then don’t break the law.