Warren: Cayman must grow own medical ganja

| 16/03/2017 | 73 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dennie Warren Jr

(CNS): Local activist Dennie Warren Jr has called on government, which legalized the medicinal use of cannabis extracts last year, to take the next step and allow the ganja plant to be grown here. Warren was central to the campaign to push government into the significant step of changing the Misuse of Drugs Law to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis extracts such as oil and tinctures. But almost a year later, his wife, who is suffering from lung cancer, is still not getting what many believe could be the safest and most effective treatment for the disease due to problems surrounding its import.

Speaking Wednesday evening at a conference about the medicinal properties of the drug and its use, Warren called on government to allow the plant to be grown here. He said this would eliminate the supply chain problems and create an industry in Cayman that could lead to a lucrative export market.

Outlining the challenges he has faced trying to get his wife the treatment that could save her life and the battles he has had with government bureaucrats, he said the law was changed because of broad support from the people in the Cayman Islands when he began his campaign — but it wasn’t easy.

“There were some fierce adversaries,” he said. “One was the chief officer of health, Jennifer Ahearn. I wish that she had taken a different view of the situation.”

He said that the what she had done in objecting to the change in the law had delayed his wife and other sufferers from getting access to the cannabis oil. “Delay causes death,” he said.

Speaking to CNS, Warren explained that medicinal cannabis oil has been identified in Jamaica but it has taken many months to get the necessary import permit. The final hurdle is the export permit from Jamaica, but he said he believes the issue is on track and the oil could be here in a matter of weeks.

Warren wants the public to think about the next step and “actually grow it here” because he has found that a lot of control over what can be purchased is lost via importation, as patients and doctors are dependent on the laws and regulations in other jurisdictions. There is also a loss of control over the quality of the product, he said.

By growing it locally, Cayman could control the quality and supply, he said, and then being an exporter instead of an importer would bring broader economic benefit to the country.

In a moving presentation about his experiences after his wife was diagnosed, Warren pointed to the wide support in the country and credited the people, and not his own tenacity, as the main reason for government taking what he said was a brave step. Cayman remains one of only a small number of countries that has legalised the medical use of cannabis, despite the massive change in attitudes about the plant and the shift in attitude within the medical community towards the incredible potential of the ganja plant to treat and even cure a wide range of conditions.

The first ever Cannabis Conference here, which was organised by Prentice Panton, attracted almost 300 people to the Lions Centre. The audience was a diverse mix of young and old, doctors, healthcare practitioners and pharmacists. Local health insurer Generali, one of the sponsors, sent a representative to hint that the company might be willing to cover the treatment, depending on how the law develops in the field of medical marijuana.

Doctors Dustin Sulak and Ethan Russo gave fascinating and engaging presentations on the history and prohibition of the drug, as well as the interference of politicians that led to it being banned at a time when a body of research was being built up to document its medical properties and uses. They also explained the science of cannabis, detailing how and why it works and what is leading an increasing number of doctors to prescribe the drug where it is available, and why a growing number of countries are changing laws.

Dr Russo said that over the last two years, he has visited six continents to talk about the drug and its future potential and the need for legalisation.

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Comments (73)

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  1. Makesense says:

    All drugs belongs in the control of the government including guns by license when drugs and guns are seized the government controls this selling sells to the pharmacy the pharmacy sells (pharmacist knowing the DV) it to the consumer and every drug is controlled this way by farming it the same way legally thru government agency. Guns are then sold overseas government agencies. For those that are caught illegally should be charge the known value. It will help.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well PPM…

  3. Anonymous says:

    The future looks very green to me!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t Warren the guy that wants to legalize gun ownership also? Waaahoooo!

  5. Just my 2 cent says:

    So with all of this been said and suggestion of farming and even exporting…will a local Caymanian be the benefactor..who will do these things or another so call expert coming in and set up shop to do this?

