Minister Comments: Medical Marijuana Petition

January 16, 2014

[Updated] Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley commented on the campaign by Alan Gordon related to the medical use of marijuana saying it was “misleading and inaccurate.”

“Bermuda’s laws already make provision for the properly regulated, medical use of controlled drugs. Mr. Gordon’s argument is not with me as the Minister or with the Government,” Minister Dunkley said.

“He and others interested in this issue already know what needs to be done to secure the medical use of marijuana and the current petition simply cannot achieve the result they want.”

Alan Gordon recently started an online petition asking Minister Dunkley to allow emergency medical cannabis permits for cancer patients with a doctor’s recommendation. It has 483 signatures as of this writing.

A statement from the Government said: “A review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972 and Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order 1973 would indicate the following:

“Section 12(3) states, Subject to subsection (4), the Minister shall so exercise his power to make regulations under subsection (1) as to secure that it is not unlawful under section 5(1) for a practitioner, acting in his capacity as such to prescribe, administer, manufacture, compound or supply a controlled drug, or for a pharmacist, acting in his capacity as such, to manufacture, compound or supply a controlled drug; and that it is not unlawful under section 6(1) for a practitioner or pharmacist to have a controlled drug in his possession for the purpose of acting in his capacity as such.

“Section 12(4) states that if in the case of any controlled drug the Minister is of the opinion that it is in the public interest— for production, supply and possession of that drug to be either wholly unlawful or unlawful except for purposes of research or other special purposes; or for it to be unlawful for practitioners or pharmacists to do in relation to that drug any of the things mentioned in subsection (3) except under a licence or other authority issued by the Minister, he may by order designate that drug as a drug to which this subsection applies; and while there is in force an order under this subsection designating a controlled drug as one to which this subsection applies, subsection (3) shall not apply as regards that drug.

“The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order 1973 lists Cannabinol, Cannabinol derivatives, Cannabis, and Cannabis resin.

“As such, section 12(4) applies to Cannabis as a drug which the Minister finds either wholly unlawful, unlawful except for research or special purpose, or unlawful for practitioners or pharmacists (to prescribe, administer, manufacture, compound or supply) unless licensed or authorised.

“Consequently, the Act only envisages practitioners [defined in the Act as a physician, dentist or veterinary practitioner] or pharmacists being licensed to prescribe, administer, manufacture, compound or supply such controlled drugs.

“As Mr. Gordon is neither a physician nor pharmacist, he is not eligible to be considered for a licence by the Minister to import, cultivate, or supply cannabis in any form.”

“If a practitioner, as defined in the Misuse of Drugs Act, makes an application for the medical use of any controlled drug, that application will be considered on its merits and I will be guided by the letter and spirit of the law. To date, no practitioner has made such an application,” said Minister Dunkley.

Update 10.39am: The following letter by Alan Gordon was sent to Minister Dunkley in response to his comments above.

Dear Honourable Minister Dunkley:

Thank you for replying so rapidly and politely to the petition on the issue of medical cannabis for cancer patients.

Your interpretations of the 1972 Act’s relevant sections, upon which you seek to rely, are indeed complex. As in the case of most laws, alternative interpretation is often appropriate.

I never asked you to allow me to possess, manufacture, compound, deliver or administer cannabis to cure cancer.

I put forward the following interpretation, which leaves even more room than you envisaged however, to allow those activities to those who are not just medical professionals — even though an Act should never be an excuse to deny the fundamental right to live without having to rely on untrained doctors and pharmacists, who generally know very little of medical cannabis production and administration.

The Ministry’s legal interpretation, while prima facie correct, overlooks faster and more reasonable ways to allow medical cannabis. I offer the following explanation of how the 1972 Act does actually allow you discretion, even though I never asked you for it (since my own earlier application, for lab rodent research, stipulated that only trained doctors would handle the cannabis).

Under the doctrine of “Ministerial discretion”, when the vast majority of the population have no opposition, in some circumstances, Crown discretion is nearly unlimited. You see, a Minister is a representative of the Crown, which is in practice an abstract source of power vestigially related to the Royal Family of England, who exercises little real power, but in whose name we exercise law and justice.

A Minister, as the human representative of the philosophical underpinnings of law and justice, is entrusted by society with the near-sacred duty of administering law and justice.

In truth, even where a law purports to limit a Minister’s discretion, or, as in this case, merely leaves it grey area, neither limited nor allowed, a Crown servant has utterly unlimited discretion — so long as no person with standing rises to challenge his decision.

Now tell me this: if the Minister orders (even without any express authority), that health care professionals or patients may have medical cannabis unless medical advice says to the contrary, then what person or agency will seek Judicial Review of your decision? Who will challenge it?

Leaving that philosophical argument aside for a moment, let us proceed to the more legally ironclad strict wording of the complex law you cited, where a further power entrusted to you may have been overlooked.

Section 12(3) requires the Minister to make regulations that doctors, pharmacists and other qualified medical professionals may lawfully manufacture, compound, possess, distribute and administer certain drugs. Section 12(3) does not limit you from any other action.

Section 12(4) says a Minister may

    • designate a drug
    • to be wholly or partly unlawful
    • except for
      • research or
      • other special purposes

So it would appear that the Minister is empowered by this section to designate cannabis partly unlawful, and therefore partly lawful.

