Arizona lawmakers approve cannabis studies at state universities


The Arizona House yesterday passed a bill removing academic research from a 2012 law that banned any and all marijuana on college campuses.
According to one researcher, this could open the doors for studies on things like post-traumatic stress disorder for returning veterans at the state level and provide much-needed peer-reviewed studies as to the plant’s efficacy.

Senate Bill 1443 would alter a 2012 piece of legislation that banned marijuana from college campuses – even for card-carrying medical marijuana patients. That law also made it impossible for colleges to study the drug since nobody could legally possess it on a college campus thanks to the law.
SB 1443 would allow for research, but schools would still have to receive federal approval to conduct research – something that isn’t exactly easy to come by – as well as get approval from the school’s institutional review board. The bill has already received Senate approval, was approved on third reading Wednesday with a 37-19 vote. The next step would be to Gov. Jan Brewer’s office. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Brewer says she’s open to the idea.
While a federal license to study cannabis isn’t easy, University of Arizona physician Sue Sisley says she had approval to study cannabis and post-traumatic stress disorder lined up in 2011. But then the state legislature passed the campus ban bill and the school pulled the plug on the program.
Sisley’s research could have been important, especially for veterans in Arizona. Last year the state health department rejected proposals to expand the qualifying conditions to include post-traumatic stress disorder.
But not everyone sees the bill as a key opening important research tools. Flagstaff Republican Rep. Bob Thorpe compared marijuana research to university studies of shrimp on treadmills and said he doesn’t want taxpayer money going to similarly “trivial” research. Apparently crushing anxiety caused by exposure to traumatic events while serving your country is trivial in Thorpe’s world.