Bracker petitions for decriminalisation of ganja

| 06/06/2019 | 73 Comments
Cayman News Service

Elvis McKeever

(CNS) UPDATED WITH PETITION: Elvis McKeever, from Cayman Brac, has begun a petition calling on the government to change the law and decriminalise the cultivation of ganja for medical purposes and permit personal recreational use of of the plant. McKeever was arrested recently after police seized almost four dozen marijuana plants he had allegedly grown and warned he would be prosecuted. But McKeever said he believes the world is changing and it is time for government to recognise the benefits of this plant and lift the criminal sanctions.

In 2016 the Cayman Islands Government took the step of legalising the use of cannabis oils and tinctures for medical purposes on prescription but that is as far as it has gone. Today Cayman remains one of only a few countries where consumption of ganja remains a crime and many people are held back by criminal records based on the use and possession of very small amounts.

In a Facebook video message, the 60-year-old Bracker said that he was first arrested for possession when he was a teenager, which had interfered with his ability to get an education. And now here he was, 46 years later, facing prosecution again, even though the scientific community has demonstrated the benefits of the plant.

Introducing his petition, which he said he would be sending over to Grand Cayman, he pointed to the waste of police resources prosecuting people for consumption, which could be diverted to more serious crime. He said the time had come for government to take the next step and stop the criminal smuggling of the drug, which is now being brought from Jamaica alongside illegal guns.

Urging people to stop the “ostrich business now”, he called on the public to stand up and demand a change to the law by signing the petition.

McKeever’s efforts come against a backdrop of massive change in attitude around the world and after Jamaica made changes to its law to set the country up as the regional provider of medical marijuana. However, the situation in Cayman has advanced little since the change to the law in 2016 for medical use of extracts.

CNS is currently looking into concerns raised in the community about the shortage of supply of oils for those holding prescriptions, despite the change in the law for medical use. It appears the shortages are being caused by problems with importation licence and regulations.

At a conference held in Cayman recently about investment opportunities created by the fledgling global ganja industry, Prentice Panton, a long-time campaigner, also called on government to move to legalise the plant. Alongside Dennie Warren Jr, who was instrumental in getting the first change to permit the use of oils, Panton has been pushing for decriminalisation because of the challenges surrounding import licences.

He said the simplest way to get around the shortages and the challenges of importing from both Jamaica and Canada would be to allow people in Cayman to begin cultivating it themselves.

The petition is expected in Grand Cayman this weekend, when volunteers will be collecting signatures.

See downloadable petition document in the CNS Library

For more information contact Elvis McKeever on 916 1377 or 948 2548

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Category: Local News

Comments (73)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Petitions on gays and weed. What about our schools? Our children and getting rid of the pedophiles.

  2. Naya Boy says:

    I just say no to drugs but it’s time to sign the petition which will stop this illegal juggernaut from continuing its destruction on society by removing its economic engine and lucrative profit margins.You kill it by excepting it.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Cannabis tourism generates tens of millions of tax revenue in legal jurisdictions. Shoutout to Cayman Airways for the direct flights to legal places! It’s unfortunate to have to fly out and give someone else my tax money but you made your choice Cayman!

    Get with the times! It’s almost 2020!!!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Cayman has a worse mental health problem than Canada! Studies have shown that pot users self medicate their undiagnosed mental illness.

    Maybe it is a better idea to build a proper mental health unit.

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    • Dr. M. J. says:

      Anyone with pre-existing and underlying mental issues can and will show it under the influence of ANY drug, be it coffee/caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, pot, whatever.

      Do NOT take ANY drug without a doctor’s approval if you have a mental condition.

      That being said, cannabis has not been proven to CAUSE mental illnesses, but, as said above, has shown to bring out underlying symptoms as can caffeine that is widely consumed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ahole.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    One spliff a day keeps the evil away.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The bloody irony is that Elvis can get a licence and does sell alcohol legally which can kill you, and destroy individuals physically, emotionally and financially but we continue this ignorance of arresting the man for growing some bushes? THIS IS BULLSHIT! CHANGE THE DAMN LAW AND LEAVE THE MAN ALONE!

