A California bill to allow veterinarians to recommend cannabis as a medicine for pets is likely tabled until next session, VIN News Service reports. The measure would have made the state the first in the nation to allow medical cannabis for pets.
Last year, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to allow veterinarians to discuss cannabis therapies without risk of losing their license or other putative actions, but that bill stopped short of allowing recommendations.
Sen. Cathleen Galgiani’s legislative director Mike Sharif said the bill would have taken last year’s legislative success “a step further.”
“We wanted to free up veterinarians, because it’s very hard to discuss without recommending, and we felt like veterinarians would err on the side of caution and not even discuss it because they don’t want to be seen as recommending.” – Mike Sharif, to VIN
Sharif notes that the measure has already “been amended a bunch of times” by the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions but the crux remains intact. One of the proposed changes would have required pet-focused cannabis products to be obtained at only medical cannabis dispensaries; however, that language was removed.
Oakland veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter called that change “bad policy.”
“We’re already cut out of the loop,” he said. “We’re trying to get into the loop. This would basically keep us out of the loop.”
Dr. Richard Sullivan, a member of the state veterinary board’s Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee, said he supports allowing veterinarians to recommend cannabis for pets so they could develop trust with clients to better follow up on their patients, measure improvements like range of motion “and other metrics” to see whether cannabis is efficacious.
The measure originally passed the Senate in May but California’s session ends Sept. 13 and proponents do not expect it will come to the floor for a vote before session closes. Lawmakers reconvene Jan. 6.
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