CMO blames law over problems with hemp products

| 26/01/2024 | 82 Comments

(CNS): Beauty, cosmetic and other products that contain hemp were removed from local store shelves because of local legislation that bans the consumption, use or possession of any cannabinoid product and not due to any directive from the Public Health Department, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Gent. Even though there is barely a trace of THC in products like hemp soap or hemp seed milk, Cayman’s draconian ganja laws are keeping it out of reach of residents.

In what many saw as an absurd move, products made from or containing hemp and other cannabinoid products with tiny traces of THC, the element that fuels the high in marijuana, have begun disappearing from store shelves. The CMO has taken the heat for this because he issued guidelines to healthcare professionals about the sale of hemp.

While the Misuse of Drugs Law was changed to pave the way for the use of medical marijuana with a prescription, nothing else was changed in the legislation, despite the popular demand for at least the decriminalisation of the drug. Hemp has been available in Cayman for several years in beauty products and vegan milk, oils and other alternative healthy products. However, the CMO said its use is still illegal because of the local legislation.

Unlike other jurisdictions, there is nothing in the Misuse of Drugs Law that exempts products that contain only small amounts of cannabinoids, so unless a doctor has prescribed soap or milk that contains hemp, possessing and using it could land people in the Drug Court.

Dr Gent and Health Minister Sabrina Turner appeared on Radio Cayman’s talk show, On The Record, on Friday, when the issue was discussed.

The CMO said that retailers of hemp products had asked if they were getting ensnared within the law, and he did not know the answer. But he said products containing cannabinoids do fall under the law. “It is an absolute,” he said, explaining that there is nothing in the law about acceptable levels and retailers need to check with their suppliers about what is in their products.

No cannabinoids can be sold here legally without a prescription until legislators deal with the draconian and dated law.

“I am not in the business of shampoo,” he said, but he was aware that some retailers have stopped selling these products due to concern that they could get caught under the law. He said there is no definition here in Cayman that separates hemp from cannabis, as is the case in Florida, which may be why people think its use here is legal.

Dr Gent said he backed the legislation that provides for the use of cannabis on prescription, which is a “sensible and rational approach”. He said the peer-reviewed evidence for cannabis found that it is effective in a limited number of conditions; it is also good in symptom control and has a role in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and epilepsy in children. However, he noted the need to ensure that it was prescribed properly.

He said he did not want to talk about the use of hemp as that is not his field. Turner said that there needed to be a wider discussion about hemp and cannabinoids to shape a proper legislative framework.

Dr Gent also spoke about the action the PHD had taken regarding the more serious issues relating to the prescription of narcotics. He said rules had been introduced for doctors to only prescribe addictive medicines like opioids on a monthly basis, though he stressed this did not apply to all prescription drugs, just those that pose a risk of addiction.

Public concern has emerged that having to see a doctor in person every month for medications that they are taking regularly is unfair because people cannot afford to visit healthcare professionals that often, especially given the significant limitations on doctor visits in most health insurance plans.

Watch the Radio Cayman OTR show below:


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Category: Health, Medical Health

Comments (82)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Still nothing being said or done to condem the Vaping fad, and Ganja Edibles tho.
    There were kids admitted last week in another incident yet no public reporting or prosecutions.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Morons in charge!! Smoke shops sell hemp blunt wraps everyday!

    • Anonymous says:

      Those are made from hemp fiber, which is not illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

      • Anonymous says:

        @3:01:
        That is not entirely accurate.
        In the USA for example, hemp cultivated for industrial purposes, including the production of hemp fiber, must comply with federal regulations that stipulate a THC limit of 0.3% or lower.

        The legality of industrial hemp varies from country to country and some governments will only allow the agricultural production of this plant with an especially low THC content.

        While the levels are very low, the fibers and fabric will generally still have a detectable level of THC and thus the fiber products will still be illegal in the Cayman Islands, which has a 0.0% legal allowable level.

