CA Veterinary Medical Board quarterly meeting updates re: cannabis issues



The CA Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) had its first quarterly meeting of 2020 on Jan 30-31 in Sacramento. 

While there was not much news on the cannabis front, updates are listed below.

Agenda Item #8:

Update, Discussion, and Possible Action on the Board’s "Guidelines for Veterinarian Discussion of Cannabis Within the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship":

Hemp supporters requested language be stricken from the guidelines (crossed out on the attachment below) then redefined, (underlined items)

Dr. Pollard reported that he recently attended a SoCal VMA meeting where there were presentations on cannabis by several people, including Stephen Cital, Bonnie Lutz, and Dr. Robert Silver.  He was impressed by the attendance, the presentations and conversations afterward.

He stated that the MDC was never tasked with addressing hemp.

He wants to encourage people to read and to keep up on current events/etc.  ( I strongly agree )

He mentioned 2 specific articles, I will provide links to them below:

  • -An article by Dr. Gary Richter in Today’s Veterinary Practice, Jan issue:

  • -An article in DVM 360, by Dr. Carla Johnson on 12/18/2019:

He believes the language of the guidelines is in accordance with law, and encouraged the VMB to adopt modifications.

Motion to adopt the guidelines as written accepted.

After a brief public comment by ElleVet general counsel and some discussion about confusion over FDA regulations and the distinction between drugs and supplements, the motion to approve the guidelines was unanimously approved.

The memorandum and proposed revision of the guidelines can be found here:

Agenda Item #11:

 Update, Discussion, and Possible Action on 2019-2020 Legislation:

B.  AB 228 (Aguiar-Curry, 2019) Food, beverage, and cosmetic adulterants: industrial hemp products:

This agenda item was skipped.

C.  SB 627 (Galgiani, 2019) Cannabis and cannabis products: medicinal use on an animal patient: veterinary medicine

This has not changed since last board meeting.  This is now a 2-year bill.

There was some public comment about the language and intent of the authors of the bill.  They are in support of the board’s concern over the lack of animal-specific research and are actively pursuing action on this front.

In addition, Dr. Nunez described his experience at a dispensary when asking about pet products.  He also had concerns, supports the medical dispensary initiative as long as it is not too restrictive.  The authors do not want to restrict availability.


Updates to this and other VMB announcements regarding these issues will be posted as they become available.


The CA Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) had its quarterly meeting on October 8-11, 2019 in Sacramento.

Updates on relevant topics are listed below.

To clear up any confusion, there are two separate “guidelines” discussed.  “The Guidelines for Discussion of Cannabis…” were mandated by the passing of AB2215 and have been developed by the MDC, to be voted on by the VMB prior to going into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.  In addition, the “Guidelines for the Appropriate Administration for Use of Medicinal Cannabis…” would become necessary IF SB627 passes and veterinarians are allowed to make medical cannabis recommendations.

Tuesday, October 8th:

MDC (Multidisciplinary committee) meeting

Agenda item #6. Discussion and potential recommendation on “Guidelines for the Appropriate administration for use of medicinal cannabis on an animal patient.”

It is important to note that the AB2215 guidelines for discussion and the 3 categories on the first page of the document in the link below are intended to be used as a starting point if SB627 passes and the VMB needs to create guidelines for the recommendation and use of cannabis (versus the simple discussion).  These 3 categories were created to summarize and condense the long list of topics from page 4 of the document.

Here is the link to the freely accessible agenda items and meeting materials used by the MDC for this discussion: ( It interestingly does not include the proposed “Guidelines for Discussion of Cannabis use by Veterinary Patients,” but this is included in the links under the VMB meeting)

***Attached to this document are several research articles, including “The Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Dogs.” A worthwhile read and not typically freely accessible.

There was a much shorter discussion this time around…however, an important exchange ensued after  public comments were made regarding Industrial Hemp and the confusion that veterinarians and others have regarding its use.  Specifically, that these guidelines do NOT cover Industrial hemp products since they were removed from the CSA after the 2018 Farm bill.  Questions were asked about veterinarians having and using these products in their practices and the committee chair said “No” this isn’t allowed, without a clear explanation of why…The issues came up concerning the FDA, and lack of approval or regulation of these products and standard of care.

It was clear that there is confusion among the VMB members as well.

-Suggestions were made to add language to help clear up this confusion, perhaps relating to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

To view this interesting exchange during the public comments (approximately 10 minutes long), click the link below to the webcast, and forward to timestamp hour 2:46.

This becomes relevant during the VMB meeting below.


Wednesday, October 9th:

VMB (Veterinary Medical Board) meeting

Here is a link to the agenda:

Agenda Item #6: Review, Discussion, and Possible Action on Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee (MDC) Report – Jeff Pollard, DVM

This is the link to the memorandum sent to the VMB from the MDC chair regarding the above:

***(This link includes an attachment of the draft of the current MDC document, slated to become effective Jan 1, 2020: Guidelines for the Discussion of Cannabis Use for Veterinary Patients)

After the MDC meeting on October 8, and before this morning meeting, 3 lines were added to this document regarding industrial hemp…(after the discussion surrounding the public comments at the MDC meeting discussed above)

These 3 sentences as listed here, based on Dr. Pollards verbal explanation.  (They are not, at the time of this writing, listed on any accessible document online)

-In addition to state regulations, the FDA has not approved the use of industrial hemp products for treatment in animals.

