The launch of a locally owned cannabis oil line has brought the Cayman Islands one step closer to having a medicinal marijuana sector. The prohibition against local cannabis production, however, means the producers must straddle borders to operate legally.

The Lion’s Garden, founded by Caymanians Prentice Panton and Christopher Nixon, began offering prescription cannabis oils and pastes through Grand Cayman’s Health Care Pharmacy in June.

The coconut oil-based line purports to offer stronger THC and other cannabinoid concentrations than alternative products available in the Cayman Islands. Mr. Panton said the brand’s strongest product nears 39 percent cannabinoid concentration.

While the men have developed the brand with the Cayman Islands in mind, they are not permitted to grow marijuana locally. Government legalized medicinal cannabis oils in October 2016 but the product must be imported from suppliers like Canada and Jamaica. As a result, the company has set up shop in Lewis Town, Jamaica, where it has been able to develop and test the product with researchers from the University of the West Indies.

Low labor costs and land prices in Jamaica keep production costs low, but Mr. Panton said he is ready to operate out of Cayman.

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“There are so many things people can get into as far as employment. They can get into building the facility in the first place, farming, manufacturing the medicine on island, and the legal side of it. There are a lot of different areas.

“Our ultimate goal is to build our own clinic, but the current focus is on manufacturing and growing,” he said.

If local production were approved, Mr. Panton said, he has 42 acres of land and a water source already available for growing the product in Frank Sound.

He encouraged government to legalize dry marijuana buds in an effort to get ahead on crime control.

“It’s already here. The government gets no revenue from it and there is the crime element,” Mr. Panton said.

The company has also donated a gallon of its oils to Jamaican cancer facility Hope Institute to support research and development. Mr. Nixon said the donation reflects the company’s mission to improve patient care.

“I’m actually doing this to help people more than anything else. I’m not really doing it to make money,” Mr. Nixon said.

The company is in talks to begin exporting the line to the Czech Republic. Other products in development include suppositories for menstrual cramps, cannabis butter and eye drops. Saskatchewan-based CanniMed Therapeutics began exporting oils to the Cayman Islands in May through Professional Pharmacy Services, located in CTMH Doctors Hospital pharmacy. Pharmacies in Foster’s Food Fair-IGA and Kirk Market have also begun importing cannabis-based products.

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  1. And all of this after the U.S. Federal Government outlawed the use of hemp (cannabis, marijuana, ganja….whatever name you wish to call it by) in the 1920s so that the pharmaceutical drug companies could monopolise the medicinal drug industry…and enforced a world-wide ban on the growth and use of hemp for medicinal and other purposes.

    Hemp (cannabis) has been used for thousands of years by many nations and cultures but mainly originating in India and Africa for the treatment of many illnesses long before modern science has come to claim ‘recent medical research’ shows its benefits and has influenced a change in current laws to allow the use of ‘medical marijuana’.

    And people are still being locked up and dragged into court in both Jamaica and Cayman for smoking a ‘spliff’ !

    Talk about gross hypocrisy.

    SMH !

  2. Looking back at about fifty years ago Marijuana was used frequently by the Elite Caymanians, especially those in top government positions and including some boat captains.. I was a teen ager then and used to watch these people come to a neighbor home every Sunday morning, about five of them. They sat in a circle under a big tree while the owner of the premises would bring out this aluminum pudding pan with fresh marihuana and sheets of brown paper bags. They would roll and smoke cigarettes big as tobacco. As young children we used to peep over the fence at them and wonder what they were doing. We could not be seen because our parents would punish us. It was not until many years after, that we realized what they were smoking. The man used to hang the bunches of ganja buds on the side of his kitchen and those buds were at least a foot or more long.
    I accept the weed as one of the plants God put on the earth for medicinal purposes, and amazingly we are now seeing that fulfilled as a treatment for cancer, pain and many other ailments.
    I support having the Marijuana for medical reasons for Caymanians to be grown in Cayman, and a professional lab set up to handle this. Bearing in mind that the weed prefers cool/hot climate conditions. We would have to select where in Cayman this climatic condition could be located. Maybe the Bluff on Cayman Brac. That would be my suggestion.

    • I thank you for this comment. The hypocrisy around Cannabis on this island is palpable, the same Elitists who were shouting down cannabis from the roof tops are the same ones trying to corner the Market using political favor. Vote for me they said, Cannabis isn’t not christian like they say. This is going to be interesting.

  3. The powers that be don’t support equal opportunity this article is proof that if have the money in Cayman you make the rules. So sad the opportunities that young Caymanians could have in this industry are endless. I hope government sees, I have been holding off plans for purity a testing lab.