        • Orrie Merren 🙏🏻🇰🇾 says:

          Pursuant to Part IV of Schedule 1 to the Cayman Islands’ Misuse of Drugs Act (2017 Revision), there are definitions, one of which provides:

          ‘ “cannabis” except for “cannabis resin” means any plant of the genus Cannabis or any part of any plant (by whatever name designated) except that it does not include cannabis resin or any of the following products after separation from the rest of the plant –

          (a) mature stalk of any plant,

          (b) fibre produced from the mature stalk of any plant.’

  3. Anonymous says:

    But I can legally buy hemp blunt wraps at most smoke shops in Cayman??!!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Are poppy seed bagels illegal? they contain far more opioids than hemp does THC.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I wish they could cancel his contract soon he has been a PINTA since he showed up.

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    • Anonymous says:

      He’s saying the law that our MPs haven’t thought to change is still the reason for the problems with hemp products. Please explain why he’s then the problem in relaying these circumstances beyond his authority? Crabs in a barrel.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    What’s up about Hemp clothing and accessories? How do the many visitors wearing or possessing such items not get busted by the sniffing dogs? How do the merchants still have them on their shelves?
    People have been prosecuted for just a bit of ganja residue. Time to arrest those coming in here with hemp hats and bags and shirts. Either enforce the damn law or change it!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    If only una knew which MP’s be blazing regularly..

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  8. Anonymous says:

    So this is why the Dr. Bronners products arent in the stores? I swear this archaic view is so annoying

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  9. fed up says:

    I used work as farmer as I did grow acres of Hemp plant for fibre to make clothes. It is totally different from Ganja plants. CIG are too lazy to get more meetings in House of parliament to speed up with outdated laws.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Get rid of these old ass politicians please.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    i don’t even smoke but i love the way it smells…

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Sorry but I don’t buy this hippy-dippy notion that cannabis is a harmless, gentle drug, ideal for spacing out at the weekend. I hate to sound a different note, but my guess is that the silent majority, including me, want cannabis and all other mind-altering drugs to remain banned unless they’re for verifiable medical use. Just because lots (well, 25 maybe) of people on this forum loudly proclaim otherwise does not mean that government should cave in. Too many crimes, violent crimes too, are caused by drugs, including cannabis.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So you prefer contnued drug crime? Keeping it illegal ensures Caymanians suffer for a victimless crime.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “Too many crimes, violent crimes too, are caused by drugs, including cannabis.”
      Do you advocate expanding a ban to booze as well?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Then do we legalize cocaine, too? Where and when do you draw the line?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Cocaine is highly addictive, its like comparing coffee to Crystal Meth.

          and you insuflate the line, not draw it

          Lets ban caffeine as well as its additive, or Tylenol as it can cause Autism when taken if pregnant.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Too many crimes are committed by those addicted to drugs.

        Legalising doesn’t help. Providing it for free doesn’t help either.

        Actual drug education whether weed or alcohol helps.

        You’re trying to profit off the exportation of addicts. If they can’t afford it now, making it cheaper won’t help.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yet politicians have been getting DUI’s because they are altering their minds.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Or rather NOT getting DUIs – if you are not breathlyzed can’t be charged with aDUI, can you

    • Anonymous says:

      violent crimes is exactly what happens when you create a profitable black market for a product. I’ve never seen or heard of someone smoking some good high grade and going home to beat their wife to a bloody pulp, alcohol on the other hand….

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    • Anonymous says:

      This article is about the CMO pointing to the legislators seated periodically in parliament, that fail to update outdated and/or nonsensical legislation. No shortage of either.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Nonsense like this, further illustrates why Cayman voters are not getting the legislative sensibility we need with current Elections Law restrictions.

