Harvard instructor caught with pot in Bermuda

Apr 30, 2012, 10:12 PM

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) – A Harvard instructor who was caught with a small amount of marijuana hidden in her underwear at this British territory’s airport was released Monday by a judge.

Mey Akashah, an environmental health instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health, admitted bringing 6 grams (0.21 ounce) of pot into Bermuda for a weekend trip with her husband, but said a doctor prescribed it for medical reasons.

Prosecutors said a small plastic bag containing the marijuana was stuffed in her underwear. She was detained after her Friday flight when sniffer dogs alerted airport authorities.

At her court hearing Monday, the Boston resident acknowledged that she knew marijuana was illegal in Bermuda but she “responded illogically due to the amount of pain I was in.”

She could provide no proof for the magistrate hearing the case that she had legally been prescribed marijuana for post-operative pain and nausea. She said her doctor in California had all the documentation.

Making note of her education and position at Harvard, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner said he found it “strange” she could provide no proof, but he discharged her from custody with no fine. He said a conviction would have an “overwhelming effect” on the visibly emotional Akashah.

Julie F. Rafferty, a spokeswoman for the Harvard School of Public Health, said Akashah graduated with a doctorate last year and holds a temporary appointment as an instructor that’s due to end May 31. Citing privacy rules, Rafferty would not discuss if there would be any disciplinary action.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Harvard instructor caught with pot in Bermuda