Your Pup on Pot? Maybe Soon in Nevada

Senator intros bill to allow owners to get medical marijuana for sick pets
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2015 11:20 AM CDT
Your Pup on Pot? Maybe Soon in Nevada
In this May 30, 2013, file photo, Companion Cannabis, by Holistic Therapeutics, a marijuana medicinal tincture for dogs and cats, is displayed at a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles.   (Damian Dovarganes)

Pets might soon be able to use pot under a bill introduced yesterday in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom is sponsoring the measure that would allow animal owners to get marijuana for their pet if a veterinarian certifies the animal has an illness that might be alleviated by the drug. The proposal is in its earliest stages and faces several legislative hurdles before it could become law. The pot-for-pets provision of SB372 is part of a larger bill that would overhaul the state's medical marijuana law, removing penalties for drivers who have marijuana in their blood and requiring training for pot-shop owners. Segerblom says he added the provision after being approached by a constituent and that he's concerned some animals might have adverse reactions, but "you don't know until you try."

Some veterinarians who've given cannabis to sick and dying pets say it has relieved their symptoms, although the substance hasn't been proven as a painkiller for animals. Shortly before he died in 2013, LA veterinarian Doug Kramer told the AP that pot helped Nikita, his Siberian husky, gain weight after surgery to remove tumors and relieve her pain during the six weeks before she was eventually euthanized. "I grew tired of euthanizing pets when I wasn't doing everything I could to make their lives better," Kramer told the AP. "I felt like I was letting them down." One skeptic: Sen. Mark Manendo, a fellow animal-rights advocate, who says he's concerned about the safety of this practice. "That gives me pause," he says. "Alcohol is bad, chocolate is bad for dogs." His own dog died in his arms at age 15, and the experience was difficult and emotional, he notes. But "I don't know if I would've given him marijuana," Manendo says. (More Nevada stories.)

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