Cannabis oil legislation faces hurdles

| 11/08/2016 | 55 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The government has said that it plans to bring three pieces of legislation to the next meeting of the country’s parliament to legalise the medicinal use of cannabis oil but there are still a number of hurdles to overcome. Premier Alden McLaughlin, who holds the health portfolio, has said that questions remain about how it would be sourced and dispensed. “We have moved swiftly from a policy decision in May to being able to publish the bills shortly,” he said.

“But there are still real and serious practical hurdles to obtaining and importing this drug because it remains illegal in many jurisdictions, including nearby Jamaica,” he added.

The issue made headlines this week after a local man raised his concerns that the administrative arm of government was dragging its heels on the issue, despite a government policy decision to support the legalisation of the oil as a medicine.

Dennie Warren’s wife, who is suffering from lung cancer, is at the end of the conventional medicine road and believe medicinal cannabis is their last hope. Having raised the issue with government last November, the Warrens had hoped that by now they could have begun trying what many believe is a lifesaving treatment for her condition, as well as many other cancers and life threatening or serious conditions.

While government officials have said efforts are continuing to legalise the importation and dispensing of the oil for medical use, with legislation ready for debate when the Legislative Assembly reconvenes in late September or early October, it is not clear when the Warrens and other families who also want to see the oil legalised can expect to access the drug.

Cabinet has approved amendments to the Customs Law, the Misuse of Drugs Law and Pharmacy Regulations, which will soon be published, and a multi-sectoral stakeholder committee has also reviewed the proposed bills as part of the policy development process.

Once the law is passed, registered medical importers will be allowed to legally import cannabis oil, doctors will be able to prescribe and pharmacists will be able dispense the drug.

But the premier has stated that challenges remain as there is no agreed medical body of evidence that cannabis oil is curative for serious diseases such as cancer. There are also no agreed prescribed levels of the drug that can be used to treat such diseases, so it remains for local doctors and pharmacists to use their own medical experience, judgement and research on how best to prescribe and dispense cannabis oil.

Government officials also warned that, given its continued illegality in both the United States and Jamaica, there are concerns around how cannabis oil would be sourced. On Thursday the Drug Enforcement Agency in the United States denied a bid to reconsider how it treats marijuana under federal drug control laws, keeping the drug in the most restrictive category for US law enforcement purposes.

Just last week the Jamaican government reminded the public that marijuana in any form still remains illegal in that country as well.

“In many respects we are a pioneer in this field,” McLaughlin said. “We have moved from investigation to policy approval to legislative amendments and will soon go to the Legislative Assembly over the course of a few short months. However, at all times we have appreciated that we must proceed responsibly ensuring that what is brought forward has the best possibility for effective outcomes without causing unexpected consequences.”

Despite the challenges, government is pressing ahead as fast as possible but in a responsible manner, the premier has stated.

Meanwhile, it appears that there is widespread support in the community for the change and broad political support. Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush posted a comment on his Facebook page this week seeking input from his constituents about the proposed legislation. He said that time is of the essence and if the people believe that this oil can save a life, an amendment to the necessary law should be seriously considered and scheduled to allow people to get access to this medicine.

Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side, also confirmed his backing to CNS, saying he was in full support the use of medicinal cannabis oil prescribed by local doctors, imported by pharmacies and controlled like all medicines under the dangerous drug regime.

Bernie Bush, the UDP member for West Bay, also offered his support. Bush said he first spoke the issue in 2013 on the campaign trail but he raised his concerns about the hold-up and why the government continues to allow the relevant officials to go at their own pace, as he revealed plans to talk publicly about his concerns on local talk radio.

CNS reached out to all opposition members and government back-benchers for their views and we are waiting their response.

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Category: Health, health and safety, Laws, Politics

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    No need to legalize the importation. Legalize cultivation and then you can produce your own oil! How can the government even meddle with the possibility of importing the oil when it is Federally illegal. Any fool could have told that would prove more difficult than anticipated. This looks like a bunch of smoke and mirrors until Jamaica’s legislation is finalized then some connected Jamaican get the contract to supply HSA with the oil. Good try Alden…. good try.



