Princeton Trustee Arrested in New Zealand for MJ

Princeton Trustee Arrested in New Zealand for MJ
Posted by FoM on February 02, 2000 at 07:15:37 PT
By Emma Soichet, The Daily Princetonian
Source: U-WIRE
Even though trustees supervise Princeton University, they too have to answer to somebody. Peter Lewis '55 proved this Jan. 5, when New Zealand customs officials discovered "significant" amounts of hashish and marijuana in his briefcase at the Auckland airport and charged him with three counts of drug possession, according to the airport's customs manager Paul Cambell. 
Drug-sniffing dogs caught Lewis smuggling 32 grams of cannibus into the country at the baggage pick-up area. After questioning the insurance magnate, police uncovered an additional 47 grams of cannibus, 56 grams of hashish and assorted smoking pipes and bongs at another undisclosed location, drugs and prohibited goods customs manager Phil Chitty said. Though Lewis' drugs were in the "upper half" of common individual consumption quantities, the police do not believe Lewis intended to distribute the drugs. Nevertheless, the charges carry maximums of 14 and eight years of imprisonment, respectively, for possession of hashish and marijuana. Lewis avoided the prison terms after only one night of incarceration and was released on bail the following day. After pleading guilty to the charges the morning after his arrest, Lewis was discharged by Otahuhu District Court Judge David Harvey, who also granted name suppression to Lewis, according to Chitty. Insurance Magnate:Lewis, the president and CEO of Progressive Corporation -- an auto insurance company famed for its half-time show flop at the 1999 Super Bowl -- provided the second largest gift in the University's history last year. His $55 million donation has brought to fruition plans for the University's Institute for Integrative Genomics by endowing the research of postdoctoral scientists. When asked to comment on how the arrest of a prominent trustee reflects on the University, Director of Communications Justin Harmon '78 said he believes the situation reflects on Lewis' private life "first and foremost," and that it is not the University's place to comment on the matter. Several trustees and other University officials also declined comment. The University is not the only benefactor of Lewis' generous contributions. During the past three years, he has donated between $1.5 and and $2.5 million dollars to Americans for Medical Rights, a medical marijuana legalization rights organization, according to the group's spokesperson Gina Pesulima. Lewis' contributions place him as one of the three major funders of the group, which advocates only the legalization of medical marijuana and not all marijuana, Pesulima explained. Nonetheless, the group asserted that his arrest does not reflect on his support of medical legalization. "We became aware of his arrest the same way everyone else did," Pesulima said. "We don't have any real contact on a personal level with him, but essentially we feel his personal actions don't detract from his contribution to the medical legalization movement." (U-WIRE) Princeton, N.J.Published: February 1, 2000(C) 2000 The Daily Princetonian via U-WIRE Copyright  1995-2000 Excite Inc. Related Articles:Marijuana Arrest is a New Spotlight - 1//11/2000 Queries Court Sentence on Billionaire- 1/11/2000 US Man Let Off Over Drugs - 1/09/2000 Count Against CEO at Progressive Discharged-1/08/2000 
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