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  14. Truth says:

    Third world can only do third world. There is not enough intelligence in all of CIG to the right thing for all our lives. Here it is all about the morons in charge and not about the people. Anyone with a functional brain can see that legalizing pot has worked well for many countries in many different ways and would be very helpful to many of the locals here. The only way things will change here is if it is to the benefit of the honorable for lifers. Like maybe demand a drug test for any in the employment of CIG. Especially the leaders. Watch them run to change the laws then.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The issue is that ganja and hemp, two different crops from same family of plants, are being described interchangeably, as you are also doing. Differentiating to legalize socially benign hemp is the actual issue, not the pursuit of legalizing small personal quantities of recreational cannabis, though that’s not necessarily a bad further ambition. It is separate though. The hemp seeds and oil don’t have any THC content, but the way the law is written, they are treated by some as schedule 1 prohibited narcotics, which is crazy. Fixing this has eluded the legislature mind-trust for generations – the same group who have thought it necessary to insert stamp duty rates for rocket launchers, flame-throwers, and sub-machine guns.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Hemp protein is one of the best proteins you can take. It doesn’t have cannabanoids generally and even if it does it is trace amounts with no side effects. I have been taking it for years – usually bought off supermarket shelves here. I really hope this supposed grey area affects a health product.

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  16. ELVIS says:

    Somebody somewhere needs to get their finger out and pass a clear and simple law regarding these grey areas of law.

    Also the immigration issues with every tom dick and Harriet flying in offering absolutely nothing to Cayman ., Your getting in a mess. a big one.

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  17. Bella says:

    Hemp seeds can be purchased in the supermarket for decades.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Get caught with one in your car and see how efficient the RCIPS are when it comes to miniscule amounts of hemp possession. I guarantee you’d make the news and some egomaniac will pat themselves on the back for taking drugs off the street. While they’re at it, they’ll also issue you a ticket for going 5 mph over the speed limit.

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      • Anonymous says:

        That’s very unlikely. Hemp products are legally retailed by many (sensible) stores in the territory. Any RCIPS or CMO sanctioned “raid” against Customs and Border Control-sanctioned, COLS-itemised, HTC duty coded nutrient/protein supplements, textile fibres/yarn, or benign aromatic essential oil, would be a political disgrace, swiftly career-ending, and likely a global headline for overreach. You can’t be arrested for purchasing something offered legally in a DCI-T&BLed store. Keep your receipt if you’re that paranoid.

        • Anonymous says:

          If the seed id found outside the packaging, how will you prove that’s where it came from? That seed will let them search your home, vehicle, possessions and urine, without a warrant. Good luck!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Pure Madness

  19. Anonymous says:

    So I can’t buy hemp seeds for my porridge?

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  20. Anonymous says:

    I don’t smoke or use, tax and legalize it already.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    We’ve purchased both hemp hearts and oil from shelves of local stores without any worries whatsoever.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    We are living in the Cayman “Dark Ages”.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Gent is an infectious disease expert…he really doesn’t know much more than that.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    as usual cayman can’t go 5 mins with making themselves look like backward, poorly educated morons….

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Legislation is needed to decriminalize personal use by adults on private (including possession, consumption and cultivation on private premises), as well as broadening existing (but very narrow) medical cannabis legislation: the Misuse of Drugs Act (2017 Revision) needs to be amended.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the CMO does not have much to do if he thinks this is worth spending time on.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Embarrassing- Cayman will never be a major player in the luxury tourism market until it is legalized. Many celebrities and high net worth individuals skip us due to not being able to use cannabis. And don’t come with the Bs about decriminalizing it because they will then arrest you for consumption.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s hilarious that you think the high-end celebrities that already come here don’t have immediate access to top shelf hydro from the moment they step off the plane. They just can’t bring their own, that’s all. The fat sacks I’ve seen waiting for them in their vehicles/condos would make you think we are in Cali in the set of a Cypress Hill video.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    dem hypocrites….lol

  29. Anonymous says:

    Amend the law, no one is going to dry out the milk or shampoo to smoke it. Over policing milk and shampoo is really stupid..

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  30. Anonymous says:

    We could pave the roads with gold if we legalized it and sold pre-rolled joints and bags of herb at the cruise ship terminal and airport to arriving visitors.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Is the very image of a ganja leaf on T-shirts, signs in Vape stores, books, fireworks, posters, etc still illegal in Cayman? What about images of the plant in movies in the Cinema? This is low-hanging fruit that our political leaders could rectify very quickly…

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  32. Anonymous says:

    I waiting to see the following job description.