It would also appear that even if you refuse to do this, you do certainly have authority, even with the full restriction in place, to make exceptions either for research, or for special purposes, both of which seem evident here. Either option, research or special purpose, will suffice.

If you can allow medical professionals to administer or distribute this drug, then patients must also be allowed to have it. To argue otherwise would be to render the whole process pointless.

Issuance of licenses for medical professionals would not preclude patients from accessing cannabis.

Perhaps we should view the seeming ban on un-licensed medical professionals’ right to access cannabis in a similar fashion to the way it is handled in US States, where medical cannabis is lawful with a prescription — in many of those States doctors and pharmacists never touch the stuff, unless they are trained to do so — and very few are, since:

      • Their medical training generally precludes the use of herbal remedies; and
      • They are unfamiliar with cannabis strains relative to chemical composition and variable effects.
      • They are untrained in the workings of the “endo-cannabinoid” system, despite the fact that it is crucial to the regulation of many bodily and mental processes.

There are other manoeuvres available by which you could allow medical cannabis.

No law-making agency, whether Parliament or a Minister, may bind his successors. This means that a law cannot be passed which says “this law is final and can never be changed”. Later law makers can always change the law. If your predecessor Minister added the drug to the list, then you may impliedly remove it from the list.

Cannabis (and its oils/resins) were added to that list, as the law stipulated, by a law-making procedure called “negative resolution power”, which means the Minister laid the drug’s identity before Parliament for inclusion on the “not even doctors may handle this stuff” list.

In this way, it became law because Parliament did not disagree with the Minister — that is how negative resolution power works. As per the procedure in place, it appears to have been made law, by default, that not even medical professional could be allowed by the Minister to handle cannabis and its oils — except for “research” or “other special purposes”, or with a “license”.

Nowhere is there a law saying only medical professionals, but not their patients or manufacturers, may have cannabis. It is an error to argue otherwise.

Further, even if it were true that no one, not even medical practitioners, could handle cannabis, at the very worst a Minister could remove it from that list of super-banned drugs, by adding to the list “minus cannabis and its resins”, thereby cancelling the previous ban by the slow, weeks-long process of waiting for Parliament to not vote it down.

Bermuda can, however, move faster than that, even, without even stealing any more precious weeks from patients’ lives. Legally, this is “easy as pie”. Here’s how to proceed:

Without even using your express legal powers, consider the effect of a Crown Minister’s new order that neither patients nor doctors, manufacturers, or vendors of medical cannabis (for the most serious patients) shall be arrested, charged or prosecuted for it, if properly licensed.

Police and DPP prosecutors, even if not legally bound to heed your order, would be politically hard-pressed to not use their own discretion to not arrest and prosecute. For the police or DPP to buck the order would risk significant societal decay, because failing to heed the vast majority of the population, and a pronouncement of Ministerial authority, would undemocratically border on authoritative repression, even were it not a matter of life or death.

DPP and police, too, have the power to not arrest, charge and prosecute, whenever they wish. Even the public, who have the power to bring public prosecutions, also have the power not to. None of them are legally required to strictly enforce all laws, in every circumstance.

The legislature from time to time may even try to force Crown agents to arrest and prosecute anything Parliament deems a “crime”, but without those Crown agents’ willingness to do so, the law is as if it were written on water.

The fact that you do not have strict authority over the police and DPP in no way precludes them from acting humanely and in accordance with the licenses which you are expressly and impliedly entitled to award.

I would suggest a doctor’s recommendation should suffice, one point on which you and I agree, apparently, and as I suggested to you last year.

Whether or not any such patient has yet tendered such a doctor’s letter, the Ministry absolutely was tendered a cancer research application, specifying that only doctors would handle the cannabis, and it was ignored, and shunted off to the Health Department’s Ethics Committee, a regulatory body which has no statutory authority in the matter.

When that happened, and when I published that self-conflicting licensure procedures were offered via email from your Ministry, I imagine that several curious patients lost faith in the process.

Yes, by all means, put legal belts and braces on your express powers when there is more time to consider them. But in the meanwhile:

      • Please do not argue that only medical professionals, but not patients or manufacturers, may handle medical cannabis; as the law does not say that; and
      • Please recognise your power as a Crown executive official to, as a matter of mathematical logic, reverse the act taken by your predecessor; and
      • Please recognise that, you may exercise as a Crown servant any discretion you wish, in real life and practice, subject to no party’s willingness to challenge it.

Do what the public demands and the law allows. This will not take court resources, nor months of precious dwindling life (in quality or quantity). This option saves the taxpayer significant funds, and will save lives.

Regards,
Alan Gordon, BA, LLB

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  1. Paul says:

    Why are we even having this conversation regarding medical marijuana?
    Mr Dunkley, just do what the hell you have to do…..if tis herb can ease the pain in cancer patients or other ailments just get your a** in gear and get it done.

  2. Triangle Drifter says:

    It would seem that Mr Dunkley is playing a little dodgeball here. Perhsps no practioner has never applied for the use is because there are way too many hoops to jump trough only to most likely be told NO.

    The PLP did nothing to update laws regarding weed for 14 years. OBA get on with it. Yes, you are busy correcting plenty other issues of neglect but surely there must be existing legeslstion elswhere that Bermuda can virtually plug & play.

