March 27, 2018

STATE NEWS: New York Bill Proposes Medical Marijuana for Animals

New York joins California and Nevada in proposing legislation that would allow veterinarians to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.
By Amanda Carrozza
Medical Marijuana for PetsTwo years after the launch of its human medical marijuana program, the New York Assembly has been presented with legislation that would authorize licensed veterinarians to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients for the treatment for medical conditions.

A10104, which was officially introduced on March 15 by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, states that research suggests animals can benefit from cannabis in the same ways people have benefitted—like with the management and treatment of chronic and debilitating illnesses.

If passed, the bill would provide animal owners and caregivers with an alternative option to alleviate their pets' pain.

“This could be helpful to many animals in need of relief, especially those that have chronic illnesses and for whom more traditional medical treatment has not proven to be effective,” the bill states.

The bill has not yet received a Senate sponsor.

With this bill, New York joins Nevada and California in the push to legalize medical marijuana for animals. California’s proposed bill would require the California Veterinary Medical Board to establish guidelines for licensed veterinarians to discuss with clients the use of cannabis in their patients—and to protect veterinarians from disciplinary action for doing so.

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Currently, 29 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana for human medicine, but no veterinary laws are in place. As such, veterinarians are not legally allowed to discuss marijuana use with their clients.

Instead, many pet owners have been turning to online marketplaces for cannabis-derived products for their pets. Earlier this year, Medical Marijuana, Inc.—the first public company in the legal cannabis and industrial hemp markets—acquired Phyto Animal Health, which offers a line of products targeted to cats, dogs, and horses, including CBD oil and hemp bedding and litter. 

Diamond CBD, a distributor of CBD extract products for humans, marketed its own CBD line for pets, Medipet, at the 2018 Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida. The company, which offers CBD food and oils for cats and dogs, hopes to capitalize on the nearly $15 million pet owners spent on over-the-counter health and wellness products for animals in 2017.

CBD products differ from medical marijuana because they only contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC—the chemical compound responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects.

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