Pets May Get Medical Marijuana Rights in Nevada

If passed, a new bill introduced on March 17 to the Nevada Legislature will allow veterinarians to prescribe their furry patients with medical marijuana.

Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom, who’s sponsoring the measure that would allow pet owners to get medical marijuana for their pets if a vet certifies that the animals has an illness capable of being alleviated by the medicine, told the AP that although he’s concerned some animals may have adverse reactions, “You don’t know until you try.”

Still in its early stages, SB372 also faces several legislative hurdles before it can become law. In addition to its pot-for-pets provision, the bill would revamp Nevada’s marijuana laws. As it is now, SB372 would also require dispensary owners to have training, and would remove penalties for drivers who have marijuana in their blood.

The biggest challenge SB372 faces, though, isn’t the legislative process, but the fact that there’s a lack of empirical evidence supporting the idea that medical marijuana can help pets.

“Although there may be a place for medical marijuana in the treatment of animals, significant further research needs to be done first,” said Dr. Karen Kennedy, DVM from Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital. “I believe most practitioners have seen the toxic effects of marijuana ingestion in pets, and would be hesitant to prescribe it without the studies to show the benefits of it, and the proper dosing.”

Though the substance has yet to be a proven, effective painkiller for animals, pet owners in California are already using medical marijuana to help their pets. The hemp-based capsules contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol — or THC — the psychoactive ingredient that provides the cannabis high.

“It has truly been a miracle and I don’t say that lightly,” Conway told CNBC. “I feel like I have a whole new dog. [My dog] Georgia’s happy and relaxed. She’s not in pain. It’s amazing.”

Others, though, are less certain of the efficacy of giving pets medical marijuana.

“That gives me pause, said Sen. Mark Manendo, a Democrat and animal rights activist. “Alcohol is bad, chocolate is bad for dogs.”

Pet owners in California, though, insist it works.

“If Miles was on the tramadol, he’d be in bed, and he wouldn’t be enjoying anything or eating anything, and he’d probably be dead,” a pet owner, who wished her name to be redacted, told the American Veterinary Medical Association. “I’m just really grateful we found this.”

A Dog Was the Mayor of San Francisco For a Day

cat and dog sleeping together
One dog certainly had its day when it got to take a crack at municipal politics earlier this month.

“We applaud Mayor Frida’s ability to rise above her humble start as a single mom in an animal shelter to Mayor for the Day,” said San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control Department acting director Miriam Saez.

Frida, a rescued chihuahua mix, spent November 18 as the mayor of San Francisco. Her owner, Dean Clark, made a $5,000 bid for her one-day power trip at a fundraiser for the city’s Animal Care and Control Department.

Wearing a tasteful string of pearls and a lovely sequined fedora, Frida spent her special day touring City Hall and other San Francisco landmarks before heading to a Board of Supervisors meeting in the early afternoon. There, Mayor Ed Lee paid his respects to her in his opening address, and Supervisor Scott Wiener offered her a commendation for her service as dog/mayor. Mayor Frida then ended her day in office with a press conference, where she was given a retirement gift package consisting of new toys, a doggy bed, and a gift basket.

Apart from raising money for San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control Department, Frida’s political stint was also a great way to let others know about the work the department does, and how rescued animals can make great pets. According to Saez, they care for around 10,000 animals per year, and have a live release rate of over 85%.

“She has been absolutely the best dog I’ve ever had,” said Clark, who heads another rescue organization called For the Love of Dog USA, at the concluding press conference. “There’s something very special about her and I think you can see it. She’s really laid back. She’s a very, very smart dog.”

Unfortunately, things aren’t going quite as well in other shelters across the nation. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, about 7.6 million animal companions enter shelters nationwide every year. For every pet that gets adopted, another is euthanized, unfortunately.

“People need to be aware that there are so many healthy animals that get euthanized as a result of low adoption rates from shelters. People will often turn their pets in because they are moving, or their lifestyle has changed, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good pets. People should look into getting their next pet at a shelter if they are interested in saving a life,” says Karen Kennedy, Owner of Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital.

Luckily, Frida’s day as mayor hopefully brought some attention to other animals like her. Though some may have wondered if the little dog would try to pass emergency legislature that’d give dogs a new bone every Friday, let them use the bathroom anywhere, and make daily walks mandatory, Frida apparently made no such moves in her short political career, and instead simply raised awareness for other animals.