    If approve, hope we will start from scratch so the locals can truly invest without having to come up with millions of $ to get going…

    Policies should be put in place where this can and must be only Caymanian owned and operated…too much time they all come in and all they are seeing is big money for themselves and the locals are just sheeps…

    In the USA if you been to jail or have a criminal record you cannot become a farmer of such…what a load of crap…what kind of qualificatiin does one need to grow this that they cannot learn and why punishing people a 2nd time around if you been to jail you did your time so why again aand how are they to function when trying to turn their life around and things likebthis happen…we better learn from the mistakes of others so we do not fail or fall into their mess.

    About time things starting up, start atnthe grassroot level so locals can have an opportunity to be a part of the venture by being an enteprenum instead of just a laborer in the field or picking up the crumbs.

    By the way..our body has canninoids and produce them internally so it just goes to show that with this being illegal..our body is depleted over the years and we all need a little top up every now and then…we are possible a bit difficient..lol

    However smoking is not the correct way and cause mor harm than good.

    Just my 2 piece…

  6. Anonymous says:

    See the documentary “Weed” hosted by Dr. Sanja Gupta of CNN.

    After you watch that documentary, then tell me if it doesn’t have positive effects on serious medical conditions such a seizures and epilepsy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Advise you to see some REAL weed. Whenever you can handle it…I know…we will wait.

  7. Anonymous says:

    LEGALIZE IT! Wouldn’t it be nice in 10 years when pot is legal in first world countries that we in Cayman can say that we were one of the first countries to fully grow and produce medicinal and recreational marijuana? That the government made good money off this and was able to put more cash into the public school system and it’s local population thrived because there were more jobs and a better education for the youth. You guys can’t be on here shouting about how you need jobs, how expats take everything, and then not expect the obvious solution to be innovating the islands job market.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Potential treatments for some forms of cancers are still in clinical trials. Initial results seem to be encouraging, but the required work isn’t complete. Wishful thinkers are getting a little bit ahead of themselves with suggestions that growing non-specific pot plants will yield the same clinical results, or will be applicable to all cancers, or even all illnesses. These are crazy assertions not based in science.

  9. rollin says:

    As long as employers can reject a job applicant on the basis of use then no problem . Smoke your heads and sense clean off for all i care

    • The realist unknown says:

      Screw employers…ganja will bee too high of a money maker…plus every ‘reject a job applicant’ office has a ganja smoker or worse, cokehead Barbie or Ken doll.

      I personally bet you 5 dollar so I can get my kushumpeng now!

    • Anonymous says:

      but alcoholics can work, why cant us pot heads too?

    • Anonymous says:

      Smoking cannabis remains illegal in the Cayman Islands.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Tell us about “Dr” Dustin Sulak DO. Is he a qualified medical doctor? What does “DO” stand for? Is that his only qualification?

    • Anonymous says:

      Reiki = ˈrākē/noun
      A healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.

      • Tafari K Grant says:

        The herb can do this reiki-master-wizardry ALL on its OWN. It’s been dong so since ancient times!! Who gas dem?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dr Russo helped develop Sativex, an oral CBD spray for MS patients, as lead scientist for GW Pharmaceuticals – product now licensed to Bayer. They freely admit they are looking for botanical drug approvals in third world countries to bolster their data set – presumably towards FDA application. Sorry to say, there is a clear commercial angle here that is unlikely to cure any brain or lung cancer.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is a dangerous, dangerous step. Cannabis (I agree: stop calling it ganja) is a vicious, mind-bending drug with proven links to addiction and depression; not, as its propagandists would have you believe, a harmless recreational aid to chilling and relaxation. Until there’s proof, don’t be misled into thinking that just because a few activists and posters here are making a hoo-hah about it, its legalization is accepted by the majority of right-minded people here. I for one have my doubts even about its use for “medicinal” purposes: in my view, that’s just the thin end of the wedge. I think that legalizing its cultivation would have no benefit save to make some money for someone, and further that it would be capitulation to a loud, irresponsible minority and could wreak havoc on society here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe try smoking it… sounds like you know very little about pot.

