The long-awaited moment has finally arrived. On September 27th, Governor Brown signed AB2215 into law that will go into effect January 1, 2019. Many have been watching closely as numerous veterinarians and cannabis advocates have worked diligently toward this end for over a year. Kudos for all the countless hours petition generating and signing, letter writing, lecturing, attending VMB meetings and above all, PASSION for this worthwhile goal! This is a huge leap forward for the veterinary profession. Thank you to everyone who helped in this monumental, pioneering effort!
You can read the text of the bill here;
So, what happens now?
Practitioners in California will no longer have to fear disciplinary action or even losing their license to practice simply for answering their clients’ questions about cannabis. But do they know how to answer those questions? Now that veterinarians are free to discuss this issue, will they? The California VMB has until January 2020 to develop guidelines regarding this discussion, but what will happen between now and then? Veterinarians are an educated, compassionate group of people, but how much do they know about cannabis? How are they going to learn?
As a cannabis educator and a veterinarian, I’m aware of the disconnect that exists between the traditional, western style of medicine and the less-than-traditional methods commonly employed when using cannabinoid medicine, largely as part of a holistic approach. In addition, there is still the unfortunate negative stigma associated with cannabis in general. The scientifically-minded veterinarian who is used to reading the published research for a recommended dose to calculate (based solely on their patient’s weight) may be a bit disappointed. In this emerging field of medicine, things aren’t so cut and dried. The response to medicinal cannabis is highly individualized. The body of research available is much smaller than that for human medical patients. We are all learning as we go. In this respect, we have a lot to learn from our physician friends…they have had a bit more time to practice and learn the subtleties of medicinal cannabis. They even get to ask their patients how they are feeling! 🙂
The signing of this law is only the first step in the very long road ahead. As a profession, the real work has just begun. I am looking forward to helping continue this momentum. We need to start by educating our colleagues, clients and the public at large. This will lead to eliminating the stigma associated with cannabis use, furthering research and ultimately working to reschedule cannabis on the federal level. Thanks to the passing of this bill, there are some exciting changes on the horizon and, as a profession, we need to embrace them and forge ahead to advance the field of cannabinoid medicine for ALL species.