Pot and Your Pet: Take it or Leaf It?

October 10, 2019

Cannabis and Your Pet?

CBD is all the rage for pets.  Go to a trade show: CBD is everywhere.  Join an online pet forum: CBD discussions abound.  But NOT at your California veterinarian. Why? California veterinarians fear reprisal for discussing something that is still prohibited under Federal law.  Well, that might be changing soon.

California Senate Bill 627 (SB 627) introduced by Sen. Galiani would allow “a qualified veterinarian, as defined, to discuss the use of medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis products on an animal patient” and would allow a pet parent over 21 years of age to purchase cannabis or cannabis products for their pet.  There are some rules a veterinarian must follow most of which seem like the normal rules you would want a veterinarian to follow before prescribing anything to your pet:

  1. There needs to by a veterinarian-patient relationship;
  2. The veterinarian needs to identify the condition for which cannabis is being prescribed;
  3. The veterinarian needs to examine the pet before prescribing cannabis;
  4. A veterinarian cannot prescribe cannabis while also being employed or having “an agreement” with a person or business selling cannabis

However, a veterinarian cannot advertise that they offer recommendations for medical cannabis.  What this means is unclear. Does it mean that a veterinarian can’t have a neon light in the window saying “Pot for Your Pet” but can have a flyer in the lobby discussing the possible benefits of cannabis?  How about when a pet parent calls a veterinary office with a pet concern? Will a receptionist be allowed to mention cannabis?  

It’s also worth noting that this bill would simply allow a veterinarian to discuss cannabis with a pet parent NOT to sell, distribute or administer cannabis.  This means that a pet parent will not be shown how to administer cannabis to their pet by their veterinarian. Will this result in the potential misuse of cannabis? Is being so prescriptive on what veterinarians can and cannot do when it comes to cannabis in the best interest of our pets?

In today’s world when half the grandmothers in San Francisco are using cannabis, is there a legitimate reason that veterinarians should not be discussing, administering and even marketing cannabis to their clients like they discuss, administer and market everything else they do for our pets?  SB 627 is very much a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done so that veterinarians and pet parents can have open and frank discussions AND pet parents can be shown how to administer cannabis in the way that best benefits their pets.

Thanks for reading.


Pet Camp has been providing loving care to San Francisco’s dogs and cats since 1997.  Family owned and operated and certified green (but not the green discussed in this blog), Pet Camp is San Francisco’s most award winning dog boarding, cat boarding and doggie day care facility.

 

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