    I wrote earlier: “Rick Simpson who currently sells 60 grams for US$699.00…”

    Further research shows that the email I received to this effect was a fake and that Rick Simpson no longer provides any Cannabis Oil…

    To cure cancer, Cannabis Oil must have a high ratio of THC versus CBD and Cannabis Oil with THC is simply not legal or available in Holland and many other countries…

    So far, the only company that professionally manufactures Cannabis Oil with a high THC content in California is that of Constance Finley, a pioneer in the field who took on a batch of 28 patients with stage 4 cancers sent to her by an oncologist: 26 are still alive or in remission…

    QUOTE: “While there are rarely any guarantees when it comes to medicine, the renaissance of medical cannabis treatment has resulted in many success stories.

    “The first oncologist that referred people to me referred 28 stage-4, second-occurrence patients back in 2012,” Constance Finley says.

    “He only sent me the people that were really hopeless and that he didn’t think he had any way to help. And 26 of those people, he says, went into remission. So that’s a 96 percent rate.” NOTE: it’s actually 93% – still pretty good results…

    “Generally, we see about 70-80 percent positive results from the people that report back,” she continues. “Now, that isn’t everyone, so we can’t make very definitive statements, but what it leads us to be is very, very hopeful for serious applications being developed.”

    • Anonymous says:

      those who are looking or any sort of guarantees are fools. Everyone is different, every cancer is different, every cause of cancer is different. People who have great social support have better chances, lonely people who are socially isolated won’t probably get cured regardless what they take or do.
      Barbaric 3- chemo, radiation and surgery only guarantee one thing- you will be financially ruined. And they don’t cure either, just extend suffering and at what cost? Walter White had to become a meth manufacturer, remember? His chemo was around 90,000 and 200,000 for the surgery just to extend his life for 2 years.
      Tylenol would not be approved by FDA today, it is pure poison for your liver. Yet it is sold at gas stations and is given to babies and your government, your doctors don’t give a sh.t.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Question: Why follow the rules and regulations of a government that does not follow their own laws? There is NO law enforcement on these islands. Look at how they (government) have enforced the laws as far as the illegal beach vendors. Get it now? take a drive around where you live. See anything illegal on your drive? Any Police that are out and about enforcing the laws? No right? Cayman Islands are like the American wild west. Enjoy yourselves but watch your back. Take government out of any questions you have about what to do. Their uselessness is epic.

  4. Lung cancer case cured with Cannabis Oil... says:

    Story of a lady with lung cancer cured in 4 months with Cannabis Oil…

  5. OPEN LETTER to the PREMIER... says:

    As a cancer sufferer, I have researched the issue of Cannabis Oil extensively and I am now persuaded that it can do a great deal of good and it should be made available in the simplest and cheapest way possible. However, a high quality of cannabis is essential for good results and the manufacturing is not as simple as some people think, so it should definitely be purchased as a ready made product from reliable sources…

    Why complicate matters by involving licensed importers and pharmacies in order to double or treble the price to people mostly of limited means who already can’t afford expensive hospital treatments?

    Once you have a prescription, you should be able to import the oil yourself and at the time of clearing customs, all that should be needed is a copy of the prescription. Btw, it should be duty free as well, like more trivial items, such as seafood or leather purses and watches…

    You need 1 gram per day for 60 days initial treatment and at least 1 gram or 2 grams per week maintenance treatment thereafter and the best oil comes from the man who did it first and popularized the treatment: Rick Simpson who currently sells 60 grams for US$699.00…

    So, please, let’s keep it simple and prevent profiteering. Either the government orders it in large quantity and makes it available at the hospital pharmacy upon presentation of a doctor’s prescription – which is another layer of complication – or let the patients order it themselves from a published list of reliable suppliers…

