Lawyer drafts bill, begins campaign for ganja vote

| 26/10/2021 | 190 Comments

(CNS): Local lawyer Orrie Merren and businessman Prentice Panton have joined forces to spearhead a campaign for government to decriminalise the private possession and recreational use of ganja. Having already written draft legislation and contacted government about their proposal, Merren and Panton hope they can persuade PACT to move towards a sustainable cannabis policy for Cayman, with the decriminalisation of adult use and small scale home cultivation, without a national vote.

But to be on the safe side, they have officially launched a petition for a people-initiated referendum to show the politicians that this is well supported and long overdue.

The two men believe it is time to take the next step in the legislative regime controlling the use of ganja for medicinal and private recreational use. Falling short of calling for the lifting of all prohibitions because of the challenges regarding international drug trafficking treaties, they believe decriminalisation of private consumption, possession and small scale local cultivation is the easiest way for Cayman to move forward.

Merren, a second generation Caymanian lawyer, said he has been researching the developing laws around cannabis since 2015 and that the draft legislation he and a number of other legal experts have drawn up addresses the decriminalisation of the personal adult use of cannabis in private and the establishment of a medical cannabis licensing authority to pave the way for a domestic medicinal sector and small scale cultivation.

Given the extent of privacy protections in the Cayman Islands Constitution’s Bill of Rights, Merren told CNS that the continued criminalisation of adults using ganja in the privacy of their own homes is a probably a breach of that right. He said the Constitution is “broad and robust and well positioned to pave the way for the decriminalisation and regulation for the private use of cannabis”.

Merren said that using cannabis without a prescription is not inherently criminal per se, yet when someone who is not a problem to society is consuming or using it we are applying “lasting, harsh, legal and social consequences” and a criminal record. He noted that Premier Wayne Panton said in his Strategic Policy Statement that the punishment does not fit the crime when it comes to the use of this drug.

“Young people who could contribute positively to the community are plagued by a criminal record, which undermines their employment and business opportunities, and it affects their ability to travel for education or qualify for a trade or even seek medical attention,” Merren said, adding that these are serious limitations placed on people who are not criminals but enjoy the benefits of a therapeutic plant.

He said that the stigma has generated a unjustifiable discriminatory criminal penalization and Cayman now needs to go through a process of an accurate cannabis education programme that deals with the role ganja can play in the community, as well as substance-abuse treatment and therapy options for those with dependency problems.

Merren said that local psychiatrist Dr Marc Lockhart has been an enormous help with the work on the draft legislation and around the more challenging areas of the subject.

“Dr Lockhart has committed to assisting with educating the public on medical cannabis issues in furtherance of the referendum petition, and I am very grateful for his contributions from the perspective of a medical doctor,” Merren said.

He explained that the creation of a medical authority would pave the way for a medicinal cannabis sector to emerge in Cayman following the legislation passed in 2016 to provide for the prescription of cannabis by a doctor. Currently, all prescription cannabis is imported from overseas and there is no provision for domestic cultivation and cannabinoid extraction, so the healthcare professionals are forced to import medicinal cannabis products from authorised jurisdictions.

“The availability and variety of medical cannabis products for import are limited, which has led to sourcing issues,” he said, adding that things have become much worse in that face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is wreaking havoc on the world’s supply chains. “The costs of importing these products not only increases the ultimate costs to prescribed patients but it also decreases the domestic profit-earning opportunities.”

Merren is advocating instead for licences to be issued exclusively to Caymanian-owned and controlled businesses to legally produce medical cannabis, creating a whole new economic sector that can meet the needs of doctors and their patients as well as generate new business opportunities for local entrepreneurs and growers.

The current premier has already clearly voiced his support for decriminalising cannabis. But six months after the election, the government, which is almost exclusively occupied with managing the COVID pandemic, has made no move to advance the necessary legislative changes or begin the conversation in the community about a regulated cannabis regime.

Merren said that while Home Affairs Minister Bernie Bush is extremely keen to see this issues addressed and has spent considerable time with him and his fellow advocates for the decriminalisation of cannabis, so far no commitments have been made to push this forward.

