Local campaign launched to legalize medicinal ganja

| 13/11/2013

(CNS): Although the use of ganja as a medicine and in some cases personal use is being sanctioned in an increasing number of states across the US, here in Cayman the mere consumption of the plant is illegal and can land a person in jail even if it is being used to manage a serious medical condition. However, one very law abiding citizen, who said he has never smoked or even touched cannabis, has begun a campaign to promote the idea of legalizing its use here for medical purposes. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests ganja is not only helpful in managing a number of debilitating medical conditions but that it may actually cure a variety of serious health problems, including cancer.

Prominent local architect Burns Conolly has launched a new Facebook page called Cannabis Cayman that is aimed at raising awareness about the evidence that shows cannabis has incredible medicinal properties and to begin the debate here about legalizing its use for medical purposes. Conolly told CNS that he is not promoting the recreational use of the drug but said that the near miracle results in some cases makes it obvious that the health community can no longer ignore this plant.

“I became aware of the true potential of cannabis as a medicine after watching Dr. Gupta’s documentary on CNN entitled WEED,” he said, adding that it drove him on to do his own research.

The documentary is an eye opener for anyone who doubts the power of this plant and Conolly urges everyone to watch it.

“I was surprised not only by the anecdotal stories of miracles occurring but the actual amount of real scientific research that had been carried out on this plant. Over 28 states in America now have some form of legality on the plant, including Colorado and Washington states, where it is completely legal. Countries such as Israel have been doing research for over 40 years and now dispense it in their hospitals and homes for the elderly.”

Conolly has discovered something that many people have been saying for years: that there are almost unlimited benefits to this natural growing plant. It is much less harmful that the chemical compounds fed to many by pharmaceutical companies that can have terrible side-affects and limited efficacy in serious health conditions such as cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

“The more I looked the more I was convinced of its potential in curing or mitigating diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epileptic seizures, chronic pain, glaucoma and, of course, cancer,” Connolly told CNS. “I really believe the time has come for a serious look at the medicinal powers of cannabis and to save many of our folks who are being lost to these diseases.”

More than ten years ago the United States government took out a patent on the cannabinoids found in the plant, knowing full well that its day would come again. The plant has a long history of medicinal use. It was not until the politicization of its use in the early part of the 20th century and ultimately its classification as a schedule 1 drug, which in law means that it has no benefits at all, that it became public enemy number one in the US, which then influenced its use and categorization worldwide.

There is now hope, however, that as the US begins to accept the medical benefits the rest of the world will be influenced again by what that government does. If the Federal government moves on the re-classification of medical marijuana, the barriers for other countries to do more research and re-address its use will come down.

Conolly said the trend is moving in a positive direction for the plant and even here in our region the Prime Minister St. Vincent Dr Ralph Gonsalves has asked CARICOM to begin debating its medicinal use.

“The world is now seeing the benefits of this important plant and clearly there is a rising tide that will see its use normalized within a few years,” he said. “Given that every 19 minutes in the USA someone dies from a prescription drug overdose, over 25,000 per year from alcohol, over 400,000 per year from tobacco and zero from cannabis, clearly something is wrong to have this plant and its medicinal properties illegal.”

Conolly said he was not suggesting that ganja should be legalized for recreational use or “for folks simply to get ‘high’ on it”, and noted that there were some concerns about the possible impact on younger people smoking cannabis because of the THC, which causes the high. However, Conolly pointed out that cannabis contains two main ingredients and CDB is equally important and both elements work miracles against a host of diseases by interacting with our body’s endocannabinoid system.

“I started the Facebook page 'Cannabis Cayman' to begin the local discussion on legalizing the medicinal use of this plant. For the record I have never smoked or even touched cannabis and do not plan to unless I come down with cancer,” he said. “Then I think its oil extract will do a lot more for me than destroying my body with chemo and radiation.”

The Facebook page has attracted over 100 likes and is packed full of links and information about incredible stories relating to the plant and its growing proven, benefits. 

The move to get ganja re-categorized in Cayman will required political support, however, and so far the only former or would-be politician brave enough to suggest its decriminalization is Dr Frank McField, and even he was reluctant to promote his position during the recent election campaign.