    If Cannabis Oil was ineffective, would the doctors as a profession be against it? It’s quite effective in many cases and this is why they reject it to protect their jobs. Think also of the money saved by CINICO if cancer cases can be resolved so cheaply…

    Please, take 7 minutes of your time to watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN: Doctor Sanjay Gupta Publicly Apologizes For Being SO WRONG About Medical Marijuana:\

    Cannabis Oil is taken by rubbing a small amount (1 gram) each day on the gums and it cannot be smoked…

    May you – as the Premier – make the right decisions on Cannabis Oil in the shortest possible time…

    • Anonymous says:

      Good! Only there are no reliable suppliers of the oil.
      This is from RS: “Every Tom Dick and Harry out there it seems is supplying the oil to people seeking help. But at present there is not quality control so in reality in most cases people have no idea what they are buying.,,Unfortunately for me, many suppliers are using my name and the term Phoenix Tears to sell their substandard products and guess who gets all the complaints. The oil is everything I have told the public it is, but it must be produced from high grade starting material and it must be done in the proper way.,,,,,,That’s the reason I tell the public it´s best to produce your own oil at this time, until we have some standards in place. If you produce the oil yourself, at least then you know you have the real thing and to a dying patient, the proper oil can mean the difference between life and death.”

    • Anonymous says:

      What you are asking for then is the legalisation of Marijuana. Leave it wide open for anyone who can get a prescription to import. No guarantee about the quality of what is imported. No vetting whether the prescription is valid. Sorry… Government must protect individual rights but must also protect the wifer society as well. Governemnt is doing this the right way.

    • anonymous says:

      Rick Simpson doesn’t sell anything. He repeats it again and again- he doesn’t make or sell the oil.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey, screw you all. I make a living presenting as I see fit. If you don’t fit my uber-powerful perspective on life, then it’s a no show. Get your own gig.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I got a cuzin in the bay, he supplies me. He can supply you too?
    How much you need?

  8. Snoop Dogg says:

    Then grow, process and distribute here. Problem solved.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on getting this far Govt, however, I know that you will regulate the cannabis to death and all the medicinal purposes that it has will never reach the people that need it. Its not just good for those that are dying or have cancer. Do your research!

    I would rather live illegally, than die legally.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I truly hate to see how Mrs. Warren’s situation is being made into a political football and some of the stupid comments on this site. I agree wholeheartedly that Mr Warren should take his wife and family off to an already established location for dispensation of cannabis oil.

    Dear Mrs. Warren,
    I am making a public appeal to you to take your family off to someplace that is already well-established with Cannabis Oil dispensation and doctors that have experience with it. Although there are no guarantees that this drug will help you, there is no time to wait for laws to be enacted and protocol to be established to test it. Even if you were able to legally obtain Cannabis oil here in Cayman next week, you would still be a “guinea pig” of sorts – is the drug you are receiving manufactured to the best standards and also would you be receiving the correct dosage, etc. All of these things would have to be considered while you are being a test subject fighting against the cancer in your body. I am putting myself in your shoes and am considering what I would do in this case.
    There are many people on this island that would help you with the Financing to be able to uproot your family and go somewhere else to fight for your life. I for one am willing to help. Your husband has fought a noble battle to take things this far with changing the laws to allow you to get the treatment you want and when it is finally legal and medical protocol has been established, it will be there to help others. From what I understand, it will not be here in time to help you, if it is the answer. My heart breaks for you and your family and if you feel this strongly that cannabis oil can save your life, I think going somewhere else that has the experience in this drug is your best option.
    I will watch this space for your response as I know the public would come together and help you with the financing to move overseas to get this treatment. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your young family.