Consequently, Merren and Prentice Panton, with the proposed legislation in hand, have formally launched a petition to trigger a referendum, and they now need all hands on deck to begin the process of collecting signatures. Having learned valuable lessons from the successful Cruise Port Referendum campaign, Merren said they are now seeking volunteers.

He said the team is now in the process of setting up social media accounts but petitions are available at all Reflections, Liquor for Less, and Hemp and Tobacco stores.

See petition and proposed legislation in the CNS Library.

Anyone who can help with collecting signature is asked to e-mail ccreform345@gmail.com

Anyone who would like to sign a petition privately or to know more about the campaign for cannabis reform can contact Orrie Merren directly on 916-4947.


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Comments (190)

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  1. Careful what you wish for says:

    Their aim: to turn them into addicts for super-strength cannabis disguised as harmless sweets. To destroy their innocent young lives in return for vast profits.

    • Anonymous says:

      Edibles are low priority on the totem pole.

    • Anonymous says:

      This could be a direct quote out of “Reefer Madness” propaganda from 1936.

      My civil servant coworkers still get their tobacco cig breaks, and flavored nicotine vapes/alcohol are surely a thing marketed to “young lives”.

      Why the double standard, Ronald Reagan?

    • Anonymous says:

      Children must be protected.

      • Anonymous says:

        And they will be protected if the source is a regulated counter (i.e. alcohol and vapes) instead of a drug dealer who sells $5 portions to anyone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    In the US alcohol used to be illegal in the early days of American history and Cannabis was legal. Because Americans realized they could make lots of money off of alcohol. They put out copious amounts of propaganda to turn the cannabis users into alcoholics. This was the Prohibition Act. This was the start of the Western World’s negative outlook on cannabis.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmmm, some serious fact checking required. Alcohol was not illegal in the early days of American history. Very few substances were illegal prior to 100 years ago, including heroin, cocaine, cannabis etc. The Prohibition Act of 1920 criminalized Alcohol possession / consumption. The first national regulation of Cannabis in the US came in 1937, which criminalized recreational use, then 1970 prohibited medical use. Not against legalization, weed is legal in my home country and there doesn’t seem to be a measurable downside.

      • Ex Pot Head says:

        Measurable? Whaddaya mean, “measurable”? Do you admit there is a downside or just don’t want to mention it? There were too many downsides for me!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think the problem some have with legalizing Ganja is that in many cases it leads to use of Cocaine, Crack etc. We have seen this happen to many smart people whose potential has been lost. One never knows if one has an addictive personality until trying a drug and once tried it’s too late.

    • Orrie Merren says:

      Incorrect. If anything is a “gateway drug”, it’s alcohol.

    • GoJoeB says:

      Sugar is actually “THE” gateway drug. Parents start their children on it when they are young and off they go. Is there anyone reading this who has been able to quit sugar already? Didn’t think so. But your not a sugar addict right? Sugar kills more people than any other drug but now just forget you read that and go eat a candy bar or put more catsup on those fries or drink something with sugar in it quick. Then go back to worrying about pot.

      • Orrie Merren says:

        So true. To sum it up concisely: we live in an instant-gratification society. Sugar is a prime example of this. Very well said — it’s clear that this person knows what they are saying. I “overstand” (not just understand)!

        • Anonymous says:

          Do you suppose that sugar is rhe reason why the Caymans have so many overweight people?

          • Anonymous says:

            It certainly seems to be a definite problem in the US, which is geographically close to the Cayman Islands.

            In the Cayman Islands, there can sometimes be a lot of carbohydrates (bread kinds, rice, etc) with not always enough protein and fresh vegetables and fruits.

            So, without enough exercise, that diet is not always conducive to staying slim and trim.

    • Anonymous says:

      You bet. It is a gateway drug to harder drugs and it alone has messeed up so many young Caymanian lives. By smoking it has messed up their brains and even make them lazy. Doesn’t Mr. Merren and Mr. Panton know that too many young Caymanian lives have already been messed up. I agree with Mr. Merren about the convictions and the sentences for our young Caymanians regarding the minor offences. But isn’t that the way it is with everything here that our young Caymanians commit. Especially our young men.They get all the convictions and harsh sentences for everything when an expat or a politician can commit the most serious of crimes and get just a slap on the hand. Mr. Merren as a lawyer if you want something to fight for fight for the rights of our young people who are suffering in one form or the other. As a mother who has seen so much destruction with my own sons, nephews and other peoples children because of this same ganja am begging you to reconsider your actions and do the right thing.

