Here is my story – My name is Neal Plastik. On Feb 28 2009 I left San Diego aboard the MV Mercury, a ship of the Celebrity Cruise Line, to go to Hawaii.
I went to the ship’s doctor and presented all of my proper paperwork showing that I use and posses medicinal Cannabis. The doctor stated that I was the first person that had presented this paperwork in this manner to him. I also let the ship security know. We sailed at sea for 5 days without any incident. I was able to medicate in a normal, albeit very discreet manner. The first port we hit was Hilo. I went off of the ship with my medicine in my bag and returned to security with my medicine. When the security guard opened my bag and saw my medical cannabis, he turned it over to his supervisor, and the supervisor gave it back to me and said,” have a nice day”.
I went back onboard with no problem and we sailed over to the other end of Hilo. I was then informed by the ship’s security officer that I shouldn’t take my medical cannabis off the ship. I found this to be quite ludicrous. They informed me that I could not be taking my medical cannabis to shore. I went to shore without my medicine and then talked to the Harbor Master. I asked him what his policy was on medicinal cannabis. The Harbor Master informed me that as long as I was not taking duffelbags back onboard, and it was for my own personal use, he had no problem with it. We sailed to Maui and anchored in the port of La Hinna.
During dinner I was told to meet with the staff. My parents, my brother, and I all had a meeting with staff. Guest relations, the Head of Hotel, the First Officer and Security Officer were there. They were telling me that I violated rules of the ship by transporting my medicine on and off of the ship. They also claimed that I was smoking pot on the pier, which was a total lie. During the meeting I looked at my watch because I needed to get my rental car returned and get back to the ship before they set sail. So I decided to leave and take care of the rental car return. I went down the gang plank and when I stepped onto shore I was told by the staff that I will not be allowed to return back onboard and I am met by 6 police officers at the ship’s pier. The First Captain says that I am not welcome aboard the ship. I argued with the police that I have medicine, that it is not contraband, that I am a patient and that this is legal. Maui then claims they do not want to recognize California’s medical marijuana card even though Maui does have a medical marijuana card for Hawaii. I then thought I would take my belongings in the rental car. Ten minutes later I get a phone call from my brother, telling me the ship’s staff has extracted everything from my room and the safe, $2000 dollars in cash and medicine and even my brother’s belongings (even though he wasnt been removed from the ship), were seized by the cruise ship staff and turned over to the
Maui police. I needed to go back to the pier to identify my property. I went back willing to claim responsibility for my medicinal cannabis but they refused to let my brother take his money back. I returned to the pier, walked up to the officers. And was told “You should have never come back. You are under arrest.” I asked “What am I being arrested for?” And he said “Dope.” I was arrested and placed in the car on the hard plastic seat with handcuffs that got real tight on my wrists. I asked them why I was being treated like a criminal and told them that I was only a patient. I asked them what my bail would be and he said probably 100 dollars. I was placed in a holding cell and after a couple of hours I was brought out to sign the bail paperwork and was told that bail was 10,400 dollars because I was being charged with 2 felonies and a misdemeanor. I passed out. I went unconscious. paramedics were summoned. I did not have the bail money. I complained of pain to the paramedics, I requested my PRN Vicodin of 2 tablets and was only given one by the patrol officers who did not have a nursing license or MD license.
I woke up 2PM the next day when my parents posted bail. I had a 3:15 PM flight out of Maui. I was not in possession of anything at the time of my arrest and I was charged for my medical cannabis. Hawaii does acknowledge Hawaiian cannabis but they do not acknowledge the California paperwork.
Now I must fly back to Maui for a court appearance on march 30th at 8:30 AM. I am currently on probation and need to get permission from my probation officer also before I go to Maui. I need frequent flyer miles or some type of miracle to take care of this challenge. Maybe I can change something. Maybe one day we will be able to take a cruise and medicate like anyone else.