Is It Legal to Smoke Marijuana on the Open Ocean?

All across the world and all across the United States, marijuana laws are changing, which is certainly positive progress, but it can also certainly be confusing and complicated. In the United States, marijuana is federally illegal, but the drug is also legalized both medicinally and recreationally in a number of states. This makes traveling very confusing, because someone might be a legal medical marijuana cardholder in one state and a criminal in the other. These laws become even more confusing on the open ocean, which The Simpsons famously calls, “the land that law forgot…”

Even though the ocean has been subject to the freedom of the seas doctrine, it isn’t quite as free as portrayed in The Simpsons. Most of the ocean is free to all under the doctrine, though it essentially limits national rights and jurisdiction to a nation’s coastline. The open ocean is known as international waters, which the Convention on High Seas defined as high seas, “... all parts of the sea that are not included in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State.” Most ships sailing are generally under the jurisdiction of its flag state though, so it’s wise to know both local and international marijuana laws while traveling on the open ocean.

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No matter how you partake, the timeline of a nice cannabis session is often the same. Things change a lot as the minutes tick by, and there's definitely a turning point, when things get a little more serious. So next time you have a smoke or an edible, see if your timeline matches up with this one.

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