SB 627 would allow veterinarians to discuss cannabis and related products with clients without fear of sanctions.
A bill introduced in the California legislature could make it easier for veterinarians to talk to clients about cannabis in practice. Introduced by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, a Democrat from Stockton, SB 627 proposes to allow â€śa qualified veterinarian, as defined, to discuss the use of medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis products on an animal patientâ€ť without fear of reprisal.
The definition of a â€śqualifiedâ€ť veterinarian, according to the bill, is â€śone who has completed a medicinal CE program approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boardsâ€™ Registry of Approved Continuing Education.â€ť
The California Veterinary Medical Association has voiced opposition to the â€śqualifiedâ€ť designation, stating, â€śThe Veterinary Medicine Practice Act does not create a qualifying professional designation like this for any other drug that is prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. Consequently, we feel this designation for one product is inappropriate.â€ť
In response, the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions proposed in its July 2 hearing to change all references to a â€śqualifiedâ€ť veterinarian to instead say a â€śCalifornia-licensedâ€ť veterinarian. â€śAll veterinarians, by virtue of their license, have the education and skills needed to recommend drugs, including cannabis,â€ť the committee asserted. â€śWhether a veterinarian chooses to recommend cannabis to their client would be subject to their own professional judgement.â€ť
To allow veterinarians more freedom to discuss medical cannabis and related products with clients, the bill would DVMs â€śfrom being punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis products for an animal patient for medical purposes.â€ť
However, veterinarians would potentially be subject to discipline if they did not follow the given restrictions:
San Francisco-based marijuana grower Lovingly and Legally is a sponsor of the bill, as are the American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, which issued this statement: â€śThousands of people are currently using cannabis for their pets with questionable advice from the internet or potentially unreliable advice from budtenders. Pet owners deserve the most reliable information possible regarding their petâ€™s health and well-being. That information and advice is expected to come from trusted veterinarians.â€ť
VetCBD, which sells veterinary-formulated CBD products, requested during the committee hearing that an amendment be added to the bill to clarify â€śthat all adults age 21 and over would be able to purchase medicinal cannabis products for their animals, even if they had not received a veterinarianâ€™s recommendation.â€ť
The Assembly Committee on Business and Professions listed a major concern being the lack of research regarding cannabis and animals. They noted that the Center of Medicinal Cannabis Research in California has done no studies on the efficacy of cannabis in animals. As a result, the committee suggested adding a research requirementâ€”and providing funding for that researchâ€”in the bill itself.
The committee voted to pass the bill on July 9 and re-referred it to the Appropriations Committee.