Cayman Islands Approve Cannabis Oil
3 min

Cayman Islands Approve Cannabis Oil

3 min
Legislation News

The Cayman Islands become the next country to legalize medical use. The only problem is where will they get it?

The Caribbean is slowly but surely moving into the legalization camp. In early October, the Cayman Islands approved the use of medicinal cannabis oil for the treatment of cancer and other chronic conditions.

The only hitch? The oil is not produced anywhere on the island.

According to the Cayman Compass, lawmakers approved a bill that would amend the island’s “Misuse of Drugs Law” to allow cannabis oil to be prescribed by local doctors and carried by Cayman pharmacies. That said, they still remain concerned about where they might get it. Import from the U.S. will prove, at minimum, difficult, due to federal prohibitions if not the international bans still in place.


Cayman islands map

That said, the international shipping of cannabis from the U.S. to the Caymans and elsewhere, is not totally out of the question these days, despite federal regulations. Argentina just announced that they would begin importing medical cannabis oil from the U.S. earlier this month.

Outside of the U.S., there are also two other options in the same hemisphere. Canada and Jamaica have indicated that they might approve exports of locally produced cannabis to the Caymans to fill the need. Canadian growers right now are seeking to boost sales of domestically produced product as recreational reform in that country lags. Canadian exporters are already shipping to Europe and Australia. Jamaica, which legalized the drug earlier this year and is considering installing cannabis kiosks at the airports to cater to the tourist trade, might be another option.

More significant, in fact, than the fact that the Caymans will allow medical use at all, is that legalization here brings international transport of cannabis that much more into the global spotlight – if not the overarching issue of international reform.


The Canadian situation may well have initiated this conversation in the Caymans, as well as elsewhere. Earlier this year, Canadian companies became the first in the world to successfully overcome international shipping and transport prohibitions that have been in force for the last half century. Their success has apparently emboldened many countries eyeing the use of medical cannabis to begin to think about options before regulated domestic production is established.

Germany and Croatia began importing medical cannabis this summer from Canadian firms – although this will only be a temporary situation in the former as the country sets up its own cannabis agency to oversee domestic production. It is also very likely, particularly given the costs of import that Croatia may soon look to Europe (either Italy or Germany) to fulfil its budding medical needs at lower costs. As Spain also seems to be moving forward on the reform front, it is also not inconceivable that nascent reform here may impact international transport of cannabis not only throughout Europe but across oceans in both directions.

No matter how much this part of the market is now opening up, however, the idea of importing cannabis for medical purposes is not a new one. Israel began importing Dutch cannabis (as the Germans also still predominantly do) in the last decade before establishing their own domestic grow operations.

One thing is clear – international shipping of the plant or medicine made from it, is entering a new phase as medical use becomes a global phenom.


The most interesting aspect of this growing international trend is that the acceptance of medical use at least, has outstripped the pace of domestic reform in most countries. Hard as it is to believe, even three years ago, the idea of cannabis as a medically useful drug was still on the fringes. That clearly changed after both Colorado and Washington State legalized the drug (and for recreational use).

These days, as more and more people look to the success of the United States, Israel and Canada, the medical efficacy of the drug has clearly entered the mainstream of global debate – if not more.
With that mainstreaming has come the realization that patients will continue to go to the black market if no legal alternatives are provided. Most patients (if not users in general) prefer finding legal outlets for the drug. And most lawmakers, particularly outside the U.S., prefer not to prosecute sick people. Thus the focus on imports from legal markets.

However the next stage of reform, just about everywhere, will clearly be, as it is in Israel, Italy and Germany, to create regulated domestic production of the same – even if bound at first for only medical use. The drug is far cheaper to obtain and easier to control this way. And as most of this reform is happening on the medical front and in countries with relatively functional health systems, that means that insurance companies will bear the brunt of import costs. Thus the export-import situation, certainly as it applies to the medical market, will not last long.

As a result, the biggest impact of the opening international export market for cannabis may be the rapid development of domestic cannabis agencies, albeit initially focussed on the medical market, in most countries now pondering change.


In turn, the fact that so many countries are beginning to cultivate cannabis for domestic use, is also widely expected to push recreational acceptance – everywhere. While it will lag behind medical in every country, just as it has in the U.S. states and Canada, the second stage of reform will inevitably follow relatively shortly thereafter as cannabis is introduced into medical infrastructures.

What the opening of the export-import market for cannabis may also well do in the long term, particularly on the recreational front, is in fact open up international markets to highly diversified cannabis products – far beyond medicine. Connoisseur cannabis, edibles, highly customized blends and the like, are mostly a phenom of only a few, isolated markets right now. With the opening of a global market for medical, it is highly likely that a wide range of diverse cannabis products – bound for discerning international recreational consumers – may in fact be the real winner in the end.



Written by: Zamnesia
Zamnesia has spent years honing its products, ranges, and knowledge of all things psychedelic. Driven by the spirit of Zammi, Zamnesia strives to bring you accurate, factual, and informative content.

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