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  7. Kmanlady says:

    If we legalize the value will drop and those few are in control will not be making the big bucks anymore😁😁😁

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    • Anonymous says:

      not true.. The licence dispensers are making a killing. The regular local farmers are being pushed aside as they do not have a licence. Things will change over time after the big boys have made their billions. Very positive spin off is the very healthy growth in herbal tourism and the job creation from the licences operators.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Madness ganga has ruined so many people lives.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Referendi!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Well there’s nothing else to do on the Brac so I don’t blame him.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank God for some place that is more relaxing than here ,cause we are turning this place into a concrete jungle ,cutting down every tree to build more roads and the traffic congestion ain’t getting any better .,’,,so CB is the place …Born ya .

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      • Anonymous says:

        I agree re GC, that’s why I go to LC for my ‘down time’ as there is no pretense other than to completely chill there, love it. Born ya too btw. Each to their own tho bro no worries.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    If the Cayman Islands were a country, the status would be “illegal, tolerated/seldom enforced; unless growing commercial scale in your backyard, being an egregious idiot on beach/boat/jet ski, neighbourhood stoop, or gooning a routine traffic stop (see also cocaine possession)”:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you keep to yourself here you can smoke your whole life with no consequences. Provided you can trust the people you know.

      It’s like that line from Goodfellas: “Nobody goes to jail unless they want to. They make themselves get caught. They don’t have things organised, I know what I’m doing. I got things organised with these guys. You know who goes to jail? Stick up men that’s who, you know why they get caught? Because they fall asleep in the getaway car.”

      Smoke in private for your own reasons and your chances of being caught are almost nil.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    How many thumbs down let me see 1,,,,,, 2, I see two thumbs down ha. Can’t stop it now, it’s about time bravo!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    “Cayman remains one of only a few countries where consumption of ganja remains a crime”? On what fantasy planet is that statement accurate? As of October 2018, Canada was only the second country in the world (195 countries) to legalize cannabis…and we aren’t even a country, we’re a British Dependent Territory!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Consumption, not possession. That’s the difference. If you test positive for it, congratulations, you’re a criminal. In other countries, you’re safe as soon as you finish your joint. You can smell like it, you can look like it, and police won’t be able to do a thing except search you and find nothing and off you go. In Cayman they would say you smell like weed, you’re coming with us, test you, print off the test results and charge you. This IS one of the only countries in the world where THAT happens.

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    • Breadfruit farmer says:

      It would be better to have Caymanians growing it locally and selling it without a commercial license (your point) rather than keeping it illegal and creating a million dollar demand for smugglers to try to fulfill. At least a Caymanian will have the means for a semi honest hustle rather than having to support drug lord profits if they wanna medicate.

      One boat got caught means 2 other made it through with illegal immigrants and guns. They wouldn’t risk if it they couldn’t make the ganja money. 900 lbs in ONE boat!? No man. Something need change.. Like someone said below more helicopters won’t stop it from being grown indoors.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Canada’s showing everyone how not to do it. There was already decades of illicit capacity, controlled by powerful mafia, that overnight became indistinguishable from the legal stuff seemingly unavailable in stores. The Nova Scotia Cannabis store lost $9mln in the opening months of sell-out post legalization merchandising…explain that?!?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Free the herb. Put big pharma out of business.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Vote Elvis 2021!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Whoever downvoted Ron and harris below pls explain to me why he/she’s wrong.. our bad boys get caught selling ganja cause it’s so easy to sell on the black market and end up giving the plant a bad name. Convert them to legal entrepreneurs na?

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Nobody arrested during US Prohibition were freed after its repeal, and rightly so. Know the game.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Not all heroes wear capes…

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  18. Sammeh says:

    The question remains, can civil servants sign this petition?

    I own my own private sector business so I can smoke/eat as much cannabis as I want, but my wife is a government employee and while she supports my choice of natural depression medication, she doesn’t want to get into problems signing it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is the rub isn’t it? I work for myself, but my wife works for government. I sign Elvis’ petition, and she might get the big, oppressive thumb dropped on her. We can’t allow that to happen. We both support decriminalisation of ganja.

      Here’s the thing. Not everyone signing the petition is a user of ganja. Many people really think that it should not be criminalised, nor resources wasted fighting it. Let everyone grow their own. What do we lose?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I think auntie answered this question just recently; you might have missed it

      • Sariyah says:

        Oops. I totally agree and wrote a long one.. You’re on CNS after all

        It’s kinda like the homosexuals. I’m straight and don’t smoke. But they aren’t harming me anymore than a tobacco smoker. How does their marriage or someone having a cigarette at a bar or designated area affect me? It’s my choice to involve myself and show up to a smoker’s bar or their private wedding uninvited, just saying.

