By Morgan Lee, Associated Press
(AP) — New Mexico will consider whether to extend its medical cannabis program to help dogs with epilepsy and people with attention deficit disorder.
Five new petitions submitted to the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board seek new qualifying medical conditions for patients in the state’s medical marijuana program. The board meets in December.
The Department of Health withheld the names of petition sponsors on Wednesday in response to a request for public records.
One petition cites recent studies in veterinary medicine to recommend the authorization of cannabis for animals coping with seizures. The petition uses a YouTube video of an epileptic dog named Tecumseh to illustrate the suffering associated with the condition.
Cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp or marijuana already is widely marketed for pets.
New York and California have recently considered allowing veterinarians to recommend medical cannabis for pets, said Carly Wolf, a policy coordinator with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. No state appears to explicitly allow that yet.
The petitioner in New Mexico says that authorizing cannabis for animals would minimize the danger of animal abuse by regulating the use of medical marijuana with pets and provide new treatment tools to veterinarians.
Another petition would allow marijuana for attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome, anxiety disorder and Tourette’s syndrome.
New Mexico’s medical cannabis program, initiated in 2007, has served nearly 80,000 patients who cope with conditions from cancer to HIV.
A large majority are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or severe chronic pain.
A coalition of state legislators is developing a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana after a bill this year stalled in the state Senate.
A working group appointed by the governor is seeking to ensure affordable access to medical marijuana if recreational marijuana is approved. That could mean tax-free medical cannabis in the future and possibly subsidized sales for impoverished patients.
Several states have seen an exodus of patients from medical marijuana programs and issues of affordability with the authorization of recreational marijuana.