The Customs Department seized a number of shipments of Hempz, which is a brand of moisturizers, shampoo and other toiletries made with natural hemp seed oil.
The products are banned from the territory not because they are made with hemp – the fiber of the cannabis plant – but because the Hempz logo is an image of a marijuana leaf, violating legislation that prohibits the importation of goods depicting the ganja plant.
“The import of all goods depicting or bearing, whether expressly or by implication, any reference to ganja or the ganja plant is prohibited, except where the goods depict or bear reference to any cannabis extract or tincture of cannabis,” states the Customs Law.
Kirk Market Managing Director Thom Guyton confirmed that a shipment of Hempz was seized by Customs last week.
“It was our mistake. It was clear in the law,” said Mr. Guyton, who said he knew neither about the law nor that the Hempz products bore the ganja image. “It wasn’t a lot of product.”
Mr. Guyton stressed that there aren’t any illegal ingredients in Hempz and that it is banned from Cayman strictly because of its marketing.
Another store owner who requested not to be identified said Customs has circulated a warning against importing any more Hempz products with the ganja logo. That person’s store is still selling Hempz, but has placed a sticker over the ganja image.
The owner said that the business was sent the Hempz products by a supplier to test on his market. He said he was not planning on ordering any more because it is not selling well.
The Customs Department did not respond to requests for comment before this issue’s press deadline, but has reportedly seized hundreds of ganja-depicting goods in the past.
A July 21, 2017 article in the now-defunct Cayman Reporter states that the newspaper made a freedom of information request to Customs, and found that the department seized hundreds of items depicting a cannabis leaf since 2015.
“Hats, T-shirts, shorts, socks, and pants were all destroyed for containing an image of a cannabis leaf – and it wasn’t just clothing either,” the article states. “Customs also confiscated ornaments, vases, ashtrays, bags, bandanas, earrings, pendants, and even a skateboard, all because each one contained an image of ganja.”
Customs reportedly destroys the items it seizes.