    • Anonymous says:

      Politicians, cigarettes, alcohol and Cayman driving are dangerous, but we still got’em…

    • Anonymous says:

      Just go to Colarado things are better there since its become legal less opiod dug addicts and they have made billions and billions of dollars to date

      • Anonymous says:

        Dollars which can’t be processed through banks, which are federally regulated. And federal law doesn’t recognise the legality of cannabis.

  12. Whistle blower says:

    Umm hello, our body has cannabinoid receptors in our body that process appetite,pain sensation, mood and memory. Cannabinoids are membrane cells and are part of a system that helps process the above sensations. This system is a part of us through thousands of years of evolution as our earliest ancestors practiced using the natural herb as a remedy to help treat illnesses and ease symptoms.

    The fact that this plant has such a bad rap is complete ignorance of the many potential benefits that can be exploited. Get with the program Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Whistel Blower; at least some folks are educated.

      The sheer ignorance surrounding this topic is astounding. It’s a plant; it heals and you can’t OD on it…..so….wake-up Cayman.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure we’re all encouraged there may one day soon be some scientific merit to CBD oil treatments, but our recreational transshipment-friendly MLAS have jumped the gun as far as medicinal evidence goes. Which of the hundreds of marijuana varietals does Botinist Doctor Warren propose we experimentally grow, for whom, and for what ailment? Which licensed practitioner would dare prescribe these experimental remedies and per what recognized dosage guideline? With great sympathy, if my wife were sick and I believed in the chances of an experimental regime elsewhere, we’d sooner grab our passports, or proceed illegally with available materials – than wasting this time trailblazing something still many years from resembling legit oncology.

    • Lucy Parsons says:

      In my reading it seems that Cayman could only benefit from CBD…we can use a lot of here based on the amount of opioid drug (ex: cocaine) related offenses and addictions, horrifying statistics!!

      We don’t need anymore tweaked thugs on THC here I’m afraid. The gents introducing appear rather nice but pass as shady themselves wanting to grow ganja!

      Read as much truthful information as possible…CBD is the most beneficial CBD doesn’t matter if it’s from hemp or cannabis….hemp is just a word for the USA governments! Natural chemical compounds never change once harvested in quantity. An apple is never going to be lesser than an apple nor will it ever become an orange.

      Lucy Parsons

      • Anonymous says:

        CBD and THC work in unison and are more effective together.

        • Roger Manderson II says:

          I gots this message from my partner in Jamaica who I have been seeing for my knee pain conditions and the anxiety it causes also because I can’t get up a do things like I used to on the job.

          “THC is not needed in most cases because THC causes the unwanted high and other strong psychosis effects on the CB1 receptors, even if used in small quantities. CBD on the other hand, encourages both CB1 and CB2 receptors to revive the body’s natural paths to function.”

  14. Anonymous says:

    And perhaps a boom to tourism, tourists need not be afraid of getting in trouble with the law for simply enjoying themselves on vacation

  15. Anonymous says:

    The medical use of canibbus is now legal but cannot be found locally. Government just needs to go one step further by growing it. Think about becoming a premier supplier for the Caribbean.

    To go further, if we was legalized it for recreational use and sold in small quantities. drug dealers selling marijuana would be out of business,less drug boats arriving, less people in Northward for a spliff.

    We need to shift our focus on getting the cocaine dealers off our streets, assist the drunkards and educate the tabbaco users.

    Grow it and tax it. It’s win win for all!

    • Anonymous says:

      Legal maybe, but not medically legit. Who would risk their license prescribing snake oil?

      • Anonymous says:

        As it ‘appens, 12.32 I got a case of snake oil coming in on this afternoons banana boat…$20 a bottle, or $100 for a case, how many do you want?