        It can still be restricted from the public like many legal places. The fighting against this wonderful plant and peaceful humans has been going on POINTLESSLY for too many decades. The plant was “legal” before we showed up.

        Tell me, why do you think that we smoke, brew, cook herbs? We discovered doing certain things to certain plants have effects afterwards. Some poor heroes may have brewed a poisonous leaf if the knowledge wasn’t already discovered and widely known. Maybe they threw an entire cannabis tree into their bonfire in a cave and figured out how to have a great night. We were dumb, and that’s why cars are only 111 years old publically.

        Their have been NO recorded overdoses in history. You need to smoke 700-1150 kg! in 15 minutes to. Good luck. It has been handed down to us for centuries. Bhang is an Indian Cannabis brewed drink from around 1000 BC.

        The likes of Shakespeare participated, which probably contributed to his brilliant and creative works of Art. Archeologists dug up a pipe in his backyard, and found cannabis resin inside. Those pipes were commonly used with other herbs too, but mass cigarette production wasn’t a thing like today where you get your pills in a convenient box.

        So why are tobacco cigarettes perfectly fine? Cannabis is a huge threat/competition to the billions of dollars in medical/pills, tobacco, paper, and the alcohol industries. Friends with those who share an enemy with you , right?

        Over a century ago, governments were easily greased with $ to criminalize cannabis. Reefer madness is a great example of proganda that demonizes cannabis and creates a mental image that it will make everyone go insane. Complete nonsense. Furthermore, the rich white men also used the opportunity to incarcerate minorities who can’t get out of the prison cycle. Guess what? Most prison is FOR PROFIT in the US.

        I do not see a criminal in that video. Speak your voice, Cayman, or we can stay in the the 1960s for another century. Please?

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        • Anonymous says:

          I love this comment, Sariyah. Reads like a Viewpoint column. Well written, and I learned something new today!

          Now, I personally have never tried weed but from watching that reefer madness video and my cousin smoke it, the video looks so fake and very exaggerated.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Unfortunately our public prison spends tens of thousands of dollars of tax payer money per year to lock up a lil weed man alongside rapists and murderers.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This one will get 5k signatures in a week. Go Elvis!

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Yes!

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  21. N. Harris says:

    Thank you CNS!! This is the petition I was referring to.

    If you’re against signing this petition, PLEASE take a minute and hear me out.

    Why must we rely on imports? Do the powers that be not realize there are many Caymanian agriculturalists for production, aspiring scientists for the medicine’s quality control, and others who can get jobs in retail/tourism? Drop a dispensary on 7MB stretch and enjoy the tax money like Colorado.

    From what I’ve heard on the street, the kingpins have already established several hidden growing rooms locally that do continual harvests. We have fought Cannabis smuggling for the last 40+ years of my life and to this day I still see and know respected, professional Caymanians that regularly partake days after major busts. All you need is soil and water so the black market demand can and will still be supplied even if there’s 50 helicopters burning fuel watching for boats!

    It is time to stop ruining people’s lives over a god given medicinal plant while the world legalizes. Legalize growing it and we control the supply and quality. No more incentive for million dollar smuggling runs from Jamaica. More jobs and more tax revenue from tourists who would happily purchase a pre-rolled cannabis joint to enjoy the sunset with like what Elvis said.

    We have a tobacco cigar rolling farm that brought in a Cuban worker (nothing against expats) to roll cigars to export, yet a local Caymanian is arrested for growing a medical plant.. sigh. Come on Cayman.

    One love.

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    • Dave says:

      I remember after Ivan, I was on a higher floor and ended up getting a laugh out of a bad situation by seeing an adjacent roof ripped off which exposed a growing room on a lower level full of the trees. All these years living next to them and was completely oblivious to it!

      Local grow rooms have been here donkey ages my friend, nothing new. And unless you’re willing to go inside of every single home in Cayman, good luck. Carbon filters are cheap and easily take the scent away so you can’t even detect it by walking through a neighborhood.

      We can’t stop it. Might as well regulate and tax it like the rest of the world. Not worth the cost to allocate police resources to.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I really don’t understand the downvotes on this article. Thanks for that story Dave, got a laugh too.

        Everyone is having good discussion for the pros, yet those who oppose have nothing valid to argue with besides “it smells like tobacco” and a downvote button.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I live in one of these countries where it is legal and it is terrible. I can’t even go outside because the smell is everywhere.

