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US pets may soon get to use medical marijuana

24 March 2015, 12:22

Carson City - Pets might soon be able to use marijuana under a bill introduced on Tuesday in the Nevada Legislature.

Senator 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.

Segerblom said he is concerned that some animals might have adverse reactions, but "you don't know until you try", he said.

Some veterinarians who have given cannabis to sick and dying pets say it's relieved their symptoms, although the substance hasn't been proven as a painkiller for animals.

Los Angeles veterinarian Doug Kramer told The Associated Press in 2013 that pot helped ease his Siberian husky's pain during her final weeks, after she had surgery to remove tumours. Kramer said cannabis helped his dog, Nikita, gain weight and live an extra six weeks before she was 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."

The proposal is in its earliest stages and faces several legislative hurdles before it could become law. The pot for pets’ provision 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 said he added the provision after being approached by a constituent. Senator Mark Manendo, animal rights advocate, said he hadn't heard of the practice of giving marijuana to animals and is concerned about its safety.

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- AP

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