Harvard Instructor Pleads Guilty To Transporting Marijuana in Her Underwear

Mey Akashah, an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health, pleaded guilty in Bermuda on Monday to illegally transporting six grams of marijuana into the British territory by concealing it in her underwear, according to news reports.

According to the Associated Press, drug-sniffing dogs alerted customs officials in the Bermuda airport on Friday that Akashah was carrying marijuana.

Though a conviction could carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a $500,000 fine, according to the Royal Gazette of Bermuda, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner did not impose any penalty on Akashah, stating that the conviction itself would have “an overwhelming effect” on the distraught instructor.

In court, Akashah reportedly said that her doctor had prescribed the cannabis for medical purposes following an operation. In California, where Akashah said the marijuana was prescribed, medical marijuana is legal.

Akashah testified that she knew that marijuana was illegal in Bermuda but that she “responded illogically due to the amount of pain I was in,” and chose to bring it into the country, according to the Associated Press.

Stating that her doctor could not be reached, Akashah failed to provide documentation of her marijuana prescription.

Warner said that it was “strange” that Akashah could provide no proof of her prescription, according to the Associated Press, but released her from custody on Monday.

Julie F. Rafferty, associate vice dean for communications at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that Akashah, who graduated from the school with a doctoral degree in 2011, holds a temporary appointment that was set to end on May 31.

Citing privacy rules, Rafferty declined to comment on potential disciplinary actions by the School of Public Health.

Akashah, who teaches a class related to environmental health, was travelling to Bermuda with her husband for a weekend vacation, according to news reports.

She could not be reached for comment.

—Amy Q. Friedman contributed to the reporting of this article.

—Staff writer Julia K. Dean can be reached at juliadean@college.harvard.edu.


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