Vote in CNS Poll: Should-ganja-be-legalized-medical-purposes ?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    you can tell the stubburn old caymanians on this….
    fact is theres no goin back to how cayman used to be, the past is the past!!!
    the world around us is vastly moving forward to the future.. think its about time we got on that train!
    ive smoked pot from the age of 16 im now 26 with my bachelors in business admin. 
    marijuana was the key to my success, the ultimate stress relief when academic pressure seemed too much!!!
    ambition and motivation is all on the user but truly if your feeling like your on cloud nine would you wanna move to do anything 😉 
    100% legalize 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fine lets say it won't kill you because Thera no health detriments and it provides lots of medicinal  value. What about the current drug users. They aren't physically sick but they do have mental issues. Loss if ambition. Ambivalence in life. Nonchalance to anything frankly. Allowing increased prevalence will rapidly deteriorate the Cayman society. Isn't there something more productive that should be looked at rather than legalizing a drug that is a depressant? How about educational reform or other ways to improve society? This seems to be a terrible option to even waste time and energy.

    • Anonymous says:

      You did understand that the proposal is legalisation for medicinal purposes, right? It would be subject to prescription same as any other controlled drug.

  3. Lawson Fown says:

    "Conolly told CNS that he is not promoting the recreational use of the drug".

    It appears that a lot of potheads didn't read the article very carefully.  Sorry, fellows….. The proposition is for legalising ganja for medicinal use only!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The only reason I would be against this is because it will make people with "chronic" headaches like me smell that dump from everywhere I puff.  No way! I'd rather take some good ol pain killers  instead.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    And now for some statistics for those who are skeptical

    In 2010 in the USA they recorded the following statistic of deaths:

    40,000 by Automobile crashes
    32,000 by Firearm injuries
    25,000 by alcohol
    780,000 by heart diseases
    69,000 by diabetes
    50,000 by pneumonia
    40,000 by drug induced deaths (legal & illegal)
    38,000 by suicide
    22,000 by PHARMACEUTICAL drugs( yes, LEGAL drugs)
    16,000 by pharmaceutical Opioid Analgesics ( yes, legal drugs)
    574,000 by CANCER


    0 by Cannabis!!!!!…yes that is correct ZERO by Cannabis! In the entire USA with 320,000,000 people.

    You have been misled all these years but the facts are finally coming out. Do some research. Even the USA goverment in 2003 took out a patent on the cannaboids in cannabis…yep, thats what I said…the USA gvoernment took out a medicinal patent on their own 'schedule 1' drug….hmmmm.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ok so did a little more research (got my eye back on the ball) since the last time I heard about it's affects.  Does not diminish brain cells good, but still can cause temporary loss of rational reasoning and delusional behaviour bad.  Just enough time to get yourself into trouble or killed.  I know someone who went abroad- smoked some strong stuff then ended up in a psych hospital for a few days because he was found mindlessly wandering on busy train tracks. 

    • SSM345 says:

      That wasn't ganja he smoked that made him that way, something else did  such as a laced spliff perhaps? Smoking ganja gives you no ambition to do anything other than to get off the couch and go to the fridge to build a sandwich that would put Subway or Quizno's out of business. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Maybe I am the only one against this proposal.  But realistically speaking, Cayman does NOT need this legalised.  It has been scientifically proven to basically diminish (kill) brain cells which cannot be regrown.  Yes every medicine or drug has it's benefits and risks but we definately do NOT need a charged up community of folks who cannot keep their jobs because they got to go smoke a spliff every hour.  I personally know someone who had this problem with their workers.  They would rather sit in the bush all day puffing than getting the job done. 

    I certatinly do not want, my teller at the bank, store clerk, electrician, nurse or whatever serving me smelling of ganja and handling my property.  It's addictive and that's just what will happen to all who use.  Know anyone who smokes a spliff only on Christmas or their Birthday?  Don't think so!

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually it's scientifically proven to rejuvenate brain cells ..You have to keep your eye on the ball.. Or you will lose it… The truth is being unfolded 

      • Goober says:

        I been smoking ganja for along tine.  It is good for relaxing your brain.  What does rejuvenate mean?  And are there really cells in a brain?  I don't thimk so.

