Cayman Islands’ Progress On Medicinal Marijuana Slows

Medicinal marijuana - Cayman Islands

In June, we wrote that Cayman Islands Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin gave a big green light to medical cannabis and that the issue was being pursued with a sense of urgency.

The Cayman News Service reports progress has been delayed, with patients waiting more than nine months for the promised legislation.

According to the Premier, there hasn’t been strong support for medical cannabis among the Caymans’ medical community.

“.. but we pressed on and, as I said in May,¬†took the policy decision to allow the use of the oil. But we still required the amendments to the law to be drafted,” he said. “That takes time. I hope to have them for¬†Cabinet consideration next week.”

Patients are growing frustrated. Apparently, only a small alteration is required to existing legislation in order for cannabis medicines to be made legal.

According to an article published on the Cayman Reporter, Section 3 of the Cayman Islands’ Misuse of Drugs Law makes it an offence to possess controlled drugs unless authorised to do so;. However, these drugs can be prescribed by a medical doctor and consequently authorises patients to possess them. Cannabis is among those listed as a “controlled drug”.

It seems pretty straightforward, but the complication is Pharmacy Regulations don’t permit the dispensing of it.

Also reported by the Cayman News Service, it appears the slowdown in making the necessary changes isn’t due to any member or members of the Legislative Assembly; as they all support it. The bottleneck may be with the Health Ministry; in particular the chief officer, Jennifer Ahearn.

Dennie Warren Jr., who first floated the idea of permitting cannabis oil for the treatment of cancer in the Cayman Islands, also agrees the legal process is simple and his original proposal could be immediately approved by the Governor-in Cabinet.

Medical cannabis won’t be a huge money spinner for the Caymans as it doesn’t have the space required for cultivation, but it could provide a great deal of relief to those suffering who cannot afford other medications; or for who other medicines have failed.

The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The 264-square-kilometre territory is comprised of three islands and has a population of around 60,000. While a small nation, it does have a strong focus on health. In 2003, it became the first country in the world to mandate health insurance for all of its citizens.