EDITORIAL – Cannabis oil – or political snake oil?

Premier Alden McLaughlin (who is an attorney) outlined the case against moving forward with the legalization of medical marijuana in the Cayman Islands. He then endorsed moving forward with the legalization of medical marijuana in the Cayman Islands.

A statement released by the Office of the Premier noted the following:

  1. “Cannabis oil” – a highly concentrated extract of marijuana (aka cannabis or ganja) – is not available legally in many jurisdictions, including Jamaica and in the U.S. under federal law.
  2. There is no consensus among the medical community that cannabis oil contains curative properties for diseases such as cancer. Due to the lack of evidence and testing, there is no agreement on dosage amounts.

In other words, if Cayman were to legalize cannabis oil, it’s unclear from where (or whom) pharmacists would obtain it, how doctors would prescribe it, or what the expected results might be. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of cannabis oil for medical purposes.

And yet, the Progressives government is moving ahead with planned amendments to relevant laws and regulations, perhaps as soon as this fall.

Hold on. While the FDA, like other evidence-driven organizations, can be slow-moving, even maddeningly so, it is still a remarkably credible body. In regard to the approval of substances for medical treatment, the FDA – not Cayman’s Cabinet – should be looked to for guidance. Once the FDA (or an equivalent regulatory agency) green-lights the prescription of cannabis oil (or any substance), then, but only then, should Cabinet race to make it available in our pharmacies.

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What appears to be going on is that handful of influencers in the country, particularly people suffering from cancer (but also activists who want cannabis to be legalized period), have successfully pushed lawmakers into the medical marijuana field.

We have every sympathy for people combatting deadly diseases and feel they should have access to every proven treatment available, and recourse to as many experimental treatments as is feasible. We don’t want to take away people’s hope … but we also don’t desire to give them false hope (which approving the prescribed use of cannabis oil may very well turn out to be).

In this instance, at this point in time, there are far too many unknowns for us to support legalizing cannabis oil in Cayman. Chief among them is the question of whether Cayman providers will be able to import the product successfully from – and this is important – legal sources. (This is an issue that plagues many jurisdictions that have legalized or decriminalized the use of ganja, for medicinal or recreational purposes; namely, it is grown and processed “illegally” and only at a certain point on the distribution chain does it become “legal.”)

We haven’t lost sight of the patients in Cayman who have exhausted all other legal treatment options, and for whom cannabis oil is a last resort. Here’s our proposal: The government can pay to send them to other jurisdictions (California, Colorado, Canada, etc.) where cannabis oil is legal, just as hundreds of local patients already travel overseas for specialty medical care every year.

In the short term, it’s a faster and more elegant solution than attempting to make Cayman a cannabis oil (to use the premier’s word) “pioneer.”

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  1. Marijuana Prohibition Was Racist From The Start. Not Much Has Changed.


    As the nation’s nearly 80-year history of pot prohibition slowly begins to crumble, starting with Colorado’s recent implementation of taxed and legalized recreational marijuana, critics of the increasingly popular policy shift are jumping to denounce the move. A number of white pundits and newspaper columnists have been among the most vocal, claiming that marijuana must remain illegal, despite their own prior use of it, because it supposedly makes people dumber.

    The columns themselves served as the most persuasive evidence of that point. And while such a correlation between pot use and intelligence has yet to be proven, one must be willing to ignore the racist roots of marijuana prohibition and the manner in which this unjust system of anti-drug enforcement still plays out today to make such a shallow argument in the first place.

    In a column for The Fix, Maia Szalavitz reminds us that Harry Anslinger, the father of the war on weed, fully embraced racism as a tool to demonize marijuana. As the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a predecessor to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Anslinger institutionalized his belief that pot’s “effect on the degenerate races” made its prohibition a top priority. Here are just a few of his most famous (and most racist) quotes:

    There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
    “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

  2. After reading this report “Cannabis oil or – Snake oil” Interestingly , I must comment on paragraph from last which begins. ” We haven’t lost sight of the patients in Cayman………
    “Your proposal” Interesting, but do you really think the government will consider that? Not unless it is for a family member or a political friend. If you do not have million dollar private insurance in Cayman, its highly unlikely you will be going anywhere . Cinico, is “Poor man Insurance”, and although a person may have it, Its like having to beg to get good treatment outside the walls of the HSA.

  3. Cayman Compass ,
    On the subject article , Heroes Day to honor tourism sector . I posted a comment thanking Twyla for recognizing me . It was not put in the recent comments section , but put directly to the article without any one getting a chance to read it , WHY ? I have to agree with what Twyla said in her comment that Caymanians are not being recognized.

  4. I take issue with several of your statements:

    QUOTE: “While the FDA, like other evidence-driven organizations, can be slow-moving, even maddeningly so, it is still a remarkably credible body…”

    The FDA is one of the most corrupt organizations in the US, to wit:

    In 1985 Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame’s clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it “might induce brain tumors.”

    The FDA had actually banned aspartame based on this finding, only to have Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (currently the Secretary of Defense) vow to “call in his markers,” to get it approved.

    On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, Searle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in food sweetener, and Reagan’s new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry’s decision.

    It soon became clear that the panel would uphold the ban by a 3-2 decision, but Hull then installed a sixth member on the commission, and the vote became deadlocked. He then personally broke the tie in aspartame’s favor. Hull later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position with Burston-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle. Since that time he has never spoken publicly about aspartame.


    15 Disturbing Facts About the FDA


    There is a large body of evidence that shows the efficacy of Cannabis Oil to treat and often cure a variety of ailments, from Alzheimer to Diabetes and cancer…


    And, yes, if you know where to look, Cannabis Oil can be legally acquired from reputable labs that will even tailor the THC/CBD ratio to suit the patient’s condition and provide 3rd party analysis of the components…