    Bermuda is another world. So the saying goes. Blah, blah, blah. No, we are not.

  3. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    I made it quite clear before…this whole Cannabis subject came about in times of dire needs of a resolution to the escalating violent crimes and murders by removing the criminality of it but for some reason some people had to really push the medicinal purposes…that as Mr.Dunkley says is already on the books…The medicinal purpose is an undisputed scientific fact already owned by big pharma for decades…big waste of time and effort im sorry to say…Now you have to try another avenue which will automatically fall on deaf ears…so i guess we will have to wait and be the last to jump on the bandwagon instead of striking while the iron is hot. Cannabis is a multi billion dollar textile…so ..why not capitalize before it’s a common commodity. Will we wait until we have a few more murders of our young ones..?

  4. Whistling Frog says:

    Just like that, it’s like that… DOOOCTORRR!! I”M IN PAIN!!! CAN YOU PRESCRIBE ME WITH SOME THC, PLEASE!!??

    • aceboy says:

      Would you rather they prescribe viocodin, oxycodone or maybe some percocet? Because they will do that. Nothing like a little morphine based man made pain killer for what ails ya!

      • SMH says:

        Its sad how both codeine and morphine both come from the Opium plant.. the same plant that is used to make Heroin.. Another name for Heroin is diacetylmorphine or diamorphine. The death rate of Heroin is well over 100,000 while Marijuana is still at 0. If you were to ask a child which out of morphine or medicinal marijuana would you rather the doctor prescribe you,(not promoting children using drugs) I’m 150% sure that child would go the medicinal marijuana route. You DO NOT need book smarts to figure it out.. Another factor to include is if a ex-heroin addict gets into a serious accident or falls ill and needs to be administered a pain killer he or she is more likely to get addicted to the heroin again if given morphine or codeine. Come on Bermuda come out of you’re conservative ways and open you’re bleddy eyes. All the facts about marijuana that was given to you from the 80′s and 90′s were all proven FALSE.. so whats the issue..

    • Sara says:

      That’s what they do in many states in the US and it works just fine. So why not?

  5. Terry says:

    What a load of tripe.
    “practitioner ……
    Millions made a month on prescription drugs.
    Cannabis costs $20 for many seeds and be grown. Do the math folks.
    The biggest importers of marijuana are……………..

  6. SERZ TALK says:

    blah blah blah blah….CTRL-A Delete.

    New law: Minister shall stop dilly dallyin and legalize it.

  7. Malcolm Kyle says:

    The following text is taken directly from the US government’s National Cancer Institute website:

    * ANTI-TUMOR EFFECTS

    One study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. During this 2-year study, groups of mice and rats were given various doses of THC by gavage. A dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma was observed in the mice. Decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas) were also noted in the rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.

    Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. These compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis in glioma cells in culture and induce regression of glioma tumors in mice and rats. Cannabinoids protect normal glial cells of astroglial and oligodendroglial lineages from apoptosis mediated by the CB1 receptor.

    In an in vivo model using severe combined immunodeficient mice, subcutaneous tumors were generated by inoculating the animals with cells from human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines. Tumor growth was inhibited by 60% in THC-treated mice compared with vehicle-treated control mice. Tumor specimens revealed that THC had antiangiogenic and antiproliferative effects.

    There is far more there on anti-tumor effects but I’m limited here due to commenting restrictions.

    * ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS

    In addition, both plant-derived and endogenous cannabinoids have been studied for anti- inflammatory effects. A mouse study demonstrated that endogenous cannabinoid system signaling is likely to provide intrinsic protection against colonic inflammation. As a result, a hypothesis that phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids may be useful in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer has been developed.

    * ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES

    Another study has shown delta-9-THC is a potent and selective antiviral agent against Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8. The researchers concluded that additional studies on cannabinoids and herpesviruses are warranted, as they may lead to the development of drugs that inhibit the reactivation of these oncogenic viruses. Subsequently, another group of investigators reported increased efficiency of KSHV infection of human dermal microvascular epithelial cells in the presence of low doses of delta-9-THC.

    * APPETITE STIMULATOR

    Many animal studies have previously demonstrated that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids have a stimulatory effect on appetite and increase food intake. It is believed that the endogenous cannabinoid system may serve as a regulator of feeding behavior. The endogenous cannabinoid anandamide potently enhances appetite in mice. Moreover, CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus may be involved in the motivational or reward aspects of eating.

    * AS A PAIN KILLER

    The understanding of the mechanism of cannabinoid-induced analgesia has been increased through the study of cannabinoid receptors (endocannabinoids), and synthetic agonists and antagonists. The CB1 receptor is found in both the central nervous system (CNS) and in peripheral nerve terminals. Similar to opioid receptors, increased levels of the CB1 receptor are found in sections of the brain that regulate nociceptive processing. CB2 receptors, located predominantly in peripheral tissue, exist at very low levels in the CNS. With the development of receptor-specific antagonists, much additional information about the roles of the receptors and the endogenous cannabinoids in the modulation of pain has also been obtained.

    Cannabinoids may also contribute to pain modulation through an anti-inflammatory mechanism; a CB2 effect with cannabinoids acting on mast cell receptors to attenuate the release of inflammatory agents, such as histamine and serotonin, and on keratinocytes to enhance the release of analgesic opioids.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      And what is there to stop physicians prescribing dronabinole or nabilone?