      • WaYaSay says:

        The only people who has gotten “messed up” from weed are the ones who were fired from their jobs or sent to jail because we chose to make weed illegal.

        There are thousands of respectable, ambitious, hard working Caymanians that you interact with every day, and without whom Cayman could not function, who chose to discretely smoke weed. They do it for different and personal reasons, I dearsay some of them do on a weekend so that it will “make them lazy” or just to relax.

        Cayman as a society needs to get real about weed, it was cultivated and consumed here long before it became illegal, and is still being consumed here, by Caymanians of all strata of society, albeit illegally.

        Time to get real and decriminalize weed once and for all, I don’t smoke it, but I don’t want to see any more young Caymanians having their lives messed up through being in Northward for simple possession

  4. Anonymous says:

    Those against decriminalizing/legalization, look up “Dr.Carl Hart” …

    Also, how can one be against marijuana when alcohol is legal.. that baffles me.

    • Dareal Fax says:

      Let me shed a little light on it for you. Booze companies have been around a long time and have the support of politicians who are “supported” by them in one way or another. At present there’re no politicians, that I am aware of, who support marijuana sales. It is possible that in the future the marijuana companies will become “supporters” of politicians who , in turn “support” them. I believe financial support for any representative by any business should be legal, not under-the-table!

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree. Campaign contributions can get a bit sketchy.

        I respect the politicians who do not accept campaign contributions or special favour from the private sector.

        There should be no quid pro quo for politicians by private sector.

        If a politician finances there own campaign, that eliminates political favors.

        Look around Cayman. Too much of that seems to go on. Conflict of interest?

    • D. Truth says:

      Is it O.K. with you if I don’t think either should be for sale?

      P.S. You must be very easy to baffle.

      • Anonymous says:

        Should people not be able to chose what they want to do with themselves in regards to what they intake?

        If its one thing to be known, is that restricting the sale a particular substance may not necessarily solve the perceived issue. All that will do is cause a shift to the next widely accessible substance. The issue is not with marijuana or alcohol per say, the individual who is using substance as a crutch is what needs to be addressed.

        Many individuals uses these and a variety of substances yet find no fault.
        Why most the many pay the price for the few.

        Accountability needs to be pushed more.

        If someone uses a spoon as a weapon, what’s the solution? Ban spoons? What then when they decide to take up a fork?
        Hopefully you can see were I’m going with that..

        • Little Red Hen says:

          I agree 100% with you on accountability. It’s a shame that the Cayman leadership is so lacking! No one seems to care about it in the Cayman Islands leadership….. and never has!

    • Dad says:

      Bullshit! Many drugs can bring along the urge to try “something else”. My son died from “something else”.

  5. Jdog says:

    All I know is that it’s the only thing I’ve found to help me with my pains for over the years

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just imagine if they had said that Covid side effects could be mitigated by medicinal weed…

    NO WAY

    • Anonymous says:

      In Canada, medical doctors are using cannabis medicinally for some patients with COVID (for both medical and therapeutic purposes) effectively.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Merren, thank you and Mr. Panton for this initiative. I am pro-cannabis and hope to sign any petition(s) or (hopefully) referendum, as soon as possible. I support your efforts as far as decriminalization or a “partial” legalization (i.e. certain controls and caveats would remain). I have no problem at all with CBD products.

    However at sixty-something and having a half-century of experience around experts in cannabis ingestion, in various forms, I’ve witnessed two episodes of severe cannabis paranoia and they were not pleasant – much worse for the person! When one’s heart rate exceeds 200 bpm (normal average is around 70); in minutes, surroundings change from feeling very hot to very cold; neuropathy occurs (nerves all over feel tingly and “electrical”)…among other abnormal feelings, for at least a couple hours. Not pleasant at all! I say that to refer to edibles. The reason is that there is NO way to know the THC content in edibles. Due to their physical presentation, people often “gobble” them and therein is the problem.

    You correctly mention that edibles can produce a very strong psychoactive effect but you’re not aware of anyone dying from the effects. To the latter, neither am I but I’ve witnessed people who thought they were going to die, and so did I. They were adults… had they been adults with bad hearts, for example, they could have died of indirect (perhaps direct) cause.

