Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a study to look at the pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana in New York. Cuomo’s proposal was part of his state budget address on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018.
Jon Campbell / Albany Bureau
ALBANY, N.Y. — Will New Yorkers soon be able to provide pot for their Yorkies?
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, Westchester County, introduced legislation Thursday that would change state law to allow veterinarians to prescribe medical marijuana to animals.
“Medical marijuana has helped countless people in the management and treatment of chronic and debilitating illnesses,” Paulin’s bill states.
“Research suggests that animals can also benefit from cannabis use to similarly treat their ailments.”
Nevada and California are also considering legislation to legalize medical marijuana for animals, saying it could help pets with chronic illnesses.
“Animal owners and caregivers would therefore be given an alternative option to alleviate their pets’ pain,” Paulin’s bill said.
“This could be helpful to many animals in need of relief, especially those that have chronic illnesses and for whom more traditional medical treatment has not proven to be effective.”
The bill may face an uphill battle with in the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The measure has yet to gain a Senate sponsor, and Cuomo has moved cautiously with expanding the state’s medical marijuana program.
New York first started to allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in non-smokeable forms in January 2016, but the program has struggled.
As a result, the state has expanded the types of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana, let nurse practitioners prescribe it and wants to double the number of dispensaries to 40.
The program has 1,500 registered practitioners and about 47,600 patients. according to the state Health Department.
Cuomo indicated in January that New York will also study whether to legalize recreational marijuana.
“This is an important topic, it is a hotly debated topic — pardon the pun — and it would be nice to have some facts in the middle of the debate once in a while,” Cuomo said in his budget address.
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As more states legalize marijuana, pet owners are giving their dogs and cats cannabis to treat everything from anxiety to arthritis. But veterinarians say there isn’t enough scientific data to show it’s safe and effective for animals.
People anxious to relieve suffering in their pets are increasingly turning to oils and powders that contain CBDs, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. One university in Colorado is testing CBD on dogs with arthritis and epilepsy. (Dec. 7)
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