Cayman Islands Government Unanimously Votes Yes For Cannabis Oil

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The second reading of a historical bill that allows for cannabis oil to be prescribed in the Cayman Islands has made its way through the Legislative Assembly with a unanimous vote from all members of Parliament.

Last year, a resident of the Caribbean nation named Dennie Warren Jr., pleaded with the Cayman government to amend the country’s Misuse of Drugs Bill. Warren was desperate to import cannabis oil to treat his wife’s Stage 4 lung cancer.  The couple had exhausted all conventional medical solutions before becoming aware of cannabis oil and its reported success in treating cancer.

In what seemed like a race against the clock to save his spouse’s life, Warren pressed the issue by commenting in the media and talking with every government official possible. He adamantly touted to all who would listen that cannabis can be used to treat his loved ones, and other Cayman citizens suffering from similar life-threatening diseases.

This past May, Premier Alden McLaughlin called the amendment to the bill “a matter of urgency” during his budget address. At the same time, Warren outlined his wife’s bleak chances without cannabis in a powerful statement to the media stating that her “choice right now is between death and death.”

After much persistence, the bill went forward on Monday in its second reading, and the Premier has said the third and final reading would take place in a few days’ time. In the Cayman Islands, proposed laws must follow procedural stages:

  • First Reading
  • Second Reading
  • Committee Stage
  • Report on Bill
  • Third Reading

Although everyone in the Cayman government is seemingly on board with this initiative, some have questioned the logistics of sourcing the medicine.

Legislative Assembly Member for the North Side, Ezzard Miller, as well as the Premier, brought up an important point that there are no facilities in the Cayman Islands that make the oil; federal prohibitions in the U.S. and abroad make it a legislative minefield to import cannabis to the island nation. “I support what the government is endeavoring to do, I’m just not sure it is going to be possible,” Mr. Miller said during the debate. Miller was a Pharmacist at the Cayman Islands Hospital before serving as the Minister of Health and Social Services from 1984 – 1992.

In response to the lack of access, Warren has said the most logical place for the medicine to come from is Canada. He’s speaking with a lawyer to help facilitate the quickest possible way to acquire cannabis.

Regardless of the legislative waiting game and logistical challenges, last Monday’s vote is progress. The Cayman Parliament has opened the door to medicine that is proving to be an effective solution for millions of individuals who may otherwise suffer needlessly.

About Author

Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.

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