    • Anonymous says:

      I know you mean well, but why won’t you spare him the sermon and drop your “no guarantees that this drug will help you”,”manufactured to the best standards”….blah,blah,blah
      There is pretty much only one place they can go and do it right, if they can afford it-Amsterdam.
      Just help them to get the right quality material and they will make the oil themselves, and no one will need to know.
      Also, there are compounding pharmacies in Grand Cayman and I am sure some doctors (try Louis A. Cona M.D) will prescribe LDN (low dose naltrexone). If not, the compounding pharmacies in the US will ship the medicine.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If someone were drowning would anyone, government or otherwise say ‘wait till we go through all the checks and balances, red tape, loopholes before wecan hand you a life jacke?!!!. God forbid than any of these ‘powers that be’ have a loved one in the predicament that Dennie and his wife are in and the many others on island whom this very safe medical cannabis Oil can help are denied urgent access to it

    Dennie and his wife are ‘drowning’ as are others who have been thru the hoops of deadly conventional cancer trreatment. Why not give them an interim permit to access what they need until ‘such time’ as the full law allows importation and use under doctors surveillance.

    There are many integrative medical clinics one being Cancun and Dr Rashid Buttar’s Centre for Advancement in Medicine in Nth Carolina where he has helped many with serious diseases and are teaching medical professionals his protocol of amazing healing and recoveries.

    Check out and for so much information from over 100 drs scientists and survivors of the deadly scourge to society for all of you who have doubts and slurring and dishonoring the research that Dennie in his quest to save his wife and so many have done. There are so many complimentary methods of healing and yet deadly sickening chemo is prescribed freely as are so many other dangerous drugs.

    This lines the pockets in a huge way of the Cancer Industry, pharmaceutical companies and some drs. I personally know of many who are doing this. All drs are afraid to go against the medical establishment for fear of losing their licence and they have to go by their own ‘powers that be’ We the people are the ones to take a stand and say enough is enough for our loved ones and those who are the ‘underdog’ and have to submit to the fear mongering and money making machine of the cancer industry.

    One is given a death sentence by the dr when a diagnosis of cancer is made if they do not immediately undergo these horror treatments. The fear alone will make that cancer grow rapidly. True healing takes place when one is not put in a corner through fear and threat. All info in the internet is shared by other caring individuals who have experienced the marvelous healing properties of cannabis oil and other natural means for us to investigate. The info is all there. We also have some wonderful alternative practitioners on the island who can support the body holistically to heal itself with the treatments of choice.

    Please people do not put down Dennie by belittling his research – he can truly teach and help the doctors locally on the use of Cannabis Oil along with their medical knowledge which I am sure he highly respects. There are many pieces of the healing pie as long as we put God in the centre. No one way will be the only answer.

    Overdose on aspirin and you are very sick – overdose on Cannabis Oil and you go to sleep and awake refreshed – what would be your choice – Chemo is overdosing the body with so much dangerous substance which has written on the vials ’causes cancer’ handle with care – any further evidence needed – do yr own research before giving yr opinion. Let this not be the race of ‘the tortoise and the hare’. Yep good governance and good sense has to prevail but a life jacket in the interim is desperately needed. We have seen too many suffer awfully from horrific cancer treatments and most ultimately die or the cancer comes back raging not too long after because everything in the body has been destroyed, all immunity compromised.

    Cancer is basically a breakdown of the immune system for whatever reason and is the body’s way of alerting us something has gone wrong. Get to the root problem which these alternative integrative centres do and not only treat the tumor but the entire individual to get back on the road to health.

    So why kill the immune system that the body needs to heal with burning and poison and cutting which can only spread the disease even more. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE TOOLS AND SO MANY OTHER MODALITIES AND OTHERS TO HELP US HEAL – WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER. May God in His Infinite Love and Mercy heal us of all that is preventing our true journey back to health in body mind and spirit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. They (your third world government) would wait, and watch you/they drown. Its the best they can do. Get over it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    We will just have to wait until a politicians loved one gets cancer, then things will get done.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There is so little research into the beneficiary effects of cannabis and cannabis oil as The US government banned any experiments, testing and research on any banned substance for over 70 years.