      • sage says:

        Preference for non-synthetic, cheaper, naturally balanced, organically grown, job creating, local produce, a desire to “buy Bermuda”. Now, get back on your favorite search engine and learn some more before you show your face around here unprepared again.

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          Riiight. It’s because the medical side of it is not really your interest, is it.

          • sage says:

            You are still making erroneous claims about my interest, about which you have no clue. If you knew me, you would realize that I, unlike you, would not put selfish interests ahead of anyones health and well being. Switch off your default attack mode and try evidence based statements, or are you actually a supporter deliberately showcasing the opposers as desperate fools, who will resort to lies, assumptions and false propaganda in a vain attempt to keep herb illegal.Clever, it’s surely working if that’s the case,or not.

            • Suzie Quattro says:

              I think we can see who is always on “default attack mode”. Particularly on this topic.

              • LOL (original TM*) says:

                I hope you’re implying that Sandy is the one on attack cause no matter what sage’s intentions or motives are here on this topic he/she is right and has presented logical and clinical evidence to support the argument sage is making. So far the people who oppose this have at the very least not done supported themselves and have only reduced the argument to name calling and to try to discredit those for it.

                LOL
                nothing against you SB I have agreed with you many time but I feel differently on this topic as I have always feel medicine on this side is more about money than real treatment.

          • Sara says:

            OMG this again? Good grief! Did you do all that research yet Sandy?

      • Tommy Chong says:

        There have been 70 FDA reported dronabinol related deaths & 10 Nabilone related deaths. Why increase the chance of death when using a vaporizer or eating the plant’s flower have caused 0 related deaths. Nabilone & dronabinol are prime examples of capitalistic tactics used to brainwash the masses. Maybe next you’ll suggest parents give their kids SunnyD & Capri Sun instead of orange or apple juice.

      • wolf segal says:

        All of the research seems to inducate that the cchemical compounds found in cannabis (cannabinoids and terpenes) are most medically efficacious when used together. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam–the foremost expert in the world on cannabinoids–refers to this as an “entourage effect.”
        It is widely reported by patients who have used both the single cannabinoids and natural phytto-cannabinoids (plant-derived) that the latter work better.

    • Portia says:

      Malcolm, this information you’ve provided is speculative at best. A few tests on some lab rats is hardly a good enough cause to rush to approve medical marijuana here. We are doing ourselves and our young people a disservice by telling them that marijuana (medicinal or not) is not really dangerous – because it is.

      There are 400 chemicals in marijuana, including Delta-9 mentioned in the Cancer Institute reports. Delta-9, or THC, is a neurotoxin. This is a substance that damages or impairs the functions of nerve tissue. There is an approved drug in the U.S. called Marinol that isn’t smoked, which contains synthetic THC and can be taken in more controlled doses. But even with this medication the manufacturer warns of side effects that include paranoid reaction, drowsiness, and abnormal thinking. THC is also a lipophilic, meaning the chemical is fat-bonding and gets stored inside a person’s body for weeks, months and possibly even years after use ceases.

      The short and long term effects of marijuana use include: memory loss, difficulty in learning, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate, and anxiety.

      Many people talk about the good marijuana does for cancer patients. But according to the U.S. National Institute of Health, someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as may someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes per day. Smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits about four times as much tar into the lungs as a filtered tobacco cigarette.

      • YADON says:

        Cannabis has been patented by the US government as a neuroprotectant. So your claim that it destroys nerves is laughable at best.

      • YADON says:

        In fact your post is bogus. Marinol is a synthetic version of THC like you said there 400 chemicals in cannabis. THC is only one CBD is another that is not in marinol . It takes all the compounds in cannabis to be effective as a medicine. Its like saying taking a vitamin supplement is as good as eating vegitables, which we all know is false.

      • Tommy Chong says:

        All the studies that suggest neurotoxin in cannabis have been performed by pharmacologist who have administered THC that has been attracted derivatively from the plant through chemical processes & administered intravenously at extremely high dosages to test subjects. This evidence cannot be considered conclusive since cannabis users don’t shoot up the substance as a heroin user might do with heroin. There are far more legalised consumables that contain higher levels of neurotoxins in much smaller quantities such as Equal, NutraSweet & Sucralose which are used as sugar substitutes in many products. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein fund in many potato chip brands also has high levels of neurotoxins in low consumption. There are also high levels of neurotoxins in Yeast extract which is in most processed food & especially in canned foods. The list of other daily consumables with neurotoxin agents is extremely extensive.

        As for the 400 chemicals they can be harmlessly digested if cannabis is eaten or they can be filtered out through a relatively inexpensive home device called a vaporiser regularly used by patients of medical cannabis in places where medical use is legal.