    Imagine the same experience and the effect on a child!! While it may not be fatal it could be seriously emotionally damaging. It can happen as easily as a child finding a careless adult’s edibles… We know it’s real, remember CHHS recently?

    So, as your campaign will be one of some give-and-take with Government (albeit I personally believe a few Cabinet members are personally pro-cannabis), you could “give” on the edibles, in any form. Anyone who want edibles, do what’s been done for generations – make your own brownies (with legally-acquired weed!!)

    Mr. Panton, when it happens, add good weed strains to your present accessory lines and leave the edibles and synthetics (not mentioned but just in case) overseas.

    • Orrie Merren says:

      Thank you kindly for this insightful input. We appreciate feedback, especially like this.

      I am grateful for your kind support and we look forward to getting you all signed up on your the Petition for the Cayman Cannabis Referendum.

      I agree that edibles require careful attention and should be handled with responsibility and with a focus on protection of children.

      As it currently stands, cannabis extracts and tinctures of cannabis are lawfully authorized, where prescribed by a duly licensed medical doctor as part of a course of for a patient under that medical doctor’s care: s.2A (1), Misuse of Drugs Act (2017 Revision).

      It is, however, the responsibility of the prescribing medical doctor to “establish the dosage of the cannabis extract or tincture of cannabis required for any person for whom the medical doctor prescribes it”: s.2A(2), Misuse of Drugs Act (2021 Revision).

      Cannabis extracts can come as a medicinal preparation as an edible right now under Cayman law. It is, however, where is best within the lawfully authorized medical cannabis function, which is for the prescribing medical doctor to assess.

      We are taking a firm approach to protecting children, who are the future and require protection.

      I am very grateful for your wise words, which have not fallen on deaf ears and will be taken into careful consideration.

  8. Anonymous says:

    https://www.studyfinds.org/marijuana-legalization-linked-to-rise-in-fatal-car-accidents/

    Don’t you have enough carnage on your roads as it is? Unlike alcohol there is no “safe limit” for drug use and no scientific data on how long it takes to be safe to drive again.
    You complain that tourists are to be allowed in to transmit covid, but at the same time want people to be able to take drugs which turn them into killers.

    • Anonymous says:

      In other news – Study Finds ______________ insert anything you want to lobby about.

    • Notta Member says:

      I agree! Most of the people pushing for unlimited use of mariuana stand to make a lot of money. The users will be the victims. NO intellegent person would proclaim marijuana as “not harmful”, ……even if he is a Member of Parliament.

      • Anonymous says:

        Prove it. Millions of people worldwide use marijuana daily recreationally with no harm to fellow humans and millions use it for medicinal purposes. Your position is based on unfounded rumors and lies perpetuated by law enforcement and courts who need people like you to perpetuate their narrative to spend billions in a bullshit war on drugs to justify their existence

        • Anonymous says:

          We don’t have to prove it.you are proposing legalization, so you have to prove it. And really, if your conspiracy-soaked post is an indication of the standard of your argument, I’d rather leave the situation as it is.

      • Anonymous says:

        Speak only for yourself. Most intelligent people would not agree with you.
        …………unless they are also ignorant.

        • A West End Neurologist says:

          7:02 a m, You have been put into the “Not necessarily intelligent” group.

          • Anonymous says:

            By the not necessarily ignorant group. Thankyou for proving my point and try to speak only for yourself if you still can.

            • West End Neurologist says:

              Yes, I can take it or leave it. I left it. And I can speak for myself. I quit using it after I lost a member of my family and his wife and their 6 year old little girl. Please NEVER say it doesn’t affect your driving!

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly!
        Sensible residents are mute and coward.

    • Anonymous says:

      Would rather have people high and slow than drunk and fast.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absurd argument based in zero facts.

  9. Slacker says:

    Well done Orrie. Sometimes politicians need a little push.

    In addition to Dr. Lockhart’s evidence you may also want to look at Portugal’s 15+ years of experience with decriminalization of drugs. It does not lead to the zombie apocalypse. The savings that would come from avoiding policing, criminal processes and incarceration, can be diverted to treatment, for the minority who will abuse drugs and develop social or mental health problems.

