Four days ago, I wrote about the absurdity of Bermuda sending in customs agents with sniffer dogs onto cruise ships to conduct lawless searches for pot while the cruise passengers are vacationing ashore. Bermuda engages in warrant-less random searches of unoccupied cabins, without any semblance of probable cause, and will even instruct the cruise line employees to open up locked safes when the passengers are ashore to search for a few marijuana cigarettes.
Why? U.S. passengers are easy marks. No American charged with possession of a couple of joints will risk spending a couple of months when they can spend a couple of thousands of dollars and go home.
Its easy money.
I have written a half dozen article about this ridiculous situation. You can read my last article here: Bermuda Shakes Down Another Cruise Ship Pot Head
Well, here we go again. Bermnews reports today that yesterday a 62 year old retired U.S. physician from New Jersey was arrested for possessing 8 grams of cannabis after Bermuda customs conducted a random and warrant-less search of the Norwegian Gem. Magistrate Wolffe fined the passenger $2,000 to be paid immediately or the retired doctor would go to jail.
The fact that the passenger had no intention of taking the pot ashore, or that the pot was for his personal use locked in a safe, were was of no concern for the judicial system in Bermuda.
Even the local citizens in Bermuda have figured out this is a scam. Consider these comments to the newspaper article in Bermuda:
"I can’t believe these customs officers are searching unoccupied cabins!!! This is nuts, crazy and stupid! We are losing tourists left right and center with these unethical searches. Stop it you idiots! Go find the heroin and crack!
Good work! We managed to wait in ambush for a 62 year old retiree and take him down for possession of a little bit of ganja! God knows that old geezer was a serious threat to our very existence out here in the Atlantic Ocean! Luckily we caught him before he had the chance to strike up another spliff, because the very foundation of our society would surely have crumbled! Guess who we’ll never see in Bermuda? Anyone who knows Mr.Reisen. They’ll go to some other island.
Very well put! a tourist wanting to smoke on vacation, heaven forbid they get the munchies and actually spend money in a Bermuda restaurant.
Once again an example of the colossal waste of time that is this island’s current drug policy. Instead of devoting resources to tracking down gangbangers who are shooting it out in broad daylight we choose to instead employ a highly trained canine unit to search every cruise ship in order to invariably uncover marginal amounts of weed, wait around for hours until the master criminal returns, arrest them, then send the few grams of weed to a technician to be examined, then employ a team of prosecutors and a judge to waste valuable court time so that we can levy a fine on a 62 year old tourist. Bravo.
Again, no witness, no injured party . . . Please Bermuda-stop the madness . . ."
October 12 2011 Update: Senior Magistrate Warner, who has raised the issue whether cruise ship pot busts are legal, "described it as “vexing” and “embarrassing” that tourists are charged for having small quantities of cannabis." The magistrate made these comments as he sentenced a 28 year old crewmember from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas a 12-month conditional discharge for possessing 5g of pot.