As older Americans are introduced, or re-introduced to cannabis as a medical treatment, we need to remind them that it is still illegal in most places. Last week, 59 year old Edith Wolffe of California pleaded guilty in Bermuda to importing marijuana on May 17th. She arrived in Bermuda for a vacation and when she got off the commercial airline from New York she cleared immigration, but was selected for a secondary inspection.
During the search, and officer opened up one of her three suitcases and found a plastic bag with one joint in her toiletries bag. When the officer asked her what it was, she told them, marijuana. The officers then searched all of her bags and came up with 14 joints total in her luggage that she says she smokes once a day for a vertigo and hearing condition called Meniere’s disease.
In her court case, her lawyer argued that she is from California that seems to have the right approach when it comes to the legality of marijuana. He explained to the court that in California, the cannabis is recommended to treat her disease. Ms Wolffe gave the Magistrate a copy of her medical certificate with her illness described, and her recommendation to use marijuana.
The Judge pointed out that in California, people can also get a firearms license, and even walk around with their weapons, but if you brought a gun to Bermuda, you would be in trouble just the same, a somewhat offensive comparison since a gun can kill many people, and medical marijuana, no matter how irresponsible she was with her fourteen joints, wouldn’t harm anyone.
Before the ruling, her lawyer urged the Judge to put this particular lady in a different category that the person who just shows up for a weekend trip and smoke a lot of weed. The judge saw the situation a bit differently, and told her before her sentencing that she must be aware of the attitude of the courts when it comes to drugs if she is going to visit Bermuda.
The lawyer said that a fine only, and it shouldn’t be exuberant is the appropriate action to take on this visitor with a pre-existing medical condition. The judge gave the woman 30 days in jail, along with a $3000 fine. She was taken into custody as soon as the judgment was read.