Premier: Gov’t supports medical uses for cannabis oil

Premier Alden McLaughlin has instructed government lawyers to draft legislation allowing local doctors to prescribe cannabis oil, which is derived from the marijuana plant, for medical purposes.

Mr. McLaughlin said Monday during his speech to the Legislative Assembly on the government’s policy initiatives over the next year in office, that the administration had “carefully considered” the merits and drawbacks of using the cannabis derivative.

“Government is persuaded that it is better to favor hope and compassion over fear,” he said.

The premier cautioned that his proposal did not amount to acceptance or legalization of cannabis use for recreational purposes. He said the oils that can be gleaned from the cannabis plant have been used in medical trials to treat cancer patients.

He said he did not support the use of the cannabis plant itself for medical or other uses.

However, the premier said, “time was of the essence” in some cases now affecting Caymanian families on the islands.

“I wish [those who oppose the use of cannabis oil] could have been present when a young Caymanian … said that his wife’s choice currently is between death and death,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “That is their reality. There is no standard [cancer] treatment currently that gives them any hope.”

Cancer survivor and former West Bay MLA Cline Glidden has been involved in advocating the medical use of cannabis oils since his own cancer diagnosis in 2014. Mr. Glidden said, up to this point, his cancer has been in remission thanks to more traditional methods of treatment.

However, he said he is aware of at least two other Caymanians who’ve been told that traditional cancer treatments will not be effective in their respective cases.

“I do know what it’s like to be told you have cancer and that you have a six percent chance of survival,” Mr. Glidden said. “I can only imagine the point of saying [to someone], the traditional methods aren’t working.

“I commend the government for acknowledging [the need] and working against the norm. I haven’t found anyone who can fault that.”

Medical marijuana has been discussed by Legislative Assembly members – most notably by Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo – in recent years, though a formal motion on the subject has never been brought to parliament.

In 2014, then-Health Minister Osbourne Bodden said he wanted to see “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” that medical benefits could ensue from marijuana use.

More than a dozen U.S. states have passed laws allowing some degree of medical use of marijuana, and 17 states have decriminalized it.

A number of clinical conditions had been treated with cannabis with varying degrees of success.

This story has been corrected from the original.

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  1. Might this proposed new legislation not have something to do with the establishment of a completely legal medical marijuana industry being established in next door, Jamaica ?
    Usually, no such laws are even contemplated without someone’s profits and bank accounts being the recipient of a huge windfall of cash; no one is really fooled by the supposed reason of caring for cancer patients or their condition.
    If that was the case, this proposal could have been considered years ago, as it is well known facts, in Jamaica … and now in many other countries, that cannabis is a proven treatment for many ailments and that cannabis oil has been used for years in the treatment of AIDS and cancer patients, both to ease their pain and to increase appetite, so they can live longer and endure more traditional and very unpleasant methods of treatment.
    How will such a proposal be implemented in Cayman without addressing the draconian laws of ‘consumption of a controlled substance’, which are in place that makes even the consumption of cannabis, found in one’s system upon testing, to be a criminal offense and the employment drug testing procedures that breaks one’s employment contract and leaves one open for dismissal, should THC, the chemical in marijuana, be found in one’s system upon drug screening?
    The hypocrisy and ignorance surrounding cannabis makes it very hard for open and objective debate on the subject of its medical benefits … and other uses …. and drawbacks, when the substance has been so demonized within the country’s population.
    Just that demonization and enforced mentality associated with the use of marijuana and criminality will make this a very difficult proposal to find acceptance amongst Cayman’s older population.
    As well as not addressing the already widespread recreational use of marijuana by the same population, of non-traditional lifestyles and younger ages.
    Does this Government proposal include a campaign of education that should accompany any change in the laws regarding marijuana, in Cayman?

  2. Minister Bodden, if you are looking for research you should check out what Israel has been doing for the last 20+ years. They are the world leader on Cannabis research you might be surprised what you find. Here’s a
    The human body was born with canabinoid receptors ready to receive CBD which for those who have been paying attention has a high affinity for cancer cells in the body. They block the active sites so the cancer cell can’t feed hence bringing about cell death “Necrosis”. This helps control the growth of cancer cells in the body. Oh and it boosts your immune system. Last time I checked chemo wipes out your white blood cells so the body is left vulnerable. Final point – Do you know where the Chemotherapy was derived from… takers…..Mustard Gas a banned nerve agent that they used in World War One that dissolved the soft tissues.

    In a nut shell the answers are out there, but are you ready for them?