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Marijuana for sick pets bill dies in Nevada Legislature

A proposal to allow Nevada pet owners to administer marijuana to sick animals with veterinarians’ permission has died after its sponsor said it became “a distraction.”

“For better or worse, it was little too humorous,” said state Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, who introduced the bill in the Legislature.

The bill would have required the state to issue a registry card for a pet — similar to those for people — if a vet certified that the animal had a “chronic or debilitating” medical condition that could be helped by marijuana.

The pet proposal died along with a broader bill also meant to address other issues: allowing businesses to transfer marijuana licenses, making it easier for grow or dispensary operations to move to new locations and eliminating a confidentiality law to make the state’s licensing system more transparent.

Segerblom said he’ll focus on those other issues, trying to tack them on as amendments to a separate bill he sponsored.

Under a deadline in legislative rules, the bill containing the pet provisions officially died Saturday after it failed to get a hearing in the Committee on Health and Human Services.

It would have required state health officials to craft regulations for administering marijuana to animals in food or other edible products — not in smokable form. Recommended dosage would have been calculated based on animals’ species and weight.

After it was introduced, the pets provision drew national coverage from outlets including Bloomberg News, Reuters and the Los Angeles Times. Writers could not resist lines about Fluffy and Fido, and the Times quoted a tweet asking, “How exactly does a dog hold a doobie? Just curious.”

“Rather than let people make fun of it, let’s move on,” Segerblom said.

He noted that if recreational marijuana use becomes legal in Nevada — as it could, following a public vote next year — this will be a nonissue. People will be able to administer marijuana to their pets, vet’s permission or no.

Contact Eric Hartley at ehartley@reviewjournal.com or 702-550-9229. Find him on Twitter: @ethartley.

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