    • D. Truth says:

      Mental Health Problems? Well….. at least you mentioned the abuse of drugs and stated that they could cause mental health problems for the minority. How many people are considered “the minority” in Portugal? And how many Caymanians will be the minority that will have the mental health problems……… and who will pay for their treatment?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Great news. We might be the last country on earth to legalize it, but at least we are trying.
    Also hoping in reduced CBD costs for those who need it for their medical conditions.

  11. Anonymous says:

    One thing I know is that you are less likely to be held at gun or knifepoint over a spliff than crack or meth.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Canada legalized for recreational use 3 years ago and life is pretty much unchanged. People can now buy at a store, a tested and taxed product. Consumption rates have not gone up (except for youth consumption which is actually down – dealers don’t check ID – the stores do). The product now brings in revenue and good jobs for lots of people. People no longer get arrested for a couple of joints in their pocket.

    Pay workers instead of smugglers !

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am a Caymanian and I own a business that did $4 million in turnover last year. I use cannabis recreationally. My wife does not use Cannabis. She makes 75 percent less than i do annually and I pay all of the bills. Explain how that works in comparison to your comment?

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know when you are safe to drive after your “recreational” use? Answer: you don’t.

      • Anonymous says:

        Prove that. Otherwise, its unfounded and hyperbole

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, well, Officer McGruff is now on the case.

      • Anonymous says:

        How do you know when it is safe to drive for anyone else but you? Answer: you don’t but it(ignorance) doesn’t stop you from believing you do. It(ignorance) is the leading cause of the 70 accidents a day here. I have smoked for 50 years now and no accidents. But I am not ignorant. P.S. I’m starting to think maybe they should outlaw ignorance? What would that do for you?

    • Anonymous says:

      hope you got a good pre-nup.

    • Anonymous says:

      This original comment was a response to this comment btw: Anonymous says:
      26/10/2021 at 11:53 pm
      Jesus, it’s difficult enough already to get people to come into work here at the right time, or reliably. Make ganja legal and too many (let’s face it, men mostly) will be just lying around high and not doing any work.
      Women – stand up for yourselves. Don’t let some drugged up lazy-ass guy take you for granted while they smoke all day and you look after the kids and earn the money for their drugs.
      Life is already difficult enough for women, but make drugs legal and it will only get harder.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ganja is used by millions of people globally with zero issues and many governments tax it and fund projects.

        • Anonymous says:

          Anything inhaled into lungs causes damage.

          • Anonymous says:

            Lawfully authorized use of pharmaceuticals-grade cannabinoids, which are a vapor (not smoke — not computable), have life-saving medicinal value (for both medical and therapeutic purposes)

    • Chuckie says:

      Are you some kind of nut!! Who gives a ratsazz!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for those that must flee reality with such regularity that this is at the top of their territorial priority list.

  15. Anonymous says:

    And before the church et al jump in to put in their 2cents about the “devil’s grass”, when I see you put as much effort into protesting:

    Child Abuse and Sexual Assault
    Violence against women
    Incest

    as you do protesting that we should all have equal rights…..

    Please refrain from voicing your opinions, we know you have a right to, but when you protest equal rights for all, but have no problem with violence against women and children. You have no credibility.

    Stay in your lane.

  16. Cayman T-bone says:

    The Hebrew Bible states, “And G-d said, Behold, I have given you EVERY HERB bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat [consumption] … And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, IT WAS VERY GOOD. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:29, 31) … I follow GOD – not the idol GOV, not Pfizer, and the religious leaders that bow down before them. :)) I am a proud “Covid” anti-vaxxer. I don’t see anything wrong with using Marajuana in MODERATION and for medicinal purposes. We are not dealing with a “hardcore” drug like cocaine and crack. Yes, too much Marajuana can kill ambition, and then it becomes evil. But its wrongful use can be easily controlled through proper education! Just like tobacco cigarettes can give you cancer over time, but we educate the public about it. Do we see people smoking excessively now?  Of course, education and Surgeon General warnings go a long way. We don’t need to be arresting and incarcerating people for this herb!  It’s just wrong!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Excellent news, I hope there is somewhere easy to sign it at. Either at the grocery stores or some location to go to sign the petition.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Article such as this , could take people’s mind off the covid for awhile.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’m very much a advocate of legalising it but I can testify first hand that habitual use messes with your mental health. I no longer smoke regularly as a result.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly why its use needs to be brought out of the criminal realm, so that people can seek help that is relevant to their mental state without being criminalised for this particular coping mechanism

    • Anonymous says:

      Messes yes, but positively or negatively? that’s dependent on how stable your cranial platform is.

