A Cannabis Cure-All for Your Pet? Proceed With Caution

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Watching a loved one suffer is stressful. Medical cannabis users say the drug alleviates levels of pain, but could it also help your sick furry friend?

Although many pet owners are already using the drug as medicine, experts warn it’s wise to take caution.

“The problem today is that there is no scientific data that supports the benefits of using cannabis products on pets and therefore, the medical claims are not evidenced based,” said Annemarie Del Mugnaio, Executive Officer with the Veterinary Medical Board.  “Veterinarians are treating a higher number of toxicity cases where dogs have come into contact with cannabis and ingested enough to cause them to become very ill.  We really have no idea what’s in the hemp/cannabis pet products to be able to confirm their intended use or benefits and these products are not FDA approved or regulated.”

According to the DCA Veterinary Medical Board, veterinarians in California cannot prescribe medical cannabis because it’s deemed a schedule I drug and licensees are prohibited from writing a prescription or recommendation for the drug. A veterinarian may be subject to disciplinary action for violating state or federal prescribing laws.

Meanwhile, a growing number of companies are marketing cannabis products for pets despite questions over legality, and pet owners are giving cannabis edibles and topical ointments to sick pets.

Most of these pet products, which aren’t regulated, contain cannabidiol or CBD, a chemical compound found in cannabis that doesn’t get pets or humans high. They contain little or no tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the cannabis compound known for its psychoactive effects.

Medicinal cannabis for pets is being sold as pet medicine at many licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

The DCA is tasked to regulate both medical and recreational cannabis through the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) and is responsible for issuing distribution, transportation, laboratory testing, and dispensary (sale) licenses beginning in 2018.

Medical cannabis is legal in 28 states, however, it remains illegal under federal law.

For updates on prescription medical cannabis for animals, or to check the license and license status of a Veterinarian, please call the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Veterinary Medical Board at (916) 515-5220, or visit their website at vmb.ca.gov.

For more information about the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, visit their website at bmcr.ca.gov.

 

State Cannabis Regulators Announce Application Deadline for Advisory Committee

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) has just announced the deadline of March 17, 2017, for submitting Cannabis Advisory Committee applications.

This committee will advise the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and the other two licensing authorities—the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing and the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Manufactured Cannabis Safety—on the development of cannabis regulations that protect public health and safety, while ensuring a regulated market that helps reduce the illicit market for cannabis.

Committee members will be selected by and will serve at the pleasure of the director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The committee will consist of representatives from diverse backgrounds, including the cannabis industry, labor, state and local agencies, public health experts, representatives from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control who have expertise in regulating intoxicating substances for adult use, individuals with expertise in the medicinal properties of cannabis, and representatives from communities who have been disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policy, among others.

Those interested in serving on the committee can access the online application here: bmcr.ca.gov/about_us/documents/commitee_application.pdf

For additional information about BMCR or to subscribe to their email alerts, visit the BMCR website: bmcr.ca.gov/

Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation Chief Lori Ajax Serves on Emerald Cup Government Agencies Panel

The Government Agencies panel fields questions from attendees of the 13th Annual Emeral d Cup

The Government Agencies panel fields questions from audience members at the 13th Annual Emerald Cup

Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation Chief Lori Ajax participated in the Government Agencies panel at the 13th Annual Emerald Cup, held recently at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The Emerald Cup bills itself as California’s premier outdoor organic medicinal cannabis competition for growing and breeding. The two-day event boasts thousands of attendees who hear industry leaders in panel discussions and interact with innovative vendors.

With a booming industry and changing regulation, the panel provided a clearer picture of the current regulatory climate, not only for the end consumer but also the cultivators and workers within the industry.

Chief Ajax was able to share her perspectives having spent most of her career regulating the alcohol industry. She began her tenure with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as an investigator in the field and worked her way up through the ranks to Chief Deputy Director, gaining valuable experience to apply to another heavily regulated product, cannabis.

Other panel members included Assemblyman Jim Wood, who authored the Marijuana Watershed Protection Act which serves as the environmental cornerstone in California’s Medical Marijuana Regulations and Safety Act; Fiona Ma, a certified public tax accountant and Chairwoman of the California Board of Equalization; California Department of Pesticide Regulation Director Brian Leahy, a pioneer in organic and biodiversity farming; and Nathaniel Arnold, Assistant Chief of Law Enforcement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Participating in industry events like this helps us answer questions from the public and inform them about the bureau’s regulations development activities and gives bureau staff the opportunity to hear the industry perspectives,” said Chief Ajax.

To learn more about the regulations process and how to get involved, visit http://bmcr.ca.gov/meetings/materials/fact_sheet_regulations_process.pdf.