On the last day of 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed law (“HB 5085”) allowing veterinarians to assess the potential therapeutic benefits and risks of using marijuana and hemp, particularly cannabidiol (“CBD”) to discuss. with pet owners. Legal language is sparse, but its legislative analysis explains that HB 5085 aims to make veterinarians “a trusted source of information in a market with many competing and confusing claims” on what the report says will “ultimately affect both pet health and their health the safety of the owner benefits. “
This new law may surprise many as the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has not yet approved the use of CBD in pet products. So far, no petitions or food additive ingredients for substances derived from hemp in animal feed have been approved or recognized as generally recognized as safe (“GRAS”). Additionally, the FDA is working hard to promote the therapeutic value of CBD products, as evidenced by issuing warning letters to CBD pet product manufacturers who dared to provide medical claims about their products.
However, if you read the FDA’s Cannabis FAQs, you will find that while federal agency warns pet owners not to use these products, it also recommends speaking to their veterinarian about “appropriate treatment options” for their pets. This is because the first change prevents the federal government as well as states from telling doctors and other health professionals what they can and cannot say. In that regard, Michigan’s new law is only symbolic in that veterinarians have already had the opportunity to discuss the risks and benefits of administering CBD products to pets. What the new law doesn’t do, however, is to get the veterinarian’s approval to sell CBD pet products, such as: B. Animal treatments, which is strictly prohibited in Michigan.
Like the FDA, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Plant Pest Management’s Department of Pesticide and Plant Pest Control (“MDARD”) holds the addition of CBD to commercial feeds such as domestic animals illegal and expressly forbidden Selling these products as dietary supplements. However, the state agency believes that “a person can choose to supplement their own pet’s feed with hemp or hemp-derived products such as CBD oil,” which MDARD claims can be sold in the state, provided that that Product meets certain labeling and marketing requirements.
According to a 2020 Green Paper on the Pet Industry jointly published by Nielsen Holdings plc and Headset, nearly three-quarters of current U.S. consumers have pets, and nearly a quarter of those pet owners use CBD for themselves, their pets, or both. Still, few understand the implications for their furry friends.
Given the significant CBD information gap that currently exists in the US, passing a law like HB 5085, even if it’s symbolic, is a step in the right direction. As consumers gain a better understanding of how CBD works in their pets, not only will the risk of adverse effects be reduced, but it will also mandate transparency in the supply chain, creating trust and quality assurance, thus helping to legitimize the CBD industry.