Michigan Authorizes Veterinarians to Discuss the Therapeutic Use of CBD with Pet Owners

On the last day of 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a piece of legislation (“HB 5085”) that gives veterinarians permission to discuss the potential therapeutic benefits and risks of using marijuana and hemp, especially cannabidiol (“CBD”), with pet owners. The statutory language is sparse but its legislative analysis explains that HB 5085 aims for veterinarians to become “a trusted source of information, in a marketplace with many competing and confusing claims,” which the report explains “would ultimately benefit both pets’ health and their owners’ peace of mind.”

This new law may come as a surprise to many given the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has yet to approve the use of CBD in pet products. Indeed, to date, no food additive petitions or ingredients for any substance derived from hemp in animal food have been approved or recognized as Generally Recognized As Safe (“GRAS”). Moreover, the FDA takes strong issue with promoting the therapeutic value of CBD products, as demonstrated in its issuance of warning letters to manufacturers of CBD pet products that dared making medical claims about their products.

Yet, if you review the FDA’s cannabis FAQ, you’ll notice that while the federal

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