International Waters

So, other than admiralty law, is there any ‘law’ in international waters? I mean if someone wanted to take a barge out and grow marijuana as long as it stayed firmly in international waters is there anything any single country can do about it? Sort of like the hippy version of those casino boats that go out for gambling.:dubious:

In the US, state jurisdiction extends 3 nm from the low water mark for general purposes. If you float your barge out to anywhere beyond that, and assuming it’s at least defacto US flagged, then it’s under applicable federal law, US admiralty law (though that mostly covers civil law type issues like liability) and the laws of another nation if you’re within their 12 nm (or otherwise defined) limit. Any ship, aircraft, spacecraft, etc is considered territory of the country it’s flagged in (and has some limited protection from other jurisdictions).

Of course there are a lot of things not covered by federal law for the most part (like most gambling, prostitution etc; though it’s easy for the feds to turn that around into money laundering, enforced servitude and everyone’s favorite conspiracy to do whatever).

Of course if you’re growing pot for commercial resale maybe some interesting EEZ rules come into effect :wink:

SD column by gfactor here.


So if “I” registered my vessel to Somalia [while safely remaining as far away as I could] and did not come within 24 miles of any controlled coastline, I could pretty much grow some seriously good weed, as I doubt Somalia would bother sending someone to the middle of the Pacific to check on what I was doing. [Of course people would avoid my vessel like the plague figuring I was out for some recreational pirating instead of recreational pharmaceuticals :p]

Arrrrrg! Off to the bountiful seas of Somalia! Arrrrrg!

I see two practical problems:

(1) Growing marijuana on a ship is going to be a lot more expensive than growing on land. You’d probably find it cheaper to grow in Somalia, even after allowing for the necessary expense of protection money to the local war lords.

(2) Even if it is cheaper to grow on a ship, you have the problem of marketing the stuff. How do you get the good dope to your eagerly awaiting customers, if the Coast Guard is keeping an eye on your ship and the Customs people intercept anyone entering the US after leaving your ship?

The US Coast Guard arrests people in international waters all the time.

I don’t think he was really intending to sell the stuff… :cool: