PPM considering decriminalising ganja

| 17/05/2017 | 52 Comments

(CNS Election): The Progressives are planning to take a closer look at decriminalising the recreational use of ganja, a leading Cabinet minister has said. Following the PPM government’s move to legalise the use of medicinal cannabis oil, Marco Archer has revealed plans to weigh-up the possibility of going a step further. The finance minister said that he was one of the Cabinet members who had pressed for the oil to be legalised and had invited Dennie Warren, who was spearheading the campaign to allow its medical use, to present the case to the PPM caucus.

“We are strongly considering, looking carefully at the decriminalisation of marijuana because we are criminalising our young people,” Archer said during the Cayman 27 live national debate on Tuesday night. In one of the liveliest and most interesting televised debates in the campaign so far, Archer set out his clear support for government taking the next step, following changes to the law made by the administration, to stop people being criminalised over the use of ganja.

He said marijuana is freely available and being used widely. Despite the opposition from some in the medical community, he could see no harm in allowing someone who wanted it to access to the cannabis oil for medical purposes. Archer also pointed out the impact the use of the drug has on the prison population, as some 70% of inmates are in Northward for drug related offences.

He said this had also influenced the PPM’s amendments to the rehabilitation of offenders and spent convictions law, which gives people a second chance.

Archer said that while decriminalisation did not make it into the PPM manifesto, it was a subject which had been discussed by the party. But he stressed the discussions were about the decriminalisation of certain quantities and not legalisation.

He did not say if the party also supported Warren’s idea of cultivating ganja in Cayman to supply the growing international demand for medical marijuana and create a new and lucrative licensed local industry. Warren, who demonstrated his ability to successfully lobby the government to legalise the medical use of the oil, is now standing for office in George Town West as an independent candidate, with the development of a cannabis sector as a central part of his policy platform.

Archer appeared in the TV debate alongside his opponent in the race for the George Town Central seat, independent candidate Kenneth Bryan, as well as the two independent Prospect candidates, Austin Harris and Matthew Leslie. All three candidates offered their support to the PPM for the legalisation of the oil, with Bryan stating that it was “the one good thing” that the PPM government had done. He also suggested any further legalisation should be the subject of a referendum.

Harris, who has been criticised over his alcohol-fueled domestic violence conviction, gave an impressive performance. He also described the PPM government as being “courageous” on the move to legalise the medicinal oil. He said he supported decriminalisation but fell short of wanting to see it legalised.

Matthew Leslie, who has also been plagued by personal revelations during the campaign after his wife published messages implying he was soliciting paid sex while in hospital waiting on surgery last month, also put in a solid  performance during the debate. He offered support to the idea of decriminalisation because of the costs of imprisoning young people and ruining their lives “for using something that is naturally grown”. He also agreed with Bryan that the issue should be put to a referendum.

CNS has contacted the premier to ask him, as the administration’s health minister for one more week at least, what plans the party has for changes to the misuse of drug law and where the PPM stands on cultivation of ganja, and we are awaiting a response.

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Comments (52)

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  1. V says:

    If they get in it will take one full administration to work on, then in time for the next election they will offer a plan. Same schedule as PR grants.

  2. Rp says:

    Hope this is not vote buying but let’s get it done. No one dies from this plant and too many kids futures are ruined for nothing. We should focus on the drinking issues we have which lead to so many deaths on a daily basis, whether from overdose or impaired accidents or drunken violence. How did we get to the point that being hammered is a cool thing while having a harmless joint not?

    How many people show up at GT hospital each weekend with ganja overdose? How many with alcohol poisoning. Let’s get our facts straight.

    There are studies which show ganja can treat alcoholism.

    Non pot smoker!

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot the crackheads who are committing most of the crime on-island. I would rather see police resources spent pursuing crackheads and DUIs than wasted on people who like to smoke a little weed.

      From another non-pot smoker.

      • Anonymous says:

        Now, crack heads are true addicts and need true rehabilitation rather than incarceration. Any drug you can get on the street you can obtain in prison. So essentially, crack heads are still getting their fix in prison which helps them pass the time until they can get back on the road and have 6-7 day benders at a time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you think PPM would even consider this you’re insane. This is an obvious ploy to get voters. They will drop this the second they got elected again.

    • Anonymous says:

      7.31am I believe they will based on the fact that they were willing to take a risk and pass the law legalizing medical use of cannabis (marijuana) oil.

  4. Observer says:

    Ppm is stopping at nothing to get reelected. Why not decriminalize machine guns and murders? Marco you should be ashamed of yourself

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great idea. We spend millions incarcerating people for this and diverting police resources as well. It’s not a lot different than having a beer.

    In 2018 this will be fully legal in Canada (not just decriminalized). And this is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States as well.

    Allow legal regulated dispensaries so you are not buying on the street and encouraging cowboys bringing this in on boats. And it’s taxed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    pure election politricks….any reason why they did nothing on this (and virtually everything else) in the last 4 years???????

  7. Anonymous says:

    Crack cookers must be removed from our streets! Especially before Flakka is introduced to Cayman!!!

  8. Anon says:

    It is a pity. This should have been talked about before the election. The Voters are feeling tricked.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Marco Archer will say anything for some votes not a good example for a so called man of principle and christian faith

  10. PPM Distress Signal says:

    Desperation by the PPM what next Gay Marriage for votes?

  11. Anonymous says:

    PPM just lost my vote. The only people with criminal records are criminals. If the PPM chooses to pander to them rather than the majority in Cayman who live their lives lawfully then so be it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The PPM pasted the law to allow ganja oil and that has helped so many people! Now they will help so many more if reelected!

  13. Anonymous says:

    The future of this country looks bright with Marco and the PPM running things! I’m happy to see this!

  14. Anonymous says:

    That’s why they also known as the Progressives!!!!!! Great job PPM!!!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I used to have respect for Marco until the pressures of potentially losing to Kenneth set in. I now see his true colors. He did not stand up against the pressure to bring Gay marriage to our shores despite claiming to be a Christian. He failed to represent lawyers like himself who have suffered discrimination in the big firms when he supported the failed Legal Practitioners Bill and he is now picking up the bandwagon talk of decriminalizing weed. Has he asked for a social report on the potential consequences of such a move? We have reports indicating that many young Caymanians suffer from mental disorders ranging from anxiety to bipolar disorder and worse, mix a legal psychoactive drug along with reports that alcohol abuse is on the rise and what do we have ? Disaster ! A nation of antisocial young people. Anyone who has researched marijuana will tell you that introducing it into the mainstream can be deadly for some. This is not a priority for our country. Fix the dump, fix the schools, fix technical and vocational education, fix workplace discrimination, fix social services, fix the police, finish the airport, decide where we are going with cruise tourism and then come chat about smoking some weed Marco!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      People who smoke stop caring about legality pretty quickly. Decriminalising marijuana will not change the number of people who smoke much or the effects associated with it.

      What I find interesting is the fact that those who advocate prohibition almost always have no experience with marijuana, and so can’t possibly know what it does for those who use it. Their opposition is always in ignorance of the benefits and the alternative – they don’t know the conditions and pain being self-medicated with marijuana and what the difference would be if it wasn’t available. The sleep people wouldn’t get, fun they wouldn’t have, friends they wouldn’t make, things they wouldn’t learn, pain they wouldn’t have, therapy they wouldn’t need – and in some cases, lives that might be lost and not just from otherwise terminal conditions. They also don’t know about the fights that don’t happen, drunken fights and car crashes that don’t happen, even divorces that don’t happen. People arrested with marijuana are almost always up to nothing other than possessing marijuana. If they’re arrested while high they’re almost always happy until the music stops when they get caught. They’re definitely not in the middle of an armed robbery.

      The fact is, it will eventually be widely legal in the western world. Our proximity to Jamaica, Caribbean culture, suitability of marijuana to a tropical lifestyle, small society without much to do for entertainment, and inability to fully police our shores pretty much guarantee that the appetite for marijuana will not decrease, will probably continue to increase, and supply will follow that trend. We don’t even have any proper statistics about who uses it. When we actually apply our minds to whether we should legalise, it’s an open and shut case. And guess what: we can still jail the boat people who import it currently, for importing it without a permit. Stamps out the illegal trade. Honestly people – isn’t this obvious?

      • Anon. says:

        One of my family members lost his government job many years ago for smoking marijuana, but Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama were elected to lead the entire western world after they admitted doing the same thing. It is time to seriously consider decriminalization. And not just because it may be popular with some GTC voters…

      • Miracle Plant says:

        I have a spinal injury,onaet from a MVA, in 1988, the entire spine effected. Since 2013, dragged thru the HSA “Pain Mgt” procedures, finally referred out to a private medical facility. Since 1988-2017 (29 years) and I am 42 at present. Of all the medication prescribed ( the most recent medication being Tramdol and in extreme pain Morphine and yet nothing relieved the pain, and im talking pain, (so much so that my BP is a current 180/102-8 daily due to pain.)
        The ONLY RELIEF HAS BEEN GANJA.
        And before all Pot/Weed heads are painted with the same brush, out of the 29years of suffering I worked 27years, until medically retired.
        Ganja is a Miracle plant for those who use it.
        Legalize Ganja for All.