    Worker wanted.
    Customer service, food delivery and basic bookkeeping.
    Weed Smokers? No Problem!

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  33. Anonymous says:

    It is nice to see that someone in government actually believes laws should be followed. That is a condition that I hope is contagious.

    If government does not like the consequence of its laws, it should change them. It should also stop passing laws it is unwilling to enforce, let alone follow.

  34. Bigz Wigz says:

    Here we go again. Officials giving the impression they are doing something to protect us, when in fact they are again doing nothing useful. Change the draconian laws already!

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  35. Anonymous says:

    No Weed, No Wote…

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  36. Anonymous says:

    This is what we concerned about? Can we focus on more important things like all teh shootings? How about banning those bandana things except on job sites?

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    • Anonymous says:

      We were forced to use face covering during COVID. Stupid idea, as the data shows, and now you complain that persons are exercising their right to wear a face coverings and now you want it banned. These are consequences of stupid decisions made by Governments.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Even legal cbd oil and thc from Doctors express sucks. It’s only for people that just want a buzz or anxiety off work. Cost you a thousand dollars a month and it doesn’t work for real medical issues, it’s a garbage low quality product.

    Legalize the import and growing of cannabis so we can get some proper strength medication.

    How do you get a script for something but then can only get there special marketed brand they sell you.

    The entire thing is silly and needs to be regulated like how it’s done in the states and other countries.

    The fact that opiates are almost illegal in cayman and no doctor wants to give them out unless your a terminal patient and your going to die in a few months.

    Fix the broken medical system.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a legalized monopoly at this point – and kept highly illegal for the lucrative black market otherwise – and literally foreplay into recreational sales that would generate massive amounts of revenue.

  38. Anonymous says:

    My God Sabrina no more discussion just amend the law it’s a 5 minute Job literally. Hemp products do not make you high, just carve them out without the public debate and grand standing..not everything you do has to be a grand production!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sabrina, lose the fake tone while you’re at it. You’ll appear and sound more credible. Trust me…

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  39. Mumbichi says:

    Cray Cray Doctor’s Express, the only enlightened health care entity in the Cayman Islands. Have an evaluation. Get the compounds that you need. They are not habit forming. They will make you life better. As we grow older, parts of our bodies hurt. We can go to our conventional health services and get pain pills; that is an avenue of continual pain management throughout the end of your life. OR … you can get compounds that make you better. These compounds have been villified.

    Ganja should be legal. Those that use it won’t do worse. Those that don’t use it won’t take it up. It’s a compound that makes those that use it better. It should be legal.

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  40. Anonymous says:

    I call bullshit.

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  41. Anonymous says:

    This CMO is turning out to be a nightmare. Why should I have to go to get a prescription in writing on paper from my doctor every month?

    As if things were not expensive enough here, now this clown hat thinks this is a good idea?

    Focus on helping people.

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  42. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous law. our government is seriously behind the times and out of touch.

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  43. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Gent is not much better than Dr. Lee was as CMO.

    If Dr. Gent understood the medical industry and needs of patients, he would have never issued the ridiculous rules, pursuant to section 14 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (2017 Revision).

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  44. Anonymous says:

    Legalize it already, too much cop work wasted on a dried plant that can not kill you. Alcohol way worse!

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    • Anonymous says:

      He came in and made it more difficult to get canbabis oil. He is one difficult man and he delights in this

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe not, but vast numbers of violent crimes are driven by cannabis use.

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      • Anonymous says:

        facts please ? not your biased opinion.

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      • Anonymous says:

        [citation needed]

      • Anonymous says:

        With that logic, we can say that the lack of money to pay basic bills and buy food, drive a vast number of violent crimes also. You see where this is going?

      • Anonymous says:

        Is this your baseless asssumption? Or do you have credible evidence and the numbers to back it up in regard to the Cayman Islands?
        Say, in 2022: What is the number for violent crimes here that were “driven by” cannabis use. Just casual association is not a sufficient metric either. You must establish causality.

    • ANON says:

      I second this. Cops use it as a easy hit, and too much money is wasted on prosecuting and incarcerating people that use ganja.

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