      • Anbu says:

        If u smoke it…… Come on now lets pay attention. Smoking anything is bad for u be it trees or cigarettes. If they legalise u wont have to because it will be cheap enough to use it in a much safer way than smoking. All u anti weed campaigners automatically think people just wanna smoke it. It is proven to help people. Point blank if u dont have cancer u aint getting it. Problem solved. Then again that doesnt take the criminal element out of it because those who want it for recreational use will still have to putchase illegaly, go figure

      • more than enough says:

        what a pile of crap

      • sage says:

        The US NIH and you are brain dead if you can conclude that herb is worse,or even as harmful as cigarettes. Lets check the math, 5 joints in 7 days (1.4/day) compared to 20 cigs/day for 7 days(140/week) means herb is 100 x more harmful than cigarettes! Then you say one joint deposits 4 x as much tar which makes herb 4 times more harmful. The clear fact that cigarettes kill 1200/ day in the US alone and herb has killed 0, ever, speaks for itself. The fact that those we should trust are so obviously full of s#!? means we cannot trust them or their “news carriers”.

        • sage says:

          Whoops, no non users caught this? Let me correct my maths, 5 joints in 7 days would be 0.714/ day, therefore 28 times worse.

      • wolf segal says:

        There are so many inaccuracies in this that it’s hard to know where to begin addressing them.

        Ah, how about at the beginning? “A few tests on some lab rats…” Really? Go online to PubMeds. There you will find tens of thousands of well-designed, peer reviewed, studies on the uses of cannabis in medicine.

        Yes, cannabis has potential for abuse. So does every other therapeutic substance used by humanity. Unlike, for instance aspirin, there is not a single recorded fatal overdose, ever.

        United States Patent #6630507, for the use of cannabis as a neuro-protectant, is held by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. What do you suppose the word “neuro-protectant” says about its effects on nerve tissue?

        “There are 400 chemicals in cannabis.” No, there are over 400 cannabinoids, plus terpenes, plus flavinoids, plus some miscellaneous others. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam of Jerusalem University, the world’s foremost authority on the chemistry of cannabis, says that it is insppropriate to look only at individual chemicals found in cannabis because it appears they work together to produce what he refers to as an “entourage effect.”

        Dr. Donald Tashkent, the lead scientist on the, single, study. On which damage to lungs was found to be an effect of cannabis use has since recanted those findings. Google him for yourself.

        What is stored in fat cells is not
        THC. It is the metabolites thereof. Metabolites are what afe left after the body has assimilated a substance.

        Finally, the most common routes of administration for therapeutic cannabis are vaporization and oral ingestion of whole cannabis extract not smoking it

        • sage says:

          No one willing to challenge wolf I see, or like/dislike (something I haven,t been able to do for a while, Bernews?)

      • pabear says:

        portia your full of s*** you can smoke as much cannabis as you want any time ask Dr. Robert Melamede who did a study at the university colorado on cannabis smokers, cannabis & tobacco just tobacco and non smokers. your so interested in cutting down cannabis lets see if your hate will allow you to read some truth

  8. sage says:

    Like I have said all along, repeal the misuse of drugs act in it’s entirety, then there will be no clauses which allow people to suffer while the Minister’s (increasingly unpopular) opinion is preventing any progress. How can it be in the “public interest” to deny relief to sick individuals? Should public interest super-cede individual rights when the “public” is a group of individuals? There is no excuse for continuing a misguided, failed policy which causes more harm to society than the plant that shoulders all the blame. I challenge anyone to come with a real reason why legal herb would represent any sort of threat to public interest.

  9. Minister Dunkley has quoted from our laws and now the ball is in the hands of licensed practitioners. Circus is over.

    • sage says:

      Had someone not forced his hand, this secret avenue for access would have stayed a secret, although it is on public record, if you don’t have a legal degree you wouldn’t find it, and those in the know haven’t felt it important enough to tell us until Mr Gordon was kind enough to point it out . I know many people, including my father who suffered unnecessarily because this right was denied them. We have over 1000 cancer patients here, so we will see what happens when/if a physician will go against the grain.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        Couldn’t have just learned this from google, the way you learn everything else?

      • “..secret avenue for access..”? Are you seriously suggesting that Mr. Gordon, who obviously did extensive research of our laws when preparing his presentation, was not aware of this route. If you are then that is a most preposterous suggestion.

        • sage says:

          I bet neither of you knew about it prior to this, and if it was common knowledge, research wouldn’t be needed to uncover the fact. What in my post leads you to think i am questioning when Mr. Gordon became aware of it? Your suggestion is what is preposterous, as usual.

    • Tommy Chong says:

      As minister of national security he should see more than one reason why it’s urgent to change prohibition laws. Then again this is the minister who thinks prayer meetings, hand puppets & neighborhood watches are a better solution than tabling an amendment on minimum sentence laws for murders.

  10. Think... says:

    Just in case you all missed the point…if a practitioner applies for the ability to prescribe medical marijuana, he (the Minister) will review each case on its merits. All that needs to happen is for a practitioner or group of them to apply and see what the Minister does. He practically spelled out the process for all of you. What, ya SLOW?!

    • Hmmm says:

      Side affect perhaps

    • Common Sense says:

      It’s amazing how a factual statement from Minister Dunkley gets slated just because he has told us exactly what the procedure is for a medical practitioner to apply for permission to prescribe a controlled drug for medicinal purposes. All we need now is for a doctor with a suitable patient to apply for permission to prescribe cannabis. Come on medical community. Get with the programme.

    • 'nuff sa-d' says:

      Yes…. the process??? Just to be told hell no Doctor(s)!!