    The good old drug war paying off

  14. Anonymous says:

    In truth this is just another quack remedy and importing concentrated ganja oil is opening a can of worms.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I was writing a book on the achievements of the PPM. Alas, I cannot even make a pamphlet.
    Can I use this opportunity to solicit help from the public? Anyone? Kurt, wake up please, it is nearly election time. There are people to be fooled again. Zzzzzz. Remember all the concern about the gasoline prices that you promised to address.
    We are still waiting.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Everything….read our Proceeds of Crime Law, Misuse of Drugs Law, etc.

    Also Doctors need to prescribe and no doctor will in practice be willing to prescribe as they may then loose their primary medical registration in the country they are qualified (unless that country also has similar permissive laws). Not aware of any doctor who only has Cayman Islands medical registration.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Obviously you are very ignorant. Money laundering and drugs has always been fiercely connected., however I do not think that is what the writer was referring they say common sense is not so common!

  18. Anonymous says:

    But we were lead to belive that this could be done by a simple amendment and the oil was easy to import.

    This is what happens when people believe they are experts on everything.

    I pray our government will continue to make miracles happen.

    My thoughts and prayers remain with all persons suffering from cancer.

    All if you are learning about medicine from YouTube you really need help.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The Government exists for the sole purpose of serving the people, not ruling the people.

    The purpose of government is to protect the individual rights of its citizens. Governments cannot take away people’s basic rights to health and life.

    Human brains, cells have receptors for canabinoids in them. Nature gave us a cure for every ailment there is and every human being has the right to use the plants that nature has given us.

    Human brains and cells have NO receptors for GMO food, for synthetic vitamins, for anything artificial. Simply put, it is like trying to open a door with a key that don’t fit. At best it will pass through, providing NO benefits to a human body, just confusing it and expending its energy on neutralizing its harmful effect and eliminating it. But that happens when your eliminating system is robust, but with time, everything reaches a breaking point.

    “Now what I contend is that my body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm through my experimenting with it, it is I who suffer, not the state.”
    ― Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings

  20. Anonymous says:

    alden/ppm decoded: it ain’t happening. and definitely not before election
    that’s another one ticked off the ppm ‘not-to-do’ list.

  21. TreeFourFive says:

    How will this impact our fight against gay marriage with genetically modified mosquitoes?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Cocaine is in the same category as cannabis in the same countries quoted by the Premier, yet cocaine, and its derivatives can be imported and administered in the Island by licensed practitioners.
    Is it not possible to adapt the same legislation for cannabis oil that is used for cocaine? why do we need to reinvent the wheel?

    • Rasta Pasta says:

      Who the hell is administering cocaine and it’s derivatives? I think you’re getting mixed up with the opiate based drugs you silly goose.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I just want to state here that I agree with the Premier on this. This cannot be rushed through with no thought of the ramifications both locally and internationally. I am saddened by the suffering of all who has cancer I hope that this oil will be the panacea but to rush this would be reckless and foolhardy. The words ” Cayman Islands ” invokes all kind of negativity already and the last thing we want here is to have customs tearing through our luggage in foreign countries looking for contraband marijuana oil. This is a sensitive issue and the government has to get it right the first time. I still think that the Warrens should make every effort to procure some funds to get this lady off to where medical marijuana oil is being already prescribed while the laws and regulations are completed. I still think this is possible but I guess what I think does not matter. Mr. Warren really need to take this bull by the horns and raise some funds. I watched the Panel last night and it seems that he has only one focus and that is just waiting for this law. What if it is proven more difficult than perceived- then what ?. I think the Premier / government has made the right decision to tread carefully here. I was pleased to see that Mr. GLidden is doing well- faith really does make a huge difference. I pray God’s blessings and healing on all who suffers from this disease.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Legalize medical use of marijuana.
    The marijuana oil must be made by the user, not imported, to guarantee the quality requirements.
    Read all about RSO on Rick Simpson site.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not sane to bet your life on the medical advice and dosages being dispensed by YouTube phenom Rick Simpson, the quirky pothead from rural Nova Scotia that left school in grade 9. His popularity is up 20x in last 2 yrs while many of those people inserting oil suppositories are dying while he cashes in with donations to his “foundation”. What doctor in Cayman would abandon their oath or risk malpractice to prescribe this, and on what medical basis?