    • Anonymous says:

      So ignorant. It revitialises the body and does not kill brain cells. How much research have you actually conducted independently ? Weed does not make you lazy either; it's your work ethic and attitude that affect your productivity. I smoke on the daily and I received all A's on my external exams in high school. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    A regulated cannabis market in Cayman would conservatively net the CIG between $50 and $100 million a year in taxes alone.

    It would benefit a lot of small businesses and would reduce the cost of policing and reduce the load on the judicial system.

    It would create much needed employment for Caymanians.

    It would create spin off industries such as clothing, paper, cosmetics, healthfood, biotech.

    It would take away profits from and weaken gangs which would reduce exposure to minors and the vulnerable in society.

    Could be the answer to govt's financial problems.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Do not legalize it! It is the gateway drug to serious drug addiction.

    • SSM345 says:

      BS, a person's mind, judgement and actions are the only way to hard drugs.

      Ganja? What the F are you smoking!

      Ever heard of alcohol or cigarettes? They are the worst drugs on the planet and they are legal, there is another gateway you spaz.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Look up the history of who and why cannabis was criminalised …. Time to open your eyes…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Herb is 100 times better for society than alcohol! 

    No violence. No drunk driving. Lots of cuddling. Munchies good. Cirrocis bad.

    Free the Herbs!

  12. Anonymous says:

    If the stories I heard about the old days are a way for us to make a decision. I would say the old people got it right. Decriminalize it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Burns should get signatures to trigger a referendum to decrimilize small quantities…it would easily pass…the government would get some revenue and we can stop wasting money locking up people for a spliff

    • Herbibore says:

      Dream on. Our policies in this regard are firmly wedded to the US war on drugs. Most of the people in Northward are habitual petty drug users. Total failure but no Government EVER changes course once a policy is in place.

      As to a referendum succeeding, the tallies of the last one show that the majority of voters are simply not interested in decisions on policy and can't bebothered even to turn up.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Legalize it if you want, but not under the guise of " medical marujuana",  there is no such thing.  We have the same nonsense going on here in the US. When it is factory produced under quality controls ,proven effective in clinical trials and approved by the FDA for specific ailments,  only then can it truly be considered " medicinal "

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so naive. Try reading the research before commenting. Cannabis was placed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act for ulterior reasons in the first instance. Many FDA approved drugs, particularly chemotherapy drugs are far less effective and more dangerous to the human body. Cannabis has been approved for medicinal use by other authorities in various parts of the world. The FDA is not the be all and end all.


  15. Anonymous says:

    Richard Beasley, M.B.Ch.B. of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand Researchers determined in a sizeable 2008 study that smoking a single marijuana joint may be as carcinogentic to the lungs as 20 filtered tobacco cigarettes.  That's a whole pack kids.  The study determined that those who smoked the equivalent of one joint a day for 10 years had 570% higher lung cancer risk than nonsmokers even after adjusting for tobacco use.  Additionally, smoke from cannabis contains up to twice as many carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons and tend to be smoked unfiltered while inhaling more deeply, leading to higher concentrations of smoke inhaled.  The study was published in European Respiratory Journal Fed 1 2008.  Christian Brambilla MD and Marc Colonna PhD of the Institut Albert Bonniot in Grenoble France contributed peer review along with Norman H Edelman MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association.  The prudence principle should be sufficient to convince educated people that smoking cannibis, like any other inhalation of any kind of smoke, is not going to be a cure-all or improve human pulmonary function or overall health.  You'd have to pour yourself a mighty tall glass of stupid for breakfast to believe that.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you really have to exaggerate? This report says 5 cigarettes. 


      Anyway that is not what this story is about. 

      • Anonymous says:

        And another thing, the article reported no findings concerning the carcinogenic properties of marijuana: "But whether marijuana causes emphysema or lung cancer isn't clear, the researchers said".

        Why lie by making up statistics and findings about something as important as this?

    • Anonymous says:

      and what about the use of alternative delivery systems, like say, a vaporizer? Then what? Tell you what, you legalize it, and i'll spring for the vaporizers. ; )

    • Anonymous says:

      Do further research.  The use of this herb for medicinal purposes is rarely prescribed via inhalation.  Dating back centuries herbalists have made tea from the plant to obtain the desired properties and results that are quite effective.  As recent as one or two generations ago mothers here in Cayman were brewing such a tea and giving small doses to children with asthma with a very successful rate.  Truth be told they probably still do.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly Burns is not talking about simply letting everyone simply smoke cannabis. He is talking about medicinal use….that is where the active cannabiods are extracted in liquid form and used to treat a host of ailments including cancer.

