The National Drug Council will not present a statement on the legalization of marijuana in the Cayman Islands, despite earlier consideration of the issue.
The item “Legalization of Marijuana (statement from NDC)” was listed for discussion on the agenda of the organization’s Feb. 20 meeting. However, the council’s executive director, Joan West-Dacres, said marijuana remains an illegal substance in the Cayman Islands and legalization is not currently an area of policy or legislation under review.
“For clarity, it is worth noting that the agenda item was to consider whether a statement should be prepared,” Ms. West-Dacres said. “I can confirm that no statement was approved by the board at the meeting.”
Health Minister Osbourne Bodden said the “marijuana issue has not been discussed.” He said he was reluctant at this stage to say much more than that the merits and cons would be looked at as the area develops.
He said the government would then “act accordingly.”
“If it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that there are medical benefits, then that discussion can be held and government would then decide what course it takes,” Mr. Osbourne said.
Jamaica’s National Council on Drug Abuse recently announced its support for plans to decriminalize ganja by the end of this year. In Bermuda the issue of relaxing ganja laws has also been discussed, with the possibly of allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
In the United States, 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing some degree of medical use of marijuana, while 16 states have decriminalized it, with laws in a 17th state set to go into effect in October.
Delroy Jefferson, medical director of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, said a number of clinical conditions had been treated with cannabis with varying degrees of success.
Dr. Jefferson those that had been treated with cannabis included HIV/AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression and mood disorder, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, post traumatic stress disorder, seizures, Tourette’s syndrome and bronchial asthma.