        Dennie Warren Jr. Thank you for pioneering the Movement, many people are very grateful to you for this.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Decriminalization is truly our best foot forward.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Decriminalizing the possession and consumption of limited quantities of ganja for personal use could achieve the goals Minister Archer mentioned, especially reduction in custodial sentences for possession/consumption, and the residual effect on users. However, it would be pointless without permitting cultivation of a limited amount, say 3 plants at any given time.

    If cultivation is not decriminalized, the main supply will still have to come in on overnight canoes, along with the cocaine and guns which contribute to more crime by far than ganja.Those are the real scourges on our society.

    So, any Government which decides to decriminalize personal amounts of weed must also include the cultivation aspect.

    However, the fact that this proposal is not included in PPM manifesto for this election could suggest that Marco has decided to capitalize on the cannabis oil progress and tease a certain demographic of voters just for campaign purposes. Shrewd move!

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed! Let people cultivate their own personal supply and cut off the flow of guns and drugs from Jamaica!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are confusing decriminisatjon with legalization. It would still be illegal you would only get a fine rather than a criminal record… and so you could not grow plants as that would be illegal

      • Anonymous says:

        In other countries with decriminalisation although the ganja might be confiscated there is no fine or caution if someone is caught with what is considered to be a ‘personal’ amount.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice post, well said. Hit the nail on the head.

    • Cheech n Chong says:

      Right On Man

    • Anonymous says:

      1.59am Why not tell us that Kenneth has not included any mention of ganja in his manifesto. Playing politics eh?

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe 1.59 you could just stop being so biased and give Marco and PPM credit for what they have done in legalizing medical cannabis oil,and in changing the young offenders law to provide for removing convictions for small amounts of weed from the records of young offenders ,after a certain amount of time has passed.

      • Happy420 says:

        Thanks to Dennie Warren Jr. We, the ppl who need Ganja for various reasons now have a medication that actually works.

        Legalize Ganja and done.

        First Caribbean Island that permits recreational use, Tourism $$$ will most definately increase..

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with personal cultivation limits, but leaving it at 3 plants of indeterminable size is a bit much. With those constraints a family of four could have 12 x eight foot high x 3 foot wide plants growing in their yard trimming and drying a few lbs more in excess of their plausible personal consumption a month. We might as well legalize commercial cultivation if that is the loose parameter.

      It must also include amendments to the Traffic Law and sufficient lead time for the RCIPS to order, train, and have on hand roadside “potalyzer” THC/MDMA/Cocaine impairment drug-driving testing kits. That part is really important, and frankly, our RCIPS should already have and be using these kits.

  18. Anonymous says:

    OK, bye bye PPM

  19. Unison says:

    I watched the debate – Lucille chose not to attend. But Austen had quite polished answers / Matthew down to earth answers / Kenneth practical answers / Marco educated ones …

    Overall if I had to choose it would be between Matthew and Kenneth. Because although people have alot of bad things to say about them, education or knowing this or that means little to me! Are you a humble person? Are you willing to listen to your people?

    So far I Matthew is a man of action. When Haiti had their disasters, Matthew himself would organize charity iniatives to help the people of Haiti. Matthew would be involved in charity and pratical solutions. It is things like this that covers a multitude of sins. Talk can’t replace good action!

    I like Marco because he is educated and know finance, but knowledge and talk is nothing if folks on the ground level is suffering and your so political you don’t pay them any attention. You are out of touch.

  20. Anonymous says:

    +1 Give Caymanians a real opportunity. Don’t sell the industry out before it’s created! Excellent news.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ganja takes away any desire to achieve or succeed, as everytiing cool.
      An already laid back sector of our population will be completely lost to the false sense of well being , without making any effort to better themselves.

      • Shadow says:

        Ha Ha Ha. You are so wrong. 😀

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, like that second beer tastes like another one. I think I’ll just sit here at the bar…

      • Anonymous says:

        You are narrow-minded and clueless. Many, many highly intelligent, ambitious, successful professionals all over the world smoke ganja.

      • Al Catraz says:

        I agree. Look at useless and worthless failures like Willie Nelson, Bob Marley or even Barack Obama. Pot took away their motivation to do anything worthwhile with their lives.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Wow. I’m impressed.

  22. Unison says:

    WHY IS THE PPM TALKING ABOUT DECRIMINALISING GANJA ???!!!!

    This should have been done from long time!

    And Matthew Leslie had the best answer – let us have a referendum on the issue. Let the people decide.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because that was one of the questions posed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Somehow, and somewhat sadly, I can’t see the top dogs of the PPM endorsing this. I suspect we’re dealing with personal agendas here, not PPM policy.

  23. Anonymous says:

    That should give him some votes . Sound like he would say anything before may 23 .

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