      • Clout says:

        Everyone. READ THIS COMMENT, and then consider your comments about driving under the influence of herb & mental strength.
        If you already have mental issues, take precaution. If you do not, feel the breeze & enjoy your munchies.
        Be safe everyone.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m the author of the 9:23am comment. I wish to add that smoking weed doesn’t ‘create’ a mental health issue but certainly if there’s an underlying one, it could bring it to the fore if you’re smoking the good stuff with high THC levels like I was.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Now I need to teach my child to never accept cookies at a friend’s house. What a sad day

    • Anonymous says:

      @8:52 – you may also want to teach your child not to accept gummy bears, tea, anything made with butter…and the list goes on.

      Wouldn’t it be easier to just tell your friend not to give your child edibles?

      Or maybe get new friends if you really think that they are going to feels your child cookies laced with cannabis. Just sayin’

      • Anonymous says:

        Gummy bears do not have weed in them you simplistic fool. You wish to deny that there are individuals who would feed laced cookies to cookies for fun? What about accidental ingestion? Have you bothered to research these incidents in the US?? You want to throw shade just so you can have your selfish pleasure

    • Orrie Merren says:

      This is a very true and valid point. Consumption of cannabis edibles, which is difficult (if not impossible) to know what cannabis-based concentration, after being orally administered and not until prossessed by through the liver are the psychoactive affects fully realized.

      I agree that, with respect to edibles (especially infused candies, cookies, etc.), these are one of the most important things that entice children. There is no amount of cannabis in an edible, which anyone in recorded history has died from consuming, however, they may experience very strong psychoactive effects (maybe a spinning sensation).

      Edibles do have beneficial medicinal properties for medical and therapeutic (and scientific) purposes (such as, for example, CBD isolate health gummies — these are non-psychoactive). However, they are, in my opinion, what require responsibility and with a protection of children focus — health practitioners and other professionals have had very valuable input, which I may see if anyone might want to share professional input.

  21. Anonymous says:

    If there was ever a time when we need to get high, it’s now. This is a 911 and I call for an EUA.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Bout time. Time to move into the 21st century …

    • Cdn. says:

      Ya Man. It’s been legal in Canada for 3 years now. Also many jurisdictions in The States. What’s the problem C.I. ?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Great move Orren Merren and Prentice Panton!!

    Orrie, I would venture to suggest that you’re more than a second generation Caymanian, though. Not sure why that description in this article.

    CNS: Second generation Caymanian lawyer. All four words. His father was a lawyer. They are both Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes orrie is definitely a multi generation caymanianian. As they say on Rundown, they were hear before the turtles.

      • Orrie Merren says:

        As a historical note, Annie Huldah Bodden (or, as my family refers to her as, “Cousin Annie”) was one of the Law Agents (before we had Caymanian qualified lawyers), who (along with others, inter alia, Warren Connolly, Ormond Panton, James A. Ryan, etc.) were, ultimately, all grandfathered in and admitted each as an “Attorney-at-Law” in the Cayman Islands. I would love to talk more, at least at some point in time, about Caymanian patriotism that, at its base, starts with those that “were here before the turtles” (in the Cayman Islands — I love are colloquial metaphors and says) and trace the history up to present date. That is, however, not the focus now, but perhaps could be an interesting topic in due course.

        I wish everyone a blessed weekend and be safe. 🙏🏻

    • Anonymous says:

      Father, Orren Merren, and uncle, Truman Bodden, are Caymanian attorneys, who qualified as Barristers in England.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I don’t smoke, but for those that do. Great.

    God grew it, so how can it be wrong. Right? Lets hear from the god fearing people.

    Don’t be hypocrites now.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to see the comments of doctors and drug counselors on the effects of cannabis etc before going ahead and legalizing them. Isn’t there evidence that cannabis can cause extreme mental health issues?