      The evidence is now overwhelming that cannabinol is more effective than many of the chemicals that the pharmaceutical industry pump into us each day.  Simply go online and look for medical studies done in Spain and Israel. There are also quite a few done in the USA. The problem however is that being listed as a schedule 1 drug in the USA by the federal government it is almost impossible to get full clinical trials done there. Anyhow Burns was not talking about smoking it so your comment, even if correct, is irrelevant. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Ever heard of the oil? From what I’ve read, usually it’s the oil that provides the healing benefits. Not every application has the same benefits/disadvantages.

    • Anonymous says:

      Any combustible substance inhaled by the lungs is bad news, you don't need a doctor to figure that one out. There are many ways to ingest marijuana; vaporizers, edibles, oil etc which have no effect on the pulmonary health.





  16. Anonymous says:

    Everyone with even a  little brain knows the real story behing marihuana prohibition. It should have never been illegal in the first place.

  17. anonymous says:

    This is one conversation we need in Cayman. From its medicinal benefits saving lives  to cutting the cost of Northward where we have so many for just lighting up one small joint…crazy.

    Come on Cayman…lets support this conversation and save lives!

  18. Miley Ebanks. says:

    Free de weed!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Reading this brings on my chronic back pain.

    • Anonymous says:

      You would not have any chronic back pain if it was legal!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't think this poster realises that it would have to be prescribed in the same way as any other controlled drug.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It should be treated just like Liquor and Cigarettes, both of which are more dangerous to your health. Not to mention is would put an end are at least greatly diminish illegal drug trafficking. Who would buy or sell it illegally if you could got to a store and get it like a pack of cigarettes.

  21. Foreign Devil says:

    Legalize it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Legalize it
      Don't criticize it
      Legalize it, yeah, yeah
      And I will advertise it

      Some call it tamjee
      Some call it the weed
      Some call it Marijuana
      Some of them call it Ganja

      Never mind, got to legalize it
      Don't criticize it
      Legalize it, yeah, yeah
      And I will advertise it

      Singers smoke it
      And players of instrument, too
      Legalize it, yeah, yeah
      That's the best thing you can do

      Doctors smoke it
      Nurses smoke it
      Judges smoke it
      Even the lawyers too

      So you've got to legalize it
      Don't criticize it
      Legalize it, yeah, yeah
      And I will advertise it

      It's good for the flu
      It's good for asthma
      Good for tuberculosis
      Even numara thrombosis

      Got to legalize it
      Don't criticize it
      Legalize it, yeah, yeah
      And I will advertise it

      Birds eat it
      Ants love it
      Fowls eat it
      Cooks love to bake with it

      So you've got to legalize it
      Don't criticize it
      Legalize it, yeah, yeah
      And I will advertise it

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is one time I agree with Burns Connolly. 

    The scientific and anecdotal evidence is all there. And there is no sensible reason that marijuana should not be available for medicinal purposes.

  23. Peter Tosh says:

    Legalize It

  24. Anonymous says:

    if they legalize weed in the cayman islands the crime rate would drop big time trust me

  25. Otherview says:

    Coming soon The Seven Mile Beach Cannabis Clinic……the next incarnation

    of "Medical Tourism"………. A beach chair and a blunt……the cruise shippers will love it.


  26. Anonymous says:

    I have no problem with doctor prescribed medicinal use of extracted hemp oil in clinical therapy, but legalizing the smoking of it, even in a clinical setting, is not an intelligent health message.  We know that inhaling smoke of any kind leads to the atrophy of cilia, alveoli, brochial infections, and mouth, throat and lung cancers and cardiovascular disease.  Legalizing the smoking of ganga as a healthy medicinal cure-all would not be a productive step forward for the overall health and welfare of our population.    

    • Anonymous says:

      Response at 9:27….I'm sorry, but i think you are mis informed….  YEs smoke inhalation of any form is not good for you. But should we be locking people up, spending government money on incarceration, when the only person it truly could be harming is the user? 

