Beware, Colorado Travelers!
Who would have ever thought that traveling would have some adventures because I’m from Colorado? Maybe for some, it’s actually not that big of a surprise, especially now that marijuana is legal in this beautiful state I’ve called home for more than a dozen years now. When recently visiting the island of Bermuda for my first time, I had the joy of getting to know their customs officials pretty well…and all thanks to the fact that I’m from Colorado. Here’s how it all went down
I was traveling with my boyfriend Eric and his family to Bermuda and upon arriving at their small airport, we were asked to step aside after getting our checked bags. Since everything on Bermuda is expensive, we had brought some of our own booze and food items, but all within the guidelines of what we could declare and bring in. All that checked out just fine, so here we were, all five of us, wondering why we got picked as the lucky ones to be searched. It didn’t take long though for us to surmise what they were looking and from there, realize why they were looking for it on us.
So there I was with Eric, the two of us being searched as a couple, while one of his two sisters was searched on her own and then his other sister and daughter were being searched together…we had the attention of the entire customs staff in the Bermuda airport that day, let me tell you, and I have to say that they were very kind and conversational. This made it a little less unpleasant and calmed us of our nerves a tad bit. As they searched through every cranny of my suitcase, having removed the entirety of its contents, I was thinking back over when we first arrived, about an hour ago at that point, and I recalled the K-9 with his officer. He had been whiny and going around in circles, different from most security dogs I see at the airports, and I had thought to myself that he was acting unruly and weird. But I shrugged it off, even when he sniffed my pants as I walked by and then he just turned away.
Throughout this whole process, we were asked numerous questions about what we had with us, if we had been given anything, and finally outright about whether or not we had any marijuana or other drugs on us. Eventually, we did learn that the weird-acting K-9 had picked up on a smell on the seats in the plane that Eric and I had been sitting in, as well as the seat of his daughter. To make a long story short (and thank me for this in the comments please, because I do tend to go on and on…), Eric and I had received a ride to the airport from a friend who smokes and the smell was probably in his car when he sat in it, not to mention that on our way to the airport, he talked about the new girl he was seeing who smokes marijuana medically…yep, all the pieces started coming together. Eric’s daughter had simply been around the substance the night before, but she doesn’t it even use it and simply has friends who do. For the three of us, we simply had the smell on us to some extent, an extent that seemed to us microscopic. Good thing we didn’t actually have any with us!
In all my travels, I had never encountered this before and now I see, that it could happen again. I’m not a user of pot myself, but I have no problem with others enjoying it and it has become legal in the state of Colorado now. This also means that we may be around friends and family, even just acquaintances, who are smoking it even if we are not…and as you can see, that leads to the possibility of its smell being on us for a time. With this in mind, us Coloradans need to realize that when we travel, we can end up being a target for searches and pat downs (they did a full body search on Eric after they went through all our things), all out of suspicion for traveling with marijuana. Now, it’s great that some people can get medical cards and have it with them for that reason, but other countries do not have to honor or acknowledge those medical cards. We learned through this experience that Bermuda is one of the strictest regarding this and even with a medical card, would have fined us and put us in prison till we got shipped back to the states a few days later. Seriously, they’re tough on it and nobody on the island is supposed to have it or be using it, resident or visitor.
Fortunately, our custom and security experience with Bermuda found us innocent and we still enjoy great laughs from the story it’s now become. Even as our search concluded, we were exchanging stories and laughs with the custom officials that facilitated our first experience in their country. They did also tell us that along with the dog alerting them, they flagged us especially because we were from Colorado. Our time in Bermuda was great and beautiful together, especially since, as our taxi driver told us leaving the airport, we ended up not having to stay in “her majesty’s prison for the weekend, paying thousands of dollars in fines, and buying our own speedy return ticket home”. Yeah…I’m glad I ended up having a different experience of Bermuda.
To enjoy more pictures of the beauty of Bermuda, please visit my online album: First Visit to Bermuda