    • Anonymous says:

      100% it absolutely does. The drafters should know that too

    • Anonymous says:

      Welcome to 2021 – legal pretty much everywhere now. Cayman as usual stuck in the stoneage

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you even read the article?

      Merren said that local psychiatrist Dr Marc Lockhart has been an enormous help with the work on the draft legislation and around the more challenging areas of the subject.

      “Dr Lockhart has committed to assisting with educating the public on medical cannabis issues in furtherance of the referendum petition, and I am very grateful for his contributions from the perspective of a medical doctor,” Merren said.

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely correct.

      • Orrie Merren says:

        Dr. Lockhart did provide invaluable input on the draft Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2021, which addresses decriminalization of cannabis for personal use by adults in private (including consumption, possession and cultivation on private premises).

        Dr. Lockhart has been providing extensive support and the wisdom of his professional guidance from, at least, around 2016. I cannot express in words how grateful I am to Dr. Lockhart.

        I am also grateful to my father (H. Orren Merren III), who originally set out to prove me wrong about cannabis law issues, but (after extensive legal, medical and other research) came to agree that this is correct and is also vitally needed in society.

        I also want to thank Dr. Joe Marzucca for the generosity of his time and valuable insight concerning medical and therapeutic uses (especially relating to medicinal value of CBD).

        I also want to thank Mr. Denny Warren, who is very knowledgeable on cannabis law issues, and has helped better shape aspects that were very valuable with keen insight.

    • Anonymous says:

      So does alcohol

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to mention carnage on the roads. Looks like you have enough of that already.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Legalization seems entirely reasonable. But there will need to be controls and testing, to ensure that people are not taking advantage without consequence.

    There will need to be conditions related to driving, operating machinery, possession of dangerous objects, where the accused has taken ganja. You know it stays in the body for at least a day after consumption, so perhaps a legally measured limit should be established, below which you don’t get punished. But that would assume we have the mechanism for testing at the roadside and in the workplace.

    You know many laws are passed, but where Cayman fails is the lack of enforcement. I fear that legalization will be unenforced, leading to excessive consumption, and ganja punishments only meted out after a major accident.

    But I wish the proposers good luck in getting all this sorted.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is already lots of consumption. How many accidents have you read about lately or in the past 10 years in Cayman where weed contributed. .

      Now, same question except where alcohol contributed.

  27. Anonymous says:

    makes perfect sense….hence why cig will still be talking about it in 10 years time……zzzzzzzzzz

  28. Anonymous says:

    well done to the private sector again….once again stepping up when the cig and the civil service sit back and do nothing.

    • Orrie Merren says:

      Thank you. 🙏🏻 The time is ripe for consideration and, ultimately, promulgation of cannabis legislation that upholds the rule of law.

      Section 70 of Cayman’s Constitution allows the Caymanian People (registered voters) take matters into our own hands to trigger a voter-initiated Cayman Cannabis Referendum.

      This is a direct form of democracy enshrined in our Constitution (s.70, Constitution). It allows the Caymanian People (registered voters) to leapfrog Parliament and (if successful) the Caymanian People provide Parliament with a mandate to take legislative (and other) action to promulgate cannabis legislation.

      Any such cannabis legislation must be compatible with international treaty obligations (e.g. three United Nations drug conventions) as well as our Constitution (particularly compatible with our Bill of Rights (ss.1-28, BoR), which is a cornerstone of democracy in the Cayman Islands: s.1(1), BoR).

      Faith of a mustard seed can move mountains, but faith without works is dead. Let’s work together to do our best (working together) and let it materialize successfully.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Jesus, it’s difficult enough already to get people to come into work here at the right time, or reliably. Make ganja legal and too many (let’s face it, men mostly) will be just lying around high and not doing any work.
    Women – stand up for yourselves. Don’t let some drugged up lazy-ass guy take you for granted while they smoke all day and you look after the kids and earn the money for their drugs.
    Life is already difficult enough for women, but make drugs legal and it will only get harder.

    • Caymanian Yute says:

      LMAO!!! That was a good laugh to start my morning.. Thank you!

    • BLVCKLISTED says:

      Any advice for the women who smoke just as much (if not more) weed than their male counterparts? Or is it only possible for men to be dead beats? I take personal offense to this as a male who smokes daily for my anxiety and still manages to supervise a team at my job and my boss is always ecstatic about my performance.

