For six years, the CAVCM, in partnership with the CVMA, have been urging the Canadian Government to amend the Cannabis Regulations to include veterinarians as healthcare providers able to authorize medical cannabis for our patients.
As healthcare providers, this is where we should be, but it is also important for our patients. The medical stream is federally licensed, with all Canadians being able to access the same range of products. Currently, veterinarians can provide guidance only on products that clients purchase through the provincially regulated retail stream - but this varies from province to province, with some areas having few options suitable for veterinary use. Products available through the medical stream are also often more transparent about the full cannabinoid and terpene content, and work hard to ensure greater consistency and availability compared to the retail market. We have also had clients be given harmful and factually incorrect advice when purchasing through retail stores, with some clients even being refused sale!
We've been involved in round-table discussions, made trips to Ottawa to speak with numerous MPs and Senators, had a petition in the House of Commons garner over a thousand signatures, did a media event on Parliament Hill, and we have provided written submissions at each open consultation surrounding cannabis.
The latest consultation was required by the legally mandated, 3-yr review of the Cannabis Act, a time we had been advised by the office of the Minister of Health in 2019, that would be the opportunity for us to have this 'oversight' addressed. We sent letters in advance of the 5-yr mark, as well as providing a written submission during the open consultation.
Imagine our disappointment when our submissions were not even recognized in the "What We Heard Report".
While the process is not yet complete, and we will continue to advocate for veterinarians to gain access to the medical cannabis pathway, we need more voices to let those in a position to bring change understand that this is a priority for Canadians.
With almost 2/3 of Canadian households having pets, totaling 16.5 million dogs and cats, ensuring that veterinarians can access ALL care options for our patients is so very important.
You can read the full story in the National Post.