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”.
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.
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.
Where cannabis is and isn't legal
Where cannabis is and isn't legal
Having been reclassified in 2009 from a Class C to a Class B drug, cannabis is now the most used illegal drug within the United Kingdom. The UK is also, however, the only country where Sativex – a prescribed drug that helps to combat muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis and contains some ingredients that are also found in cannabis - is licensed as a treatment
2/12 North Korea
Although many people believe the consumption of cannabis in North Korea to be legal, the official law regarding the drug has never been made entirely clear whilst under Kim Jong Un’s regime. However, it is said that the North Korean leader himself has openly said that he does not consider cannabis to be a drug and his regime doesn’t take any issue with the consumption or sale of the drug
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In the Netherlands smoking cannabis is legal, given that it is smoked within the designated ‘smoking areas’ and you don’t possess more than 5 grams for personal use. It is also legal to sell the substance, but only in specified coffee shops
Although in some states of America cannabis has now been legalised, prior to the legalisation, police in the U.S. could make a marijuana-related arrest every 42 seconds, according to US News and World Report. The country also used to spend around $3.6 billion a year enforcing marijuana law, the American Civil Liberties Union notes
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Despite cannabis being officially illegal in Spain, the European hotspot has recently started to be branded, ‘the new Amsterdam’. This is because across Spain there are over 700 ‘Cannabis Clubs’ – these are considered legal venues to consume cannabis in because the consumption of the drug is in private, and not in public. These figures have risen dramatically in the last three years – in 2010 there were just 40 Cannabis Clubs in the whole of Spain. Recent figures also show that in Catalonia alone there are 165,000 registered members of cannabis clubs – this amounts to over 5 million euros (£4 million) in revenue each month
In December 2013, the House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill legalizing and regulating the production and sale of the drug. But the president has since postponed the legalization of cannabis until to 2015 and when it is made legal, it will be the authorities who will grow the cannabis that can be sold legally. Buyers must be 18 or older, residents of Uruguay, and must register with the authorities
Despite the fact that laws prohibiting the sale and misuse of cannabis exist and is considered a habit only entertained by lower-income groups, it is very rarely enforced. The occasional use of cannabis in community gatherings is broadly tolerated as a centuries old custom. The open use of cannabis by Sufis and Hindus as a means to induce euphoria has never been challenged by the state. Further, large tracts of cannabis grow unchecked in the wild
In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalize the use of all drugs, and started treating drug users as sick people, instead of criminals. However, you can still be arrested or assigned mandatory rehab if you are caught several times in possession of drugs
9/12 Puerto Rico
Although the use of cannabis is currently illegal, it is said that Puerto Rico are in the process of decriminalising it
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The US state became the first in the country to legalise marijuana in January 2014. In February 2015, President Obama recently said he expects to see more states "looking into" legalisation. However, it is illegally to grow more than six cannabis plants and to possess more than 28 grams of the drug
Oaksterdam in Oakland, California, is the world's only university dedicated to the study and cultivation of cannabis. If you are court in California with anything up to an ounce of cannabis, you will be fine $100, but you will not get a criminal record, nor will you have to appear in court
Cannabis is grown in the wild and has been used to treat conditions such as gout and malaria. But, officially the substance is illegal to consume, possess and sell
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.
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