      At the end of the day weed only makes you more of who you are. If you’re a reliable, timely person for example, you will remain as such.

      If you’re a wasteman (the term is unisex btw)… well.

      People who’s personalities change over the course of time while smoking weed were more than likely like that all the while and they’ve just now slowed down into their own reality.

      Cannabis abuse/reliance is a mental health problem which is another topic Cayman needs to address but one step at a time I guess. Maybe in the next 2 decades.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL – you have noooooo idea how many men AND women on this island consume marijuana and still live normal active lives. Many women here also consume marijuana, not just men.. (Some even say it helps with period pains!)

    • Anonymous says:

      It is really sad and worrying that so many people would downvote the truth in 11.53’s post.
      Ganja is a mind altering drug, and it does not alter the mind for the better…. hence the derogatory term…POT HEAD.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Prentice or Merren ever lived with someone who abused marijuana I certainly have and it is a living hell.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The problem with decriminalisation is that you legalise a demand for an illegal supply.

    #LegaliseIt

    • Anonymous says:

      True

    • Anonymous says:

      Not if decriminalisation includes cultivation of five cannabis plants on private premises.

      The only thing wrong with the equation, at this point, is that obtaining the seeds (or genetics) is (technically) illegal (if amounts to unlawful sale or supply).

      There is a very easy adjust, which can be made, that remedies it. It is similar to something that was done in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

      • Anonymous says:

        What if I don’t want to have to grow it myself? Can’t someone else grow it for me, for me to purchase in a maximum quantity?

  32. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    It’s about time. I hope CIG doesn’t miss the boat with licensing of farmers and taxing of product.

  33. Anonymous says:

    100% for it to be legalized!
    Not a drinker but sure would like to have my little puff from time to time.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Took long enough

  35. Anon says:

    Why not legalize all drugs?

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point. Cannabis is the easiest for now. Psilocybin is probably the other plant-based drug (or psychotropic substance) that, at least over time, could become ripe for consideration.

      However, I think we should focus on one substance at a time. Cannabis can work feasibly, so it’s probably the best place to start.

      You never know how far things can progress, especially when the People unite together for the greater good.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly, I’ve been waiting to shoot up some heroin in public!

      • Anonymous says:

        Lol

        • Anonymous says:

          At least you got the joke, cause judging from the dislikes everybody think I’m serious or maybe I offended the heroin addicts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Heroin is destructive and needs to remain illegal. Anyone suffering from heroin or opioid addiction needs help (both professional and personal) — they need to get out of the bondage of harmful and destructive addiction and then get back to where they can best benefit themselves and society.

    • Anonymous says:

      don’t ask awkward questions!
      but maybe follow internationally accepted policies by mature democratic nations?

  36. Anonymous says:

    I am a civil servant, can I sign this?

    • Orrie Merren says:

      Yes. All registered voters can sign. But, all civil servants and public officials are obligated to not speak out in public (unless anonymously).

      It is, however, a constitutional right of all registered voters to participate in the democratic process.

      Thank you so much for the support. We can do this together.

      God bless,
      Orrie

    • Anonymous says:

      @8:25 – Civil Servant here, yes we can sign.

  37. Anonymous says:

    If there is ever a time to legalize marijuana is now, to help with the stress of covid. Growing for own private consumption is so much better and cheaper.

  38. Orrie Merren says:

    Thank so much, CNS. I am humbly grateful.

  39. Anonymous says:

    About time! Let’s goooo!

  40. Anonymous says:

    At last

  41. Anonymous says:

    Finally! Let’s get this thing going- not sure how many plants small scale cultivation allows but person should be allowed up to 6 plants

  42. Anonymous says:

    Is Prentice related to our current Premier by any chance and therefore any conflict issues like most of the planning application approvals?

  43. Anonymous says:

    This needs to be passed ASAP! Thank you to all those taking the lead!

    • Orrie Merren says:

      Thank you. 🙏🏻

    • Anonymous says:

      no such thing as asap with cig. i remember it took kurt tibbitts and ppm 4 years to reduce speed limit on wb road….
      there is a reason the national symbol is a turtle.

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