A new Nevada bill introduced on Tuesday could allow pets to use pot. The proposal is part of a larger bill that would overhaul the state’s medical marijuana law, remove penalties for drivers who test positive for the drug, and require more stringent training for marijuana vendors.
Senator Tick Segerblom, D-Nev., is sponsoring a bill that would allow animal owners to acquire marijuana with the certification of a veterinarian if the animal’s pain could be alleviated by the drug, the Associated Press reported. Segerblom admitted that the drugs may have adverse effects on the animals, but said, “You don't know until you try."
The state has already decriminalized possession of the weed for people 21 and older, and has legalized it for medical use, but possession is still a misdemeanor, and selling it is considered a felony. As of February, four states -- Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska – have legalized recreational marijuana. Nevada would be the first state that legalizes medical marijuana for pets.
Senator Mark Manendo, D-Nev., told AP that he has not heard of the practice and does not consider it safe. "That gives me pause," he said, adding: "Alcohol is bad, chocolate is bad for dogs."
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists marijuana as a toxin that could cause symptoms including seizures and death. The ASPCA and Pet Poison Hotline have also reported a growing number of cases of pet intoxication by marijuana, according to Buzzfeed.
But California veterinarian Doug Kramer told Mother Jones that there is cause to classify pets as medical marijuana patients. "I do think there are therapeutic benefits to it," Kramer said.
Kramer, who claimed his dog, Nikita, benefited from marijuana in her fight against cancer, said that several studies on the effects of marijuana on humans have relied on rats and dogs as substitutes, adding that, “Mammals have the same cannabinoid receptors as humans do" and "would benefit in the same ways."