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! It will create well paying jobs for Caymanians, improve the healthcare quality on the islands and reduce crime. This will give the police more time to arrest real criminals and drug dealers instead of going after users. More tolerance is needed with this issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      If any country should/would be the premier supplier for ganja, it would definitely be JA and deservedly so.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Pure madness ….and stop blaming Civil Servants. A bill was developed in record time. Dennie simply has no idea how to develop government policy.

    Stick to what you know Dennie. I just don’t know what that is.

    Imagine the crime generated by growing ganja here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really? I’d be intrigued to see information about that.

      Care to cite some examples and statistics that support such a claim?

    • Anonymous says:

      Here’s the thing. This law gives people the choice to use it. If you don’t want it, the law doesn’t force you to take it; imagine dat! Regarding the speed of its passage, are you not paying attention? Don’t you recall that this is the government that brought how many bills to be debated in a single session of the LA? Talk what YOU know!

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh give it up you moron, the criminality is exacerbated by having it remain illegal. Al Capone was nothing but a two bit hoodlum until the prohibition of alcohol made him the super rich murderous gangster which he and others became. Get your head out of your bunghole.

    • Anonymous says:


    • WaYaSay says:

      ANON 5:14, you are an idiot and Dennie Warren has your intellect covered in spades.

      Besides the obvious benefits medically that he has brought to this Country by forcing the government to lake medical marijuana available, this new idea makes even more sense.

      Every once of locally produced and legally sold ganja on the Island will directly take thousands of dollars directly out of the hands of drug smuggling criminals and add money to the government coffers.

      Your stupid comment about crime generated by growing ganja turns on itself once growing it becomes legal. The crime only comes about because the government chose to make possession of the plant illegal in the first place.

      Dennie seems to know a lot more about what he is talking about than you seem to know about anything at all!

      Government pushing through this legislation in record time? Please………. a good government would have brought the change in the law a long time ago instead of waiting for a citizen with a dying wife to push it in their face. Think about how many people less we would be paying for in Northward if they had indeed been more proactive and decriminalized possession of pot a long time ago. Pot smokers are harmless criminals and are less harm to the public and themselves than tobacco smokers. How many people do we have in Northward for smoking cigarettes? NONE.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Is Dennie running for office? If not I wish he would.

    • Anonymous says:

      Before he runs for office he should educate himself on the role of a Chief Officer. They do not oppose or promote anything, their job is to carry out the policies set by the Minister. Failure to do that will get them a long vacation on full pay or early retirement, but don’t pin the blame for anything on them.

    • Anonymous says:

      He announced it on Rooster this am. Running for GT east or west can’t remember.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Quit calling it Ganja… Please…

  19. Anonymous says:

    The benefits far outweigh the detriments. Do something memorable PPM!

  20. Anonymous says:

    this is the future and the truth

  21. Anonymous says:

    Free the ganja!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Grow it, control it, tax it. Simple. All our God fearing churches are doing by blocking this or enticing government to block it, is to create more illegal activities, more gangs, more guns, more baby mamas and the never ending spiral goes on. Make your own lives better, reduce the drug gang violence and use the proceeds to invest in more serious drug related problems, or in job creation.

  23. anonymous says:

    Legalise and regulate the production of medical cannabis. From a regulatory standpoint, we should be treating it no differently than alcohol or tobacco.

    Doing so would not only create employment, improve lives, and raise government revenue, but it would also create disincentives for drug dealers as consumers would then have legal access to purchase the product.

    Crime would go down… at least drug-related…

    • Anonymous says:

      They’ve found that in Colorado, 41% of marijuana use is still via “black market” sources. The heavy taxation on legal marijuana sales (which was a big selling point to legalize it) is such that street sources are still cheaper. It’s not quite as clear a picture as we all think.

      • Who dem says:

        State of colorado is larger than our 3 islands combined *dot dot dot* especially with that $1milly chopper in the air and $600k fire truck booiiii *big sean voice* *lilbihh*

      • Chong says:

        Anything the government has a hand in will cost more!

