TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18: An American tourist was today fined $10,000 for bringing 23 grams of cannabis into Bermuda on a cruise ship.
James Butter, of Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to importing 23.45 grams of cannabis on the Norwegian Dawn on October 16.
He was also charged with possession of a metal pipe and wire mesh to use in connection with a controlled drug.
But Crown counsel Kirsty-Ann Kiellor asked for the charge to lie on file after Butter pleaded not guilty.
The court heard searches were conducted on the ship at 4:10pm that day.
Sniffer dogs alerted customs officers to Butter’s cabin.
When they went in, the officers found a quantity of plantlike material, a metal pipe and a homemade cigarette.
The items were seized and the 58-year-old was arrested when he came back to the ship.
He took full responsibility for the items.
Ms Kiellor said the amount of drugs would sell for $1,150 in Bermuda.
Duty counsel Saul Dismont told Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner that Butter used the drugs for carpal tunnel syndrome in his hand.
“He uses the drug as a pain reliever for his hand.
“It is for medicinal purposes merely to take away the pain.
“At no time did he intend to take it off the ship, in fact, it was locked securely in his safe.”
Mr Warner called the amount of drugs “substantial” and said the fine was a maximum of ten years in prison or a fine in excess of $100,000.
Addressing the court, Butter said: “The reason it was so much was because it was a two-week cruise and it was very poor quality.”
He said he would have to smoke two or three cigarettes at a time to get pain relief.
Butter also apologised to the court and said in Massachusetts, marijuana was decriminalized.
But Mr Warner said: “You have got to respect the laws of the country you are visiting.”
Butter was fined $10,000 to be paid immediately.