Marijuana legalization is supported by 62% of Americans, according to the most recent PEW Research poll. However, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug at the federal level, and this means that drug test failure leads to termination for federal employees.
One such employee appealed his termination, claiming he was unaware the brownie he consumed included marijuana in the ingredients. Former U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent Jeffrey Hansen claims he consumed the brownie without knowing he was also consuming marijuana. Once he was surprised with a drug test by his supervisor, he failed and was terminated as a result.
His case went before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where the agency’s decision was upheld. Hansen’s appeal was received by the court in December. The decision sets a precedent for any federal worker who could be exposed to marijuana through edibles — even unknowingly.
Meanwhile, cannabis is increasingly being touted as a solution to everything from pet anxiety to arthritis pain and other issues for the cats and dogs in your life. The downside of this prevailing trend is that the ASPCA Poison Control Center is handling a larger influx of calls related to pet consumption of marijuana. These calls also include the unintentional exposure, as an edible is left where a pet can get to it, and the resulting outcome is as expected.
The ASPCA Poison Control line handled only 208 calls related to pets consuming marijuana in 2008. In 2017, that number increased to 979, and for 2018 the final tally of calls for animals consuming marijuana came to 1,800.
Dogs are especially sensitive, and they can not handle marijuana at the same level as a human. They also are not supposed to consume chocolate, so when they get a hold of marijuana-infused chocolate, the consequences can be grim.
Dogs can be severely impaired by this consumption, wobbling while they walk as if they are intoxicated, overreacting to the sounds and movement around them, low blood pressure, low heart rate and — in the most severe cases — death.
Pet owners are advised to forgo giving a pet a drop of tincture or leaving edibles where the pet can easily reach them. While the trend of pet treatments using marijuana is currently widespread, it may not be a trend that maintains traction with the potential ill effects.