Proposed 2019 Legislation: An Act: Veterinary Medical Cannabis Access [Version #2]



AN ACT to Amend the Lynn & Erin Compassionate Use Act, in relation to access to medical cannabis for animals;
 adding a new section to the Veterinary Practice Act


Be It Enacted By The State Legislature of New Mexico:

I. Section 3. DEFINITIONS.-- Subsections “E”, “F”, and “G”; As used in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act:, are amended to read as follows:

E. "practitioner" means a person licensed in New Mexico to prescribe and administer drugs or that is a veterinarian licensed in New Mexico that are subject to the Controlled Substances Act;
F. "primary caregiver" means a resident of New Mexico who is at least eighteen years of age and who has been designated by the patient's practitioner or by the animal’s veterinarian as being necessary to take responsibility for managing the well-being of a qualified patient with respect to the medical use of cannabis pursuant to the provisions of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act;
G. "qualified patient" means a resident person or animal who is a resident of New Mexico who has been diagnosed by a practitioner as having a debilitating medical condition and has received written certification and a registry identification card issued pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act; and

II. Section 1. Section 61-14-13 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1967, Chapter 62, Section 13, as amended) a new section to be added to read:
"61-14-13. DENIAL, SUSPENSION, OR REVOCATION OF A LICENSE --As used in the Veterinary Practice Act:
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] A new section of the Veterinary Practice Act
is enacted to read:
(A) A licensee shall not dispense or administer cannabis or cannabis products to an animal patient.
(A) Notwithstanding any other law and absent negligence or incompetence, a veterinarian licensed under this chapter shall not be disciplined by the board or have his or her license denied, revoked, or suspended solely for discussing the use of cannabis on an animal for medicinal purposes.


Background and Facts for Proposed Act: Veterinary Medical Cannabis

States Already Doing This:
Colorado: Colorado Veterinary Medical Association has been vocal about its stance on the issue as well. In an official 2016 position statement, the board declared that “veterinarians have an obligation to provide companion animal owners with complete education in regard to the potential risks and benefits of marijuana products in animals.” http://www.veterinarycannabis.org/uploads/4/3/5/9/43599201/cvma_position_statement_2017-01.pdf

California: (Passed 2018 / Effect 2019) The bill requires the state veterinary board to develop guidelines by January 1, 2020 for practitioners to follow when discussing cannabis with clients. The law does not permit veterinarians to give cannabis or cannabis products to patients or their owners. Passed Bill Link: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2215

Minnesota: Dr. Ilo E. Leppik is an epilepsy specialist at UMP Epilepsy Care Minneapolis and Professor of Pharmacy and Neurology at the University of Minnesota.
Article: ‘Minnesota doctor pushing the notion of cannabis for canines’
http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-doctor-pushing-the-notion-of-cannabis-for-canines/400398721/

Connecticut: Lawmakers are looking at a bill that would protect veterinarians from punishment if they discuss using cannabis therapeutically for pets.
https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/TOB/h/pdf/2019HB-06518-R00-HB.PDF

Nevada: 2018 Bill - AB 422 (2019 to be Re-Introduced); Same as NY Legislation
https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pet-pot-20150317-story.html

New York: 2019 Assemblywoman Amy Paulin; Bill A00970- ‘Provides access to medical marihuana for animals.’ https://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld=&leg_video=&bn=A00970&term=0&Summary=Y&Text=Y



Federal Policy
Case law: Conant v. Walters (2002): The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“A physician may discuss the pros and cons of medical marijuana with his or her patient, and issue a written or oral recommendation to use marijuana within a bona fide doctor-patient relationship without fear of legal reprisal.” (https://www.safeaccessnow.org/landmark_federal_conant_v_walters)


Every year, the federal budget in the US Congress (“omnibus” appropriations bill) includes a rider that continues to bar the DOJ from enforcing the federal marijuana ban in some circumstances pertaining to states who enact their own medical cannabis laws. This rider is also known as the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment.
Here is the full text of the rider:
“SEC. 538. None of the funds made available under 4 this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

In United States v. McIntosh, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted the quoted language to bar the DOJ from prosecuting individuals who manufacture, distribute, or possess marijuana in strict compliance with state medical cannabis laws.




If you would like to see this change happen please consider emailing, calling, Rep. Pratt and Senator Ortiz y Pino and your New Mexico Representatives so Veterinary Doctors can speak to patient owners about safe use of cannabis or not using it:
Find and Email Your New Mexico Legislators Here: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Members/Find_My_Legislator


Currently in the United States, 33 states now have medical cannabis legalization. Ten states and the District of Columbia have gone even further in regulated legalization for recreational use for all adults 21 and older into law. What does this mean: One in five Americans now live in a state where cannabis is legal for adults 21 and older. One in five. The ASPCA reports a pet ownership rate in the US of thirty-seven percent and a look around in the cannabis community shows how many are animal lovers. But no state allows veterinary doctors to prescribe or recommend cannabis use for animals, meanwhile, federal law still views cannabis as a drug with no medicinal value and outlaws it under any condition. However, providers in states where medical cannabis laws are passed can recommend it to qualifying patients without fear of prosecution.


Cannabis and hemp based medicines work so efficiently because of the endocannabinoid system, present in all humans and many animals as well. This system consists of a series of receptors throughout the body that are configured only to accept cannabinoids, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).


In recent years there has been a lot research on the benefits of cannabis for people in treatment of illnesses with conditions such as muscle spasms, seizures, chronic pain, nausea from cancer and poor appetite to name a few. PETA has agreed on the use of medical cannabis for pets. On their website, the animal advocacy group says: "Human caregivers have the right to speak for their animal companions and to explore alternative treatments to ease pain and suffering." For canines, an estimated 1 to 5% of all dogs can suffer from either symptomatic or idiopathic seizures. Symptomatic seizures are typically caused by abnormalities that exist inside or outside of the brain (e.g., encephalitis, head trauma, metabolic health problems, lead poisoning).

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