Cannabis and a Doggy Story 

Lulu my lovable but aging pet who is blind and deaf is now suffering increasingly from arthritis. She has difficulty standing up, slips, and stumbles. She already receives glucosamine and chondroitin, an over-the-counter supplement which helps, but not enough. A standard prescribed medicine carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl) is considered more effective. However, its side effects are scary. My veterinarian suggested a chewable pill CBD with labeled contents including “hemp seeds and hemp oil with the full spectrum of cannabinoids.” I purchased a bottle of 50 pills from him, and Lulu now shows more energy and agility.

The purveyor is from Colorado and the product is mailed from a separate company called a bakery. Because US law forbids the sale of marijuana most American banks don’t accept such transactions. In processing my order for another bottle I was warned, “Our credit card processor runs through a bank in the UK. Your credit card company may flag this transaction.” 

Hemp and marijuana treat dozens of chronic conditions for both pets and humans and are two different varieties of cannabis. Both have medicinal CBD, but marijuana has a high level of psychoactive THC while hemp usually has less than 0.3%. As a result Lulu is not going to get high and confused. Some varieties of hemp for pets are available in a small number of stores in New Jersey but both hemp and marijuana fall into a bureaucratic legalistic black hole. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced last year that even marijuana extracts with CBD and little or no THC are illegal.

Fortunately my American bank processed the transaction but it’s hard to know whether such will continue and what new laws will be enacted. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who might be weed’s most ardent opponent, in the past has stated “Good people don’t smoke marijuana. We need to say, as Nancy Reagan said, ‘Just say no.” Nonetheless in April – hold on to your seat – he indicated, “There may well be some benefits from medical marijuana.” His comments came at about the same time that Trump backed the idea of supporting the rights of states to choose what should happen with cannabis within their own borders.

Gov. Phil Murphy has championed legalizing marijuana and included some $80 million in expected tax revenue from both medical and non-medical sales. However lawmakers left out some $60 million in taxes from non-medical marijuana in their own budget. It remains unclear if legislators have sufficient votes to pass the measure. Lawmakers who support the concept are squabbling over details, such as the maximum number of marijuana retailers and the tax rate. Another complication: fresh out of prison, the marijuana activist “NJWeedman” says he’ll oppose the push unless the rules are changed to guarantee African-American and Latino entrepreneurs a bigger share of the market.

So both we humans and pets for whom cannabis appears beneficial remain caught in a web of uncertainty. The federal government may actually become more reasonable, although with Trump one never knows when he might change his mind. Locally there is movement forward but our Legislature is dragging its heels.

Comment (1)

  1. Bill Orr (Post author)

    The Senate’s farm bill may come to the floor today or soon thereafter. It legalizes hemp. Sen. McConnell supports it not because of its association with cannabis and marijuana but because with soy bean prices declining due to Trump’s trade war, it help farmers to develop a new crop and because hemp has broad industrial uses.

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