US Coast Guard enforces federal marijuana laws on Maine waters

No marijuana on ocean vessels

CASCO BAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Marijuana may be legal in Maine, but once you step off land onto coastal waters, it’s a different story.

The US Coast Guard wants boaters to know, whether you’re on a commercial fishing vessel or a pleasure craft, marijuana is illegal on the waters they patrol. 

Whether its just off the coast in Casco Bay or deep out to sea, the US Coast Guard enforces federal law in navigable waters. Under federal law, marijuana is illegal, whether its medical or recreational.

“So if we do encounter it in the course of a boarding in a US navigable waterway, we will have to confiscate the marijuana and issue a civil penalty to its owner”, said Lt. Jeff Bryant, Chief of Enforcement.

The Coast Guard patrols the waters off the Maine coast just about every day, boarding commercial and private boats for safety inspections. The also do security ride alongs on the Casco Bay Ferry. They say even if you are just commuting from Portland to one of the islands, you should not have marijuana on you.

“From time to time we are on the Casco Bay ferries and we’ll ride those to Peaks Island and back for officer presence purposes”, Bryant said.

The Coast Guard is not out specifically looking to bust people for pot. But during their routine patrols and inspections, they will enforce the law. 

“Our primary purpose out on the waterways is for the safety and security of the boating public. We can’t pick and choose which federal laws we enforce and marijuana remains illegal under federal law so if we do come across it we will enforce it”, Bryant said.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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