      • anonymous says:

        True, you have a point.

        Nevertheless, state authorities could adjust the tax levied against it… that’s what common sense would dictate.

        It might generate less revenue, but if they want to eliminate the black market they must act accordingly…

  24. Anonymous says:

    We need to finally get over ourselves on this topic. Marijuana has two man chemicals. One produces the ‘high’. The other has unrefutable treatment and healing properties for a range of illnesses. The question on whether that chemical, known as CBD, can help medically has been answered. It’s time for us to accept this truth and look to develop its use so that our country can benefit from it in terms of the quality of our health care responses and the potential economic benefits as well.

    • Please be advised that..the cannabis chemical that is responsible for causing the “high” (the cannabis “high” is no worse than the alcohol “high”,!) is known as THCa/THC/..AND..IT is THE MAIN CHEMICAL INGREDIENT that renders the plant “MEDICINAL”! Heating or drying/curing increases the concentration of THC (a derivative of the naturally occurring THCa, and is the MAIN REASON/”AGENT why cannabis can cause a “high” . Without the direct application of heat or the ageing/curing process, there is VERY LITTLE THC within the green flowering herb. Because of this, the WHOLE GREEN PLANT that is not heated or cured can be ingested as an edible “vegetable/herb in reletively copious amounts WITHOUT experiencing much of the psychoactive (high) effect). Numerous studies have revealed that THCa/THC and CBD (the next largest chemical present by volume) work best (with a FEW EXCEPTIONS) WHEN COMBINED (WHY ELSE would Nature put the two together, along with the more than 100 other trace chemicals known to be present in the raw plant?) in varying ratios (different “strains” have been bred over the years, primarily by SMOKERS! and lately by “medicinal growers”, that accomplishes this feat).
      Too many folk are being MISLEAD by other “experts” into thinking that only”smokers” will get “high”.NOT SO!

      • Who dem says:

        (Cannabis Sativa) most CBD concentration when grown organics way…all the (cannabis indica) and (hybrid indica sativa) cbd has thc and its because canmabis sativa is “hemp” why they act like sativa is scarce or missing?? Even the top “sativa medical” ones dem have in a touch of di indica (THC) for speed growing (bushyness) true di sativa (tall and lanky).

    • Unison says:

      Don’t forget the value of the “high”! Even the “high” has its benefits.
      Nothing is wrong with the whole Marajuana use … its just like what Bob Marley said, moderation is all thats needed – the problem is not with the “holy herb” the problem is with us 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        Same Bob Marley that died of Cancer, despite a lifetime and 100’s of lbs of herb.

      • Anonymous says:

        Total nonsense. Who cares what a drugged-up Jamaican musician said 45 years ago? The man is ridiculously over-quoted. He was so “wise” that he refused to have his toe operated on and died as a result. Probably high as a kite at the time.

        And did he even say that?

        • Anonymous says:

          Marley did not say that. In the words of Benjamin Franklin “don’t believe everything you read on the internet”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unrefutable? Really?

      EVERYONE has an agenda here…

      • Anonymous says:

        No agenda, just the facts. This plant has positive effects on humans. The problem is, people think you just smoke it but it can be used in many different ways. It can be made into an oil which can be absorbed through the skin or ingested to yield the same effects.

        There are many scientific papers written by MD’s that show Medicinal Marijuana to be quite healthy for both sick, and healthy people. Just go on the internet and do some research instead of being ignorant.

      • Anonymous says:

        The true agenda is to bring freedom to the people who so choose to use this plant recreationally or medicinally. Who is the Government to tell us we cannot self medicate with a natural plant? Who is the Government to lock our youth up for some vegetable matter with medicinal values? To then not be able to get jobs or leave the island for school. To me that is mine and my fellow peers’ freedom being taken away. Until we can use this plant without persecution, we are not truly free, it is just an illusion. FREEDOM is the true agenda for most who support this movement.

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