  11. Michael Dunkley says:

    @Googa Mooga and Think…Amen.

    • YADON says:

      Shouldn’t you have to prove to us why cannabis is harmful enough to be illegal ? Or would that involve you admiting the government has been lying to us for decades ? Why do we have to prove your lies about the plant, that is not democracy.

    • Forest says:

      Ok, so a doctor applies to prescribe medical marijauna to a patient and the application is approved. What next??? Where is the doctor/pharmacy going to get the marijauna? Is the patient going to get a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card to purchase it from a street dealer?? As far as I know there aren’t any pharmacies that keep it in stock, we don’t have any grow houses to supply a stock either. My point is, even if a doctor is approved to prescribe cannabis to the patient there are still a whole bunch of laws preventing the patients, doctors and pharmacies from obtaining it. Laws on importation, possession, dispensing and even tax MUST be amended before this patient can legally obtain their medication. So Minister Dunkley, although I do appreciate your comments and that you are willing to accept applications and either approve or deny them based on their merits, I believe it’s not as easy as it sounds. This is really going to involve a lot more than your approval to get this patient their medication.

      • Tommy Chong says:

        What I find misleading is that the minister alludes to it being as simple as one practitioners application when the truth is there would need to be far more than one to justify pharmacists importation & supply. Why would any practitioner suggest herbal remedy when their peers & them already make extensive profits off of pharmaceuticals that readily available & easily attainable. Sure their may be loads of side effects from pharmaceuticals but thats fine for the practitioner because this condones them prescribing another drug to counteract the side effects & then if that counteraction drug has side effects…

      • sage says:

        Oh he’s well aware of the issues, and is hoping no doctor, dentist, pharmacist or vet will want to risk bringing the wrath of the ganjaphobic, fear mongers down on themselves. Thats why we need full legalization.

        • Oh, so now you have added mind reading to your repertoire of tricks and resume. You don’t know what the Minister is hoping!How audacious!

  12. Cancer Survivor says:

    here we are having a discussion on whether to legalise medical marijuana when the rest of the world is moving to legalize marijuana for recreational use.A damn shame!

    • Anbu says:

      Tell me about it. This country is so bass ackwards we deserve to go down in flames

    • Rest of the world? Mind namimg some countries besides the US where only two or three staes have actually legalized weed.Thought not. At this point in time there are far more countries that outlaw weed then don’t.

      • YADON says:

        Spain , Portugal and Uruguay just off the top of my head , and countless others have decrimilized. If you actually took the time to find out how it became illegal internationally you would understand the USA and UN have enforced this on smaller countries.

      • YADON says:

        And why are you talking to yourself? You typed a question then answered it yourself. Very strange , are you on drugs?

        • It’s called a rhetorical question. Obviouly you have not read any arguments by apologists who use that strategy to make a point. Yadon let’s keep the dialogue on an acceptable level and not descend to pettiness.

          Am I on drugs? Well I’m not the one silly enough to act as if weed has no detrimental effects irrespective of its history. And it is my belief that almost everyone who dislikes my posts falls into that category.But just because addicts deny the ramifications does not in any way remove them. Look in the mirror.

          • Mike Hind says:

            What about those of us that DON’T use, that aren’t addicts, that DO admit detrimental effects and still support the decriminalization of marijuana?

            • Sandy Bottom says:

              An understandable position. But getting to the truth about detrimental effects is an unpopular past time around here.

          • sage says:

            Stop deflecting, answer the question,are you on drugs? That includes alcohol, tobacco, aspirins, prescriptions, caffeine, chocolate, any and all of them.

      • Sara says:

        If you can read sir, he said “moving to” And Uruguay is the first to actually legalize as a country. It is decriminalized in Netherlands and Portugal to the point it is almost legal just not on the books. It is only recent that the big bully good ole United States of America actually legalized in a couple of states for recreational use. So NOW that these countries no longer have to fear the US telling them what they can and can not do, they will move forward with full legalization over these next couple of years.

      • wolf segal says:

        Leaving the use of cannabis as a social intoxicant aside as irrelevant to a discussion of its rherapeutic applications, 19 of the United States and the District of Columbia recognize the use of plant cannabis in medicine as legitimate.

  13. GRAND WIZZARD says:

    Acetaminophen or Tylenol can kill you. You or a child can buy it for $5 at almost any grocer or pharmacy. It is manmade.

    Cannabis cannot kill you, even if you smoke pounds of it back to back. It has never killed anyone, nor can it. It treats and cures over 200 diseases. It is natural.

    Yet one is legal and the other illegal?

    Use common sense. Legalize.

    • sage says:

      True, peanuts kill 100 people a year (US), this fight is more over behavior control than health let’s face it.

  14. GRAND WIZZARD says:

    Bermudians, especially their politicans are too stupid and incapable of ever doing anything intelligent or fair.

    And I am 100% Bermudian, family here for 400 years.

    I have no problem saying that!

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      I can see how your statement might fit your own experience.

  15. GRAND WIZZARD says:

    Why are drugs made illegal in the first place?

    FDA states:

    “If it is a hazard to the person’s body or society.”

    Cannabis is the opposite of a hazard. Yet it is illegal, why?
    You have legal tobacco and alcohol killing thousands on our island.
    Proof that this Government (and the one before it!!!) is incapable of common sense.

