Pets could be given medical marijuana under new law proposed in US state

The 'pot for pets' law would require a vet's approval in cases of chronic illness

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The Independent US

Pets could soon be given marijuana in a US state looking to expand its existing laws legalising the drug for medical use.

A bill was introduced on Tuesday in the Nevada Legislature would allow animal owners to obtain cannabis if a vet confirms it “may mitigate the symptoms or effects” of a chronic or debilitating illness.

Senator Tick Segerblom, a Democrat sponsoring the bill after being approached by a constituent, said he is concerned that some species may have an adverse reaction but “you don’t know if you try”.

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Las Vegas is Nevada's largest city

Mark Manendo, another Nevada senator and animal rights campaigner, said he had never heard of pets being prescribed marijuana and was worried about its safety.

Some people who have given cannabis to sick and dying pets claim it relieved their symptoms, although the drug has not been proven as a painkiller for animals.

Doug Kramer, a vet from Los Angeles told the Associated Press in 2013 that it helped ease his Siberian husky's pain during her final weeks, following surgery to remove several tumours.

A vet claimed cannabis extended his husky's life

Nikita gained weight and lived an extra six weeks before she was put down, he claimed.

“I grew tired of euthanising pets when I wasn't doing everything I could to make their lives better,” Mr Kramer said. “I felt like I was letting them down.”

The proposal is in its earliest stages and faces several hurdles before it could become law.

The “pot for pets” provision is part of a larger bill that would overhaul Nevada’s medical marijuana law, removing penalties for drivers who have in their bloodstream and requiring training for cannabis shop owners.

It comes after a growing number of US states relaxed laws around the drug.

Nevada is one of 23 states where medical marijuana is legal and voters have approved it for recreational use in four states and Washington D.C.

Some 46 per cent of Americans now support the full legalisation of cannabis, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling, after a huge shift in public opinion in recent years.

Additional reporting by agencies