-The veterinarian who manufactures, markets, sells drugs not approved by the FDA is in violation of federal law.

-Use of such products should only be done after the industrial hemp product has been approved by the FDA for use in animals.

Some discussion ensued and public comments were made concerning language in the document.

The motion to approve these Guidelines for the Discussion of Cannabis Use for Veterinary Patients was made, voted on and approved.



Thursday, October 10th:

Agenda Item #16: Update on 2019 Legislation:

This is the link to legislative bills being discussed.  Item D on the last page is SB627:



Here is the link to read the bill and track its progress:

There was not much news on this front since the bill is now a “2-year bill” which the board had voted to support if amended at the last meeting.

The sponsors/authors are willing to work with the VMB to further refine the amendments.

At this point, the bill is tabled until 2020.


Updates to this and other VMB announcements regarding these issues will be posted as they become available.



The CA Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) had its quarterly meeting on July 17-18, 2019 in Sacramento.

Updates on relevant topics are listed below:

Wednesday, July 17: 

Item 1.

Jeff Pollard DVM gave his Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee (MDC) report from the meeting on July 16.

Regarding the cannabis guidelines enacted after the passing of AB2215:  “after vigorous discussion, the MDC unanimously passed these guidelines.” (see below)

The document titled “Veterinary Medical Board’s Guidelines for the Discussion of Cannabis Use for Veterinary Patients. Effective January 1, 2020” can be freely accessed by clicking this link:

The VMB is slated to vote on these guidelines in October, however, pending the outcome of SB627, these guidelines may not last.

Item 2.

This is the memorandum sent to the MDC regarding “Discussion and Potential Recommendation on Defining Conditions That Must be Met for Board Approval of Providing Statutory Authority for a Veterinarian to Give Clients Cannabis Treatment.”  This is regarding pending legislation, SB 627.

This document is freely accessible and can be viewed by clicking this link:

There was much discussion and public comment on the above.  Some points stressed were:

-consider species other than dogs and cats

-consider that, despite the need for research results that may take years, these products are already out there, and pet owners are using them

Item 3.

Legislative update:


On the document below, this item is under section L, page 5:

Discussions ensued about:

-funding for research

-where to perform the medical cannabis studies on animals?

-removing the requirement for consulting with CMCR because they don’t have research studies on animals

-Much discussion about the fact that the bill has had several amendments, but the amendments at the time of this meeting, were not printed for public viewing, so there was some concern about unknown language that may be in the amended bill.

-Concern if a funding requirement is added to the bill, it may not pass.

-proposals made to bifurcate the approach by approving as written and then write a separate bill for funding.

Dr. Nunez proposed a “Motion to support if amended.”  This Passed.


Updates to this and other VMB announcements regarding these issues will be posted as they become available.





Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

The Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee (MDC) had its quarterly meeting on April 16 in Riverside.   This is the committee tasked with developing the guidelines surrounding the cannabis discussion that were enacted with the passing of AB2215.  These guidelines need to be in place by Jan. 1, 2020.

Among the many items on the meeting agenda, was item #6:

Discussion and Development of Guidelines for Discussion of Cannabis with Veterinary Clients; the potential recommendation to the full board.

When this agenda item came up, there was much discussion between the board members and various speakers.   Below is a link to the current draft guidelines.  There were some adjustments and revisions suggested surrounding bullet points 1 and 9 under “Patient evaluation and Record keeping”, pages 2 and 3 of the document below.

This document and other meeting agendas can be found and freely accessed on the CA VMB website under the ‘board meetings’ tab


Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

The Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) had its quarterly meeting on April 17-18 in Riverside.

Relevant topics at this meeting included:

  1. The MDC committee chair gave his report to the full Veterinary Medical Board at this quarterly meeting. He reported that the final, finished guidelines are not likely to be published until the end of the year.  This is due to the ongoing discussions involved and the fact that further pending legislation (SB 627) will be considered this year (which the governor may have until October to sign, if passed).  The draft of the guidelines will be re-presented at the next quarterly VMB meeting in July.


  1. In addition, the VMB had on their agenda, item # 8, ‘Update, discussion and possible action on 2019 Legislation’.  Sub item J; SB 627 (Galgiani, 2019) Medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products: veterinary medicine.

There is a link to the legislative items below.  (*Note that this item is labeled ‘K’ on this document)

Also embedded is a link to the text of the bill and how to track its progress.  You can access the information on the bill on the ‘News’ page of this site or via the direct link below:


There was a lengthy discussion on this matter, with public speakers that included 2 co-sponsors of the bill.  Concerns listed by some board members included:  The “recommending” of cannabis, the “dispensing” of cannabis, the need for more research, the lack of ability of the VMB to discipline a veterinarian utilizing cannabis in the case of negligence, and the definition of a “qualified veterinarian.”

While the board voted to oppose this bill as it is written, a motion was made to refer the matter to the MDC to “define the conditions needed to help the VMB move forward on this issue.”

Clearly, the story is not over and there is much more to come…

Updates to this and other VMB announcements regarding these issues will be posted as they become available.