It wasn't just a new President that American citizens were voting for on Tuesday, but a host of ballot initiatives that could change the way that they live and work on a daily basis. These decisions included state changes to the death penalty, assisted dying, and the hourly wage for workers.
One of the more controversial matters to fall under discussion this week was the use of cannabis, or marijuana, and whether it should ever be legalized for medicinal or recreational use. While Arizona rejected a bid to legalize the drug for recreational use, Florida and North Dakota voters showed their favor for its medicinal purposes, and California, Nevada, and Massachusetts citizens chose to support marijuana's recreational appeal.
While representatives in California said that taxes on the farming and sale of cannabis would support youth programs, environmental protection, and law enforcement, critics weren't so sure, with some branding the results of the vote a "reckless disregard for child health and safety."
Dr. Karl Jandrey, the Associate Professor of Clinical Surgical and Radiological Sciences at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, had other concerns, which he voiced prior to the vote: "Dogs can die from [digesting cannabis products]. It is uncommon but it's possible. We see probably one a week but some of my colleagues in private practice in the Bay Area may see more like one or two a day," he told CBS Local for the San Francisco and Bay Area earlier in the year.
Many opponents to the legalization of cannabis have cited the possible effects of the drug on animals, particularly cats and dogs that could come into contact with the drug and the paraphernalia used alongside it. As Dr. Jandrey stated, it's an uncommon occurrence, but it happens nonetheless. Indeed, the Pet Poison Helpline found that there has been a worrying increase in the number of dogs accidentally exposed to cannabis over the last five years, with a leap of 330% across America.
The risk isn't only to animals owned by drug users, but to those who may become accidentally intoxicated while out and about, or exposed to discarded drugs and paraphernalia. Whether contained in sweet treats and cakes, or rolled in joints, cannabis can be found and consumed by dogs regardless of whether their pet parent has ever tried it.
Now that recreational use has been approved across California, drug users are being asked to keep their products out of reach of pets and children, while manufacturers of cannabis products are advised to label items with a warning.