      I still get tested at work because work still does not allow you to be high on the job and I fear everyday that I will lose my job because of the second hand exposure. Plus I have children and I refuse to allow them to play in the backyard because of the exposure. So no this only benefits the selfish.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ok but nicotine flavored tobacco smoke is ok pretty much anywhere? Only gotta be 10 feet outside the door. What a double standard.

        Second hand smoke is smoke that THC has already been absorbed out of. You’d need lungs full of someone’s direct exhalation to test positive. What they exhale is so diluted, you’re harmed more from car exhaust.

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        • Anonymous says:

          This is less about harm and more about my job security. You’re absolutely ridiculous to think that the scent is diluted. People who live here know that you can drive on the highway and smell it for miles on end with your windows closed and get high.

          Legalizing has been the worst experience. My family and I are looking to move countries because of this. However, if Cayman moves in that direction of legalizing we will not return there either. It was bad enough that you knew certain areas to avoid, but being unable to sit in your own backyard and enjoy because of others selfish desire to use a smelly drug. By the way if and when the neighbor smokes cigarettes I can’t smell it. The scent of marijuana travels quite far.

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          • Anonymous says:

            A study in 2010 had volunteers sit inside of a highly occupied Amsterdam coffee/smoke shop and they inhaled concentrated second hand smoke for 3 consecutive hours.

            Drug/Blood tests could only detect the minimum detection limit of THC – not even enough to get you high – up to 6 hours after leaving the coffee shop.

            So, don’t hitch a ride with someone who’s smoking with the windows up before work and you’ll be fine. You’re overexaggerating.

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          • Anonymous says:

            “smell it for miles on end with your windows CLOSED and get high”

            Windows closed.. still get high from second hand smoke.. driving at 80 mph on a highway.. and I’m the ridiculous one?

            I can’t take you seriously, sorry. By all means if you don’t want to return, don’t.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Problem is that for any Caymanian to be involved in the legal marijuana business they must not have any convictions. Lets see how many Caymanians qualify now. This was done by no body other than…… CIG

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  22. Ron Ebanks says:

    Unah go and give Elvis a big bear hug and sign the petition .

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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t condone breaking the law, but if it was illegal to wear striped shirts, I would break that stupid law too.

      Ganja growers are no harm to society. Ganja is not processed with nasty chemicals like cocaine, is a million times less addictive and no overdoses have EVER been recorded.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve seen people overdose many times! What happens is they usually find the nearest kitchen and raid it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Booze and weed were found in blood of over 80% of driver fatalities on USA roads, where blood testing was ordered. The same fatal combo in our 4am telephone pole misadventures.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So in a nutshell don’t drive even if you took over the counter sleeping tablets or your prescribed Lorazepam© pill.

          Try again. I’ll be sipping my CayCanna© tea.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Canada has a zero tolerance for driving while high and most employers still do not allow you to be high while at work and does random drug testing. So I don’t understand what this will accomplish in Cayman other than keeping the unemployed unemployable.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Its funny how you associate cannabis with only getting high and useless. You have no idea how many people use it for high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, stress, pain relief, appetite stimulation…the list goes on. I know quite a few highly functional people in very professional jobs here in Cayman who use it every day and you would never know. If they didnt use it, they would be a ticking time bomb. You need to consider that some people already start at 150mph and NEED something to slow down a bit just to survive life!

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            • Sand Whitey says:

              I know just what you mean because I’m one of those people..

              • Anonymous says:

                I make 5,500 a month and use daily. I’d off myself from the stress if I didn’t take it. I tried those depressant pills but I didn’t like the effects. Canna tea is for me.

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                • Anonymous says:

                  I have no problem with legalisation with appropriate controls, which seems to to be the general consensus here, but for your specific comment, have you ever thought about changing jobs if you’re affected that much? Serious question which I appreciate probably doesn’t have an easy solution, just saying.

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                  • Anonymous says:

                    Where does the commenter say their stress is work related? Presumptuous much?

                    • Anonymous says:

                      I thought the question was fair, it would be reasonable to assume since the original poster mentioned their salary that their stress is largely work related. Of course we all have many other sources of stress and I’m sure that poster experiences those too.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    If you’re making over 2,500.a month and have no stress PLEASE Lmk who’s hirin!

              • Anonymous says:

                One more over here!

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