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'Stoner Dogs' On the Rise: Is It Legal to Feed Pot to Dogs?

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. | Last updated on

It's one thing to be besties with your dog, but it's another to turn your pup into a "stoner dog." In fact, it could potentially even land you in the doghouse.

Yes, "stoner dogs." Some vets are seeing a spike in dogs being treated for marijuana intoxication. Whether it's getting high from accidently ingesting a careless human's weed brownie or inhaling secondhand smoke, getting stoned doesn't seem to be a pleasant experience for Fido, according to The Huffington Post.

But is it even legal to feed pot to dogs?

Animal Cruelty Laws

Look no further than your state's animal cruelty laws for the answer. For example, in Colorado, where state law allows recreational marijuana use by adults 21 and over, a person can be found guilty of animal cruelty is if he knowingly overdrives, overworks, tortures, or otherwise mistreats or neglects any animal.

In California, another state known for its mellow medical marijuana laws, a person can be guilty of animal cruelty if he willfully administers poison or exposes any animal to poisonous substances with the intent that the animal ingests it.

Neither one of these statutes specifically addresses the legality of feeding pot to dogs. But it doesn't take a genius to see how turning your dog into a "stoner dog" could potentially run afoul of animal cruelty laws.

According to The Huffington Post, "marijuana is a toxin to pets" that can cause staggering and agitation. The Human Society of Boulder Valley also told HuffPo that marijuana exposure in pets causes "neurologic toxicity," meaning they don't enjoy the same "high" that some humans experience.

So it's possible that feeding a "toxin" like pot to a dog could potentially be considered mistreatment under a law like Colorado's, or even administering poison to an animal under a law like California's.

While dogs exposed to marijuana may suffer discomfort for about 24 hours, it's rarely fatal for dogs to ingest marijuana and it's unlikely to result in long-term health problems, veterinarians told HuffPo.

Although there may not be serious health consequences for "stoner dogs," there are legal consequences for people convicted of animal cruelty. In both Colorado and California, animal cruelty is a misdemeanor, a conviction for which typically results in less than a year in jail and/or a fine.

People subject their dogs to some strange things, like dog tattoos -- which can also be considered animal cruelty. So even though feeding pot to your dog may not be explicitly illegal, it's just not a smart -- or nice -- thing to do to man's best friend.

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