|Dr. Sue Sisley.|
Back in June, the University of Arizona without warning fired Dr. Sue Sisley, the lead researcher in a program that would have studied the use of medical cannabis for post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms – though many suspect it was for Sisley’s marijuana advocacy.
The move struck a blow to people hoping for clinical proof of the efficacy of cannabis that could increase access to medical cannabis in Arizona and beyond, including Iraq veteran Ricardo Pereyda who created a petition that has more than 29,000 signatures so far (and could use one from you, too). See the petition and links to sign it below.
Pereyda says he was outraged by the move by the university and says that they are putting “politics before the care of our nation’s veterans.” As he writes in his Change.org petition:
“When I returned from serving in Iraq, I suffered from severe post-traumatic-stress. I was prescribed a cocktail of prescription drugs from the VA for years; they didn’t help. In 2010, I began using marijuana exclusively to treat multiple symptoms of PTSD such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and severe panic attacks. The results have been profound, marijuana has helped me live a more full and productive life I was ecstatic my school was going to house Dr. Sisley’s study and find out just how marijuana works to alleviate PTSD symptoms. That was until I learned Dr. Sisley, the only person in the country who has federal approval to work with veterans and medical marijuana sourced from the federal government, was shown the door.
To: Ann Weaver Hart, President, University of Arizona
Arizona Board Of Regents
I am absolutely outraged that the university has elected not to continue Dr. Suzanne Sisley’s academic appointment after September 27th.
I implore you to reverse your decision and support Dr. Sisley’s federally approved research to study use of medical marijuana by veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD.
Renew Dr. Sisley’s academic appointment immediately and provide the physical resources necessary to start this clinical trial. Support the core principle of academic freedom and immediately rectify the unjust, immoral and unpatriotic termination of Dr. Sisley.
Don’t turn your back on Veterans. Conduct the research.
Read and sign the petition to reinstate Dr. Sisley at Change.org.
As we reported earlier this month, the University of Arizona sent Sisley a memo saying her contract wouldn’t be renewed. No reason was given, but Sisley says that it stems from her advocacy for medical cannabis research at the state capitol this past fall and winter. Apparently it rubbed a few prohibitionist types – namely State Sen. Kimbery Yee, who fought to block funding for the PTSD study – the wrong way.
“I have no formal proof,” she told the Arizona Daily Star. But she said in April that Garcia “confronted me about my political advocacy. He claimed that he was ordered by (University) President Hart to learn more about my activities at the Legislature. He claimed that (Senate President) Andy Biggs had called President Hart to accuse me of somehow using university resources to attack his rising star Kimberly Yee.”
Most agree that without Sisley, the PTSD study will likely not go forward.
Interestingly, the state health department last week announced that PTSD would be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Arizona after years of rejecting proposals from citizen groups.