    • Sara says:

      Isn’t it interesting that hemp is illegal to grow considering you can’t get high from it?

  16. GRAND WIZZARD says:

    decriminalization and medicinal restriction is UTTERLY STUPID, UNFAIR, and UNJUST.

    It should be 100% legalized AS IS FAIR AND JUST. It can be REGULATED like tobacco, coffee, or alcohol, with an age limit of 21 for use.

    COME ON PEOPLE! USE SOME COMMON SENSE!!!!!!!!! GOOD LORD!

  17. GRAND WIZZARD says:

    They want you to die from cancer, they want to pump you full of poison and radiation and pretend it is “helping you”.They want to charge you all your money while doing it.

    If they actually cared whatsoever about you, they would let you use 100% cannabis.

    • Sara says:

      Sounds so far fetched and crazy but it is indeed the truth!

  18. I am heartbroken to see those last few holdouts who’ve expressed suspicions that medical cannabis for cancer patients (whose lives it may save) is just some ruse to allow recreational use.

    That’s silly — recreational users smoke pot anyway. But to deny life-saving medicine, in a vain attempt to stop rampant recreational use, is just cruel, especially since it doesn’t work.

    Recreational users already have cannabis — but those people whose lives can be saved by medical cannabis cannot get it, due to this silly perspective.

    • sage says:

      Well put.

    • terry says:

      “recreational users smoke pot anyway”
      Well….share and give some to your friends that are dying of cancer.
      You’ll get it.
      Shalom.
      Ps. Free and paid for.

      • Sara says:

        The quality of pot here in Bermuda isn’t safe for sick people. Because we can’t grow or import quality, they would be forced to use overpriced imported moldy dirty weed. Not something you want to give to your friend that is dying…

  19. GRAND WIZZARD says:

    FACT:

    Recorded Cannabis use by mankind dates back to 5000 years ago, where it was used by the Chinese for medicine, rope, paper, food, and more. One of the first Chinese words is the word for “Cannabis”.

    Cannabis was legal across the whole planet for thousands of years, even being sold legally as medicine in the western world until around 1930. Up until then you could go in a pharmacy and buy a bottle of cannabis oil. You could grow and use it.

    In the 1920s and 30s, a single propoganda film named “Devil’s Weed” was produced by a small group of church-women in conservative America. This film literally stated in its promotional that cannabis drives people to wide-eyed psychosis and lust for murder and crime.” Which is obviously the imagination of an unstable religious fanatic, and not of anyone with common sense, scientific knowledge, or personal experience.

    This single film caused a domino effect of paranoia, and soon cannabis became illegal and portrayed as work of the devil. For decades it was supressed, even though George Washington himself grew hemp, and instructed every citizen to grow hemp for the good of America.

    In the 1970s, scientific studies proved that cannabis thc kills cancer. This was the MIRACLE CURE that mankind had been waiting for. Abominably, this discovery was surpressed for another 30 years by the greedy pharmaceutical companies who made billions upon billions off of chemical medicines. Pharmaceutical companies have legally made and sold heroin, opium, cocaine, morphine, and so forth for over a hundred years alongside cannabis. But when cannabis was found to have so many medicinal properties, including killing cancer, it was made illegal.

    This created the black market for cannabis drug trade and drug cartels. The price soared and crime followed. All while, secretly, cannabis was known to kill cancer and cure and treat endless other diseases.

    In the 1990s/2000s more countries did studies which again proved this discovery, and eventually the efforts of the pharmaceutical industry were in vain. Enough citizens knew the awesome truth – the CURE was here all the time! Since the dawn of man, our cure was right in front of us.

    Countless MILLIONS of people, elderly, men, women, and children, have suffered and died from cancer and other diseases that cancer cures, since the illegalization of cannabis.

    Cancer rates have escalated ever since then, and are at a staggering rate now. Everyone knows a cancer victim. All of these deaths and suffering could have been avoided or at least treated by cannabis. Had it been legal.

    Now, cannabis is becoming legal around the world. Where it becomes legal, crime and drug-dealing goes down profoundly. Cartels become weakened. Drug use decreases. Addictions decrease.

    Cannabis is not the product of the “devil”. It is a blessing.
    It is 100% natural, evolved alongside mankind, and is the only thing known to actually kill cancer.

    Who in their right mind, knowing this, could support it being illegal?

    It is a human right to grow and use it. Regulate it like coffee or tobacco or alcohol.

    Alcohol kills so many people, and cannabis cannot kill, it is impossible to. Studies repeatedly prove that cannabis actually enhances your safe driving, and that it does not make you stupid like propoganda has suggested in ignorance.

    I almost died from alcohol. I gave it up one time after. Cannabis would have never done that to me. But I can go kill myself with a bottle of rum in one night.

    How many swerving cars have you driven behind? Didn’t Dr. Santucci testify to Bermuda that he was fed up with 99% of all accidents being alcohol related?

    How many people die from tobacco-induced diseases every year in our island?

    But these are legal!

    Cannabis makes you creative, artistic, peaceful, and only slightly relaxes you. Having a few beers has a stronger effect on you, and yet cannabis does not impair brain function.

