American Walks Free After Being Arrested

American Walks Free After Being Arrested
Posted by FoM on January 08, 2000 at 07:39:26 PT
The Associated Press
Source: Akron Beacon Journal
A wealthy U.S. businessman was released without conviction after being caught trying to enter New Zealand with more than 3 1/2 ounces of cannabis resin and leaf, authorities said Saturday.The Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer identified him as Peter B. Lewis, 66, chairman and chief executive officer of Progressive Corp., based in Mayfield Village, Ohio.
The man's name was suppressed from publication in New Zealand.He faced the Otahuhu District Court on three charges of importing prohibited drugs after New Zealand authorities found 2 ounces of hashish and 1 2-3 ounces of cannabis in his luggage at Auckland Airport and elsewhere on Jan. 5.The charges carry a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.Judge David Harvey released the suspect without conviction and suppressed his name from publication in New Zealand, saying ``the consequences of publication would far outweigh the crime.''Lewis, who The Plain Dealer said is a proponent of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, is believed to be in Auckland to attend the America's Cup yachting regatta.Harvey released the American without recording a conviction.``Enjoy the fresh air,'' Harvey told him. ``Our harbor is a wonderful place and I'm sure you're out there enjoying it. Don't let anything get in the way of you and the atmosphere.''New Zealand's Weekend Herald newspaper reported that the man had agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to a drug rehabilitation program.Asked about the donation after the ruling, Marie Dyhrberg, the man's New Zealand lawyer, said she was ``not at liberty to confirm that it was agreed. It was voluntary, it wasn't part of a court order, so that's not part of what I'm instructed to disclose.''Progressive, the fourth-largest personal auto insurer in the United States, has more than 12,000 employees.Company officials were not available for comment Saturday. A message was left at company headquarters. A Progressive spokeswoman declined to comment to The Plain Dealer on Friday.Published: January 8, 2000The Beacon Journal Publishing Co.
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Comment #2 posted by Richard Lake on January 08, 2000 at 15:40:11 PT:
Peter IS supporting our efforts!
I find over a hundered articles that mention Peter's substantial contributions in the MAP archives.I wish there were dozens like Peter Lewis! He has provided millions thru various foundations to help our efforts, thru the Drug Policy Foundation, the NORML Foundation, I believe, and perhaps others.His support for the cause goes back years. I doubt that we know even a third of it. It is just fine with me if he wants to do it without much fuss thru various foundations.God Bless Peter Lewis, a real hero in the effort to stop the War on (some) Drugs!Richard 
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Comment #1 posted by observer on January 08, 2000 at 09:07:50 PT
Progressive Mr Lewis
see're glad Mr Lewis wasn't subjected to harsh penalties. I sure wish Mr Lewis would join the movement now in a visible and substantive way! get involved *
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