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New Mexico’s pets hoping to receive cannabis for Christmas will have to wait another year. The state’s medical cannabis advisory board denied a petition opening the state’s medical cannabis program to pets suffering from qualifying medical conditions.

The board received the petition in 2019 but had tabled a decision while seeking input from the state’s veterinary board. The state’s health department previously declined to release the name of the petitioner to the Associated Press.

During the December 9th meeting, Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Chairwoman Stephanie Richmond reported that the veterinary board declined to offer an opinion but pointed to national veterinary guidelines that point to a lack of research on the efficacy of cannabis for animals.

Board Member Davin Quinn said that providing cannabis to animals, “falls outside of our scope.” He noted that the state had created separate boards for human and animal medical programs, suggesting that the pet medicine petition would be best handled by the veterinary board.

On a motion by Chairwoman Richmond, the advisory board voted unanimously to deny the petition.

In online guidance, The American Veterinary Medical Association reports “cannabinoids such as CBD appear to hold therapeutic promise in areas such as the treatment of epilepsy and the management of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.”

One of those studies showing progress came from Colorado State University in 2019. It found that 89 percent of dogs suffering from seizures saw improvements with CBD, which does not contain THC and require state approval. Testing THC in animals is more complicated because veterinarians holding DEA licenses place that license in jeopardy when dispensing federally illegal substances like THC without explicit state authorization.

For now, no state has explicitly authorized the use of cannabis for pets.

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