      • Anonymous says:

        @10:16 am
        I like full liberty to do with my body as I like. Is it OKAY with you?

        Doctor’s oath? Hm…. ..

        This is from Dostoevsky, “The Brothers Karamazov”(1880):

        “I’ve tried all the medical faculty: they can diagnose beautifully, they have the whole of your disease at their finger-tips, but they’ve no idea how to cure you. There was an enthusiastic little student here, ‘You may die,’ said he, ‘but you’ll know perfectly what disease you are dying of!’ And then what a way they have sending people to specialists! ‘We only diagnose,’ they say, ‘but go to such-and-such a specialist, he’ll cure you.’ The old doctor who used to cure all sorts of disease has completely disappeared, I assure you, now there are only specialists and they all advertise in the newspapers. If anything is wrong with your nose, they send you to Paris: there, they say, is a European specialist who cures noses. If you go to Paris, he’ll look at your nose; I can only cure your right nostril, he’ll tell you, for I don’t cure the left nostril, that’s not my speciality, but go to Vienna, there there’s a specialist who will cure your left nostril. What are you to do?”

    • Anonymous says:

      I really wonder how many out there couldn’t give a hoot for the warrens, they are just jumping on the bandwagon , what they really want is legalization of marijuana to feed their own habit. If you are serious about this family go see mr. Warren and try to help him raise some funds so his dear wife can leave the island and get treatment while the government work on the laws and the regulation going forward. I have always had issues with both political parties but I agree with the Premier on his decision.

  25. Anonymous says:

    There is plenty of weed on the island.why not make the oil yourself ?

    • Anonymous says:

      6:37 am
      Easily said than done. Who can guarantee the quality of material? It could be useless if not prepared properly.
      The best would be to use pure Indica. It must be Indica varieties or Indica dominant Sativa crosses, which preferably contain no more than 10% Sativa; 450 to 500 grams of high quality bud material needed. Cost?????
      If an Indica strain has been crossed with a Sativa strain, the resulting oil can often have far too many energising Sativa traits. The energising effects such oils often exhibit, can have a detrimental effect on the patient’s treatment and that is why, it is not good to use a strain which contains more than 10% Sativa.
      People should use a sedative Indica strain which has a THC content of 20% or more .

  26. Anonymous says:

    Just decrminalize simply procession and allow small amounts of personal cultivation. In recent reports it seems the police are targeting teenagers who are smoking Gangja. Chairing them and ruining their lives with felony convictions. Ultimately damaging the country. Net Net it is a huge loss for the country.

    • Anonymous says:

      sorry but i have not heard of many recent cases of teens being charged for ganja possesion…..if so they were caught with with while committing other crimes….

  27. Anonymous says:

    Dont wait for government, contact your local dealer and youtube how to make it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I read on Facebook, watched the video how to produce cannabis oil from Ganga. So if government can’t get it right, then there is the Facebook alternative. Go Denny.
      Has he checked out the sourcing? Understanding him in his delegence of information gathering, I would be amazed if he hasn’t done this check.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Taxis drive without meters and government condones it.
    Beach vendors openly operate without licensing and government condones it.
    Hundreds of shacks have been built and are lived in without inspections and permissions and government condones it.
    Many official boards are tainted with self interest and nepotism and government condones it.

    These things are illegal and government does not care.

    Government makes me sick.

    Let the dying woman get her damn canabis oil!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sexual abuse of children is rampant and government condones it.
      Public corruption is rampant and government condones it.
      The cancer causing Dump is ever growing and government condones it.

  29. Anonymous says:

    We have to ensure that this does not violate our international obligations.

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