       Countries such as Portugal has legalized ALL drugs (not saying to go that far) and have seen a decrease in user going down across the board.  Not to mention all of the freed up jail cells, policmen, and paper work for such a mild drug, which will give the cops more time to focus on violent, and serious crimes that DO effect more than one person.

      Dont know of ANYONE OR heard of ANYONE  OR GOOGLED ANYONE that has EVER died from a ganja overdose!!! and dont know of ANYONE that gets all angro on weed.  But know of MANY people dying of alcohol poison, and get REALLY aggressive on alcohol..  SO why is alcohol legal and weed not??? does not make sense at all.

      Please dont just say stuff against it, when you dont know the facts… Give us a GOOD reason why it should not be legal, and lets have a depate on that.

      Fast food is not good for you, but there is PLENTY of that on island…. Should we make that illegal too??  and while this is NOT FACT!!! i would love to argue that obesity is WAY more of s concern for these islands than weed.

      SOON COME Cayman…. might not be as soon as wel like, but the WHOLE western world is shifting, and Cayman will aventually jump on the band wagon.

      • Anonymous says:

        Perhaps we should consult an expert like Bob Marley about the cancer curing tonic of ganja…oh wait, he famously died of lung cancer. Surely the pot heads would recall that historic premature departure?!?  The reason there are no reliable cannabis lung cancer death stats are that chronic users tend not to honestly confide their illegal habit with their physician.  Those many preventable deaths are thus lumped into the general cigarette mortality statistics. There is an avalanche of scientific data to support the fact that smoking cannabis is unhealthy. There is no filter and far more carcinogenic material ingested and deliberately held in the lungs. Why do users involuntarily cough after a harsh long toke?  Hint: it's not due to an overload of antioxidants.  Get real.

        • Anonymous says:

          Bob Marley didn't die of lung cancer, he died from skin cancer, a melignant melanoma on his toe, this cancer then spread to the rest of his body

          seriously if you are going to give exanples to strengthen your story do some research

          • Anonymous says:

            Bob died from the radiation of the chemotherapy. It caused his organs to systematically shut down and all his hair to fall out.

            • Anonymous says:

              "Bob died from the radiation of the chemotherapy"  Sorry genius, radiation treatment is completley different then chemotherapy.  Sometimes they are done together, sometimes one or the other.  And you say it doesn't kill brain cells?

        • Anonymous says:

          Bob Marley died of melonoma (skin cancer).  However, if cannibis is the miracle drug that the many proponents for legalisation here claim it is, why did he die of cancer (especially considering the amount he allegedly smoked).  It's probably not any worse then alcohol but to say its a miracle drug that has been "proven" to cure cancer is just BS.  I personally know one girl who recently had a double mastectemy for breast cancer and she smokes plenty o weed.  It certaintly didn't stop her from getting cancer, and sure  as hell didn't cure her of it either.

          • Anonymous says:

            they consumed marijuana in smoke form….we are talking of concentrating the oils in the plant and saving millions of people.

    • Anonymous says:

      You dont drink alcohol then right??  Or you dont eat deep fried food right??  Because you dont smoke, does not mean people should be locked up for a little weed!! thats just crazy talk you crazy talker you

  27. Anonymous says:

    not likely in a place where we can't buy groceries on a sunday….. or dance past midnight on saturday……

  28. Anonymous says:

    Behind Burns 100%. It should be legalized medically for those who need it. Although Burns isn't for recreational use, I think it would be the government's financial interests to decriminalize having small amounts of ganja for personal use as it would free up cells in Northward and less money would be spent on housing 'criminals' for years for using something as small as ganja. 

  29. Anonymous says:

    Healing of the nation!!!!

  30. And another Ting says:

    Nature at its best, Cannabis, Kujunpin, Ganga, Marijane, Marijuana by any name is , the healing drug!

  31. Hoping for better days says:

    Legalize it, control it, tax the heck out of it.

    Government needs revenue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Trust me if Government gets its slipper hands on it there will be nothig but trouble. By the time they finish giving their "supporters" license to grow,sell and distribute we will have to turn to smoking planting trash. Ronald Regan said it best 'the worst words in the English language is, we are here from the Government and we are here to help'.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Burns is on the right track. I am with you on this.