    Cannabis is the only plant on earth to have a flavor-smell profile of HUNDREDS of scent-tastes. It has the same chemicals for smell-taste as most things we enjoy – blueberry, grape, lemon, pine, sandalwood, cheese, and etc. Does that not tell you this plant is incredible?

    Did you know that cannabis seed contains all 9 vital amino acids the body requires to live? That means in a world food crisis, cannabis would be our saviour. It produces abundant seeds, and can have numerous harvests per year. Why isn’t cannabis or even hemp seed being produced to feed the world’s starving?

    I must leave for now……

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      And you think your whole post is “factual”.

      • Sara says:

        Can you point out his inaccuracies? It is all the same information I have learned over the last 15 years. Everything is correct. Can you please point out what you know is incorrect?

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          I’d like to see the proof that it cures cancer.

          • sage says:

            Would you really? You seem more determined to prove it doesn’t, good luck with that, in the words of multiple scientists, researchers and professors, cannabinoids are apoptotic, meaning they cause cancer cells to commit suicide, although you put all emphasis on cure, ganja’s active ingredients, which usually work best in natural balanced form, attack and kill most if not all major cancers as an antiproliferative, an antimetastatic, and through antiangiogenesis. All this without harming any other cells, unlike chemo and radiation. Herb may not cure or save everyone but it has worked for many and you can’t extinguish our hope. HELP KILL CANCER.

          • more than enough says:

            for what? you already have the facts about tobacco causing cancer and i don’t hear u suggesting that this dangerous substance or its dangerous concoction of other ‘additives’ available in the modern cigarette be restricted or regulated in any way..why not take up a good cause and fight to get this foul disgusting product banned from our island paradise?

      • sage says:

        You wouldn’t know a fact if it walked up and slapped you in the face.

  20. Common Sense says:

    So Michael Dunkley is now being blamed for the fact that marijuana use has been criminalized for decades, since before he was born!

    Here is a politician who has publicly stated that he is prepared to begin a meaningful discussion on the decriminalisation of marijuana in Bermuda, How many Government Ministers in the past have made such a statement?

    Furthermore, he has pointed out that there is a procedure in place for a medical practitioner to apply for permission to prescribe a controlled drug for medicinal purposes. No other politician has ever pointed that out so now someone blames Dunkley for somehow keeping it a secret even though it’s been on the law books all this time!

    Surely the next step to be taken in pursuing this matter is for one or more medical practitioners to seek permission to obtain marijuana for medicinal purposes for a patient or patients who in their professional view needs it. Only then, if the Government refuses to consider such a request or assist in finding a way to import it safely and legally, can we then complain that Dunkley or the Government are not moving with the times.

    Thanks to Alan Gordon for raising the issue. What we now need is to move forward in this matter.

  21. AD says:

    I thought the point of the petition was to resolve the delay set forth and get it rolling now (to change the law)….why wait and have people die or suffer in pain…work on this issue now, not in 6 months time (or whatever the time frame is)…

    • Hershey got more signatures. That should tell you something.

      • Sara says:

        Are you a pharmaceutical rep? What do you have against sick people having their medicine? What do you have against a person that wants to smoke a joint in the evening while others are enjoying a glass of wine? I don’t understand you and what you are trying to accomplish here besides being rude and making assumptions about people you don’t know… If you don’t care about medical marijuana then why are you here?

  22. Hey Common Sense:

    You suggested sitting back and waiting for a doctor to apply.

    Where will the patient get the cannabis prescribed?

    Do you think a single medical professional on this island is going to grow it? And since we know it’s coming why make the patient wait 2-3 months for the prescribed cannabis to mature?

    Do you know any doctor, or any drug, in which the drug is prescribed, and THEN made, by the doctor? Read my reply to the Minister — printed in this story — to see how the law, as it stands now, leaves plenty of room for patients and other who need cannabis to grow their own, or even to have caregivers grow it for them. The Minister has the discretion to do that, right away.

    I give all due praise to the Minister for cracking the door open. But the praise is not the end goal, nor should be, even for politicians. The end goal for all must be the immediate saving of lives in jeopardy from cancer.

    No other argument is worth having.

  23. WARMONGER says:

    people are dying from alcohol and tobacco and cancer. weed grows better here than alcohol or tobacco or pills. why are we now so relutant too stop the war against cannabis? legalizing cannabis cultivation here is a no brainer for bermuda. people will still smoke cigatees and drink liquor and eat pills. letting people grow weed here would be the greatest gift the govt could give the bermudian people. remove cannabis from the misuse of drugs act. without prompt cultivation legalizing here there is no boom coming. colorado has legalized recreational use and the tourists gonna go there no matter how mighty a tourist authority we got. i know its gonna be hard on some people to let it go, but we need to lighten up around here. how many more dead until the legal crops?

  24. more than enough says:

    it will take an incredibly large pair of kahunas to do the right thing here…which is to legalize it, immediately…does the minister have what it takes? stop beating around the bush

  25. more than enough says:

    as the laws concerning marijuana were drafted shortly after such a classic and informative documentary as ‘reefer madness’(based on complete and utter made up nonsense)and also in the midst of a slew of anti-weed propoganda campaigns…i put it to you that these said laws are in urgent need of review, reform and amendment to align with the much more increasingly favorable world view in 2014

  26. Legalize it! It is safer than alcohol or pharmaceuticals!!