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Drugs

We Interviewed the Nevada State Senator Who Wants Pets to Have Medical Weed

Tick Segerblom is a politician pushing for sane marijuana policy in his state, which is how he wound up fielding questions about SB 372. I called him up to talk politics and animal buds.

by Mike Pearl
Mar 18 2015, 9:26pm

Photo from our documentary The Westminster Dog Show... On Acid!

Two years ago we spoke to a veterinarian named Doug Kramer who was advocating for the use of marijuana as a prescription therapy for dogs. Yesterday in Carson City, a bill hit the floor of the Nevada State Senate that might bring Dr. Kramer's dream closer to reality.

The proposed shift in policy, which would allow vets to prescribe dank kush to sick cats and dogs, stems from research into the effects of marijuana on animals by experts like Kramer. The weed would likely be administered in a glycerin tincture similar to what Kramer has already created rather than a rip from your Gandalf-shaped bong. The drops are sweet-tasting, which matters to dogs, but not cats. Cats are a little harder to dose since they're finicky assholes.

The medical aspects of it are best left up to scientists, which Nevada State Senator Richard S. "Tick" Segerblom is not, so he wasn't able to tell me which strain I should give to Zora, my extremely anxious cat. Segerblom is the bill's sponsor and a politician pushing for sane marijuana policy in his state, which is how he wound up fielding questions about SB 372. I called him up to talk politics and animal buds.

To be clear, don't get your pet high just because you think it'll be funny. Dogs react really strongly, especially to edibles. Sometimes they have to have their stomachs pumped.

VICE: So why does Nevada need to give weed to its pets?
Tick Segerblom: First let me clarify: this is not a bill about giving marijuana to pets. It's a huge bill to go with our current medical marijuana law—I was the author of that two years ago. This bill addresses lots of issues that have come up.

How'd this issue make it onto the list?
Someone contacted me and said "I use marijuana, and I've got a card, but I can't give it to my pet because it's illegal."

What's the next step after you hear a concern like that?
I did a little research and found that there is a school of thought out there that for neurological conditions, marijuana can be helpful for pets too. So this just says if your veterinarian prescribes it, you can purchase it and give it to your pet.

And it seems like a good idea to you?
If you're going to give them oxycontin? My feeling is, if a veterinarian wants to try it, then what the hell? There's lots of conjecture out there—it hasn't been scientifically proven—but some of the things humans are treated for, animals have similar conditions, and it works the same way. And that's with the kind that gets you high. There are also CBDs, and then different strains that would work differently.

Are you hearing from people who are mad about this?
Not so far. It just came out yesterday. I hadn't realized it was in the bill until it came out yesterday.

You didn't know it was in there? That's hilarious.
There are lots of jokes to be made about it, but the reality is it's a serious subject. But every time you talk about marijuana, people laugh.

What's the next step in making this happen?
There are about 100 different items in this bill, and it's my job to try and get this passed through the legislature. Sometimes things get amended out. I suspect this is one of those sections that'll be amended out. But hopefully we'll have a hearing, and people with dogs and cats will come and testify.

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