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US:Harvard professor admits importing cannabis

MONDAY, APRIL 30: A professor from Harvard University was given a conditional discharge for smuggling cannabis into Bermuda.

Mey Akashah, 36, pleaded guilty today in Magistrates’ Court to importing 6g of cannabis into Bermuda on April 27.

The court heard she came into Bermuda from Boston on a Delta flight and was selected for a secondary Customs inspection after a sniffer dog alerted authorities to her.

In the search room, Akashah removed a ziplock bag containing plantlike material from her underwear.

Police were contacted and she was arrested.

She told the officers the cannabis was prescribed to her by her doctor to treat nausea after a colon operation.

Addressing the court, Akashah, a professor of environmental health specializing in climate change, said: “I am aware that even though it was medication for me, I know it was illegal in bringing it across.

“At first, I just wanted to say I am very aware of the implications of my actions.”

Explaining her career to Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner, Akashah said: “Because of the work that I do, I am aware that transporting illegal substances into an island state is ecologically and socially irresponsible.”

She also explained that she was prescribed the drug in California but lives in Massachusetts, where it is decriminalised.

Mr Warner said: “You are an educated, qualified woman.

“You have access to all the modern technologies and you have been here since Friday.

“I find it very strange that you’re not in a position this morning to have a document here from the doctor telling me about these things.

“We could even have that information FedExed.”

Akashah said: “We tried all weekend long to have the documents sent.

“My doctor in California is on vacation and my doctor in Boston is never available on the weekends.”

After considering the circumstances, Mr Warner gave the defendant a conditional discharge without recording a criminal conviction.


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