The cops in Bermuda love to bust American tourists with small amounts of pot, even if the pot never leaves the cruise ship. 

In April, I wrote an article about Bermudan customs officers and police who boarded a cruise ship with a drug sniffing dog and found seven homemade cigarettes in the passenger cabin’s safe.  The cruise passenger was fined $3,000.  The newspapers in Bermuda are quick to identify the names and ages of the American tourists and photograph them, but they avoid mentioning the name of the cruise ship or cruise line, issues I talked about in my blog The Bermuda Press and the Cruise Industry – See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

Cheech and Chong - Reefer - Up In SmokeIn October 2009, a cruise passenger was busted for pot when a Bermudan customs sniffer dog found 12 joints of marijuana during a search of the cruise ship, while the ship was in port in St. George’s.  The cruise passenger pled guilty to importing drugs into Bermuda, which is difficult to understand because the joints were discovered in the passenger’s luggage inside his cabin on the cruise ship.

In May of 2010, two cruise passengers were arrested by Bermudan police officers who boarded the cruise ship and searched the ladies’ cabin. They found a plastic bag with 6.68 grams of cannabis. The Court in Bermuda fined them $500 each for possessing marijuana, even though it was for their personal use and they did not try to bring the reefer ashore.

Well, the Bermudan authorities have now stepped enforcement up.  They have been enjoying a field day in the last month arresting Americans with small amounts of pot.

The Sun newspaper in Bermuda reports last week that a cruise passenger from a cruise ship (the newspaper chose not to mention its name) was fined $2,500 for possessing 10 grams of cannabis.  Bermudan customs officers boarded the ship and found a small bag of pot and partially smoked cigarettes.

Arguing to a court in Bermuda that the pot is for medicinal purposes will make the matter worse, as two American women learned in separate incidents. 

According to the Sun newspaper, Teresa Sheridan, 53, of Oregon was arrested last month at the airport in Bermuda when customs officials found a bag with just three grams of cannabis.  She claimed that she smoked pot as treatment for depression.  The court was not impressed and imposed a fine of $2,000.   

A worst fate met U.S. tourist Edith Lord Wolffe, 59, who was also arrested last month at the airport in Bermuda.  Customs officials found 14 homemade marijuana cigarettes in her luggage. 

Her lawyer argued for leniency.  Ms. Wolffe was from California where pot has been de-criminalized.  She smokes marijuana for her Ménière’s disease.  The lawyer informed the court that she has a prescription for the marijuana from her doctor as she suffers from the chronic illness.  He presented the court with a copy of a medical certificate with the illness and prescription outlined on it to treat the medical condition.  According to the Sun newspaper, the court responded:  “I am of the view that this matter calls for an immediate custodial sentence.”  The court fined Ms. Wolffe $3,000 plus 30 days in jail.

Bermuda has a strange sense of priorities.  It has a pitiful record investigating the disappearances of crew members or prosecuting violent crimes, such as rape, on Bermuda flagged cruise ships, as we have written about before.  If you are a sexual predator on a Bermudan flagged ship, no policeman from Bermuda will ever bother you. 

But if you are a stoner who cruises to Bermuda and have a few joints stashed back on the cruise ship in your luggage, prepared to be arrested, fined and perhaps incarcerated. 

And don’t tell the judge that pot is legal in California and you get high for medical reasons . . .   


June 27, 2011 Update:  The Royal Gazette newspaper reports that a "cruise ship drug smuggler" was sentenced to two and one-half years in prison for delivering "cannabis residue" to Bermuda and collecting $7,000.  His companion was fined $1,000.  As usual, this newspaper did not mention the name of the cruise line or cruise ship. 

  • Tom Carten

    Quicker, easier money than a major, protracted court case.

  • Sonya

    Americans are just an easy mark when it comes to drugs. It’s like all Texans have a horse and oil well in the back yard. All Americans smoke pot and that is just the way others see us. Plus they don’t have to work too hard to find drugs to make the arrest. Don’t even have to break a sweat. Just leave your smokes at home and have a good time with a clear mind.

  • Sid

    Lawyer needs to go back to school. The act of bringing it on the ship is importation. You crossed their border with it.

  • Jill

    Is this really happening? I can’t believe it, i’m stunned. Who is in charge in Bermuda!? Whoever it is, they should be embarrassed that this is happening. The SIXTY year old woman mentioned, had an illness but still got a $3,000.00 fine AND 30 days in Jail?? My stomach turned. The fact that they have nothing better to do than to do onto cruise ships to bust Americans on vacation is extremely greasy, especially if they don’t even bring it ashore, someone could be getting robbed, raped, and murdered 2 minutes away IN Bermuda but this is what they’re worried about!? It screams, “The Americans just pulled into port, quick, while they’re on vacation giving Bermuda MORE money, let’s go in and ROB THEM in a way that our government gets the money directly!”. To even have newspapers involved in sharing the information and photos of harmless stoners, as oppose to violent drunks, is purely a BULLY tactic. This is all so ugly of Bermuda, and it’s such a shame because it’s a beautiful place. I could understand having police officers at the port making sure Americans aren’t being obnoxious about it, selling it ashore, or rolling one right in their face. This is the greasiest news I’ve learned about Bermuda, i won’t be coming here again, until they literally get with the program. Very Shameful, for a fun loving happy place in the Caribbean to pick on Americans on vacation, when we’re already giving so much money to begin with. They could be busting a harmless young couple away on vacation from the kids and work life for a small joint, now they can’t go home to their kids? Their jobs are now in jeopardy? Wow, what a great place, ruined their lives for NOTHING at all. If someone from Bermuda came to America, especially to a state where pot is recreationally accepted, I’d be embarrassed to learn they they would be getting treated like this; i wouldn’t be proud at all.