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Arizona Marijuana Researcher Fired, Cites Political Retaliation


sue sisley medical marijuana arizonaBy Morgan Fox

University of Arizona professor and leading medical marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley was fired from her position at the university. The University of Arizona refused to renew Dr. Sisley’s contract after advocates engaged in a contentious political struggle with state lawmakers to secure funding for her clinical study on the beneficial effects of marijuana on veterans with PTSD. Dr. Sisley cites her medical marijuana advocacy and research as the reason for her abrupt dismissal. The university’s action will significantly delay — or even end — her groundbreaking research, which had finally received almost all of the necessary federal approvals.

According to the LA Times:

Sisley charges she was fired after her research – and her personal political crusading – created unwanted attention for the university from legislative Republicans who control its purse strings.

“This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and education I have been providing the public and lawmakers,” Sisley said. “I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance.”


In March, the National Institute on Drug Abuse moved to approve Sisley’s research. The decision came as a surprise because some researchers have long accused the institute of hostility to proposals aimed at examining the possible health benefits of marijuana.

Sisley’s study was designed to involve veterans who would use marijuana in an observation facility on campus. She had lobbied state lawmakers for approval to use state funds collected at medical marijuana dispensaries to help pay for the work. When a powerful Republican senator maneuvered to block that money, some of Sisley’s allies launched an unsuccessful recall effort.

Dr. Sisley has long been at the forefront of medical marijuana science, often traveling to testify in legislative hearings to support compassionate bills and derail the misinformation that is so often repeated by opponents of reform. MPP wishes her luck in appealing this decision and continuing her valuable research.

Source: Marijuana Policy Project - make a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. flowerfairybird on

    Really? Because I just went to that link and typed in marijuana, cannabis, Sue Sisley, 8/1/2014 and other relevant words and came up with Zilch. Not one petition for anything to do with weed. Don’t think Change.org will changing much like that. It doesn’t surprise me she was shut out. The zeal with which opponents deny the herb would be laughable but it is so incredibly irrational I actually find it scary. Reminds me of the Republican(s) who claimed it was impossible for a raped woman to get pregnant. I don’t think America has much regard for truth or facts anymore. The Universities are supported by Government grants and alumni so you know they have an incentive to lean toward their benefactors agendas. American news media in all forms has become a cesspool of mis-information and propaganda. Here we have a prime example of a Major Academic Institution with no integrity or commitment to actual scholarship or higher learning. Follow the money if you want to find the truth In America cause in this country god is now money. Facts, science and common sense are obsolete.

  2. What is not mentioned here is that there is currently a petition at change.org asking the Arizona Board of Regents
    to reinstate Dr. Sisley at one of our other public universities, and to provide her with the necessary space and resources she needs to conduct her research. Over 101,000 people have signed the petition to have the PTSD research done as of 8/1/2014 at change.org. Legislators like Kavanaugh, Biggs, and Yee are ignoring the voices of reason from our citizens. They are unresponsive to the needs of people in our state. These individuals favor incarcerating Arizonans and now spend more money doing so than to educate us. This is considered morally reprehensible in most civilized parts of this world. Rather than to be driven by evidence, these inquisitors are driven by their own greed to make money in private prisons and distaste for others in Arizona who are different from them. Our differences and diversities are our strengths in Arizona, not a flaw to be legislated out of existence by Arizona legislators. Dump Kavanagh, Biggs, and Yee!!! Support our veterans. They need our help with this and other health care matters. Sign the petition and do this important research!

    “No one is saying [marijuana] is a cure, but it does seem to be effective for symptom control and the notion that there’s a potential that a plant could reduce the human suffering of these vets and yet it’s being forced to sit on a shelf and not be tested rigorously is an abomination.” Dr Sisley

  3. Actually it was State Senator Andy Biggs as well as Senator Kimberly Yee. It all stems from SB2333 Which was the Bill to FUND Dr Sisley’s research. It passed the State House by wide margin. When it went to the Senate, Senator Kimberly Yee wouldn’t even give it a hearing in her committee. Effectively KILLING the study. During her refusal to even give it a hearing, there was a MASSIVE phone BOMB to her over her refusal to give it a hearing. She was VERY unhappy over that and therefore took it out on Dr Sisley as well as the medical marijuana community. The money that was to FUND the research came from Medical Marijuana patients fees for their cards. Instead of using that money to ” FURTHER the AMMA” as is written in the AMMA, Sen Yee gave the money to Law Enforcement as well as Anti-drug/marijuana group called MATFORCE. A group headed by the “Yavapai County Prosecutor”

    The research still stood a chance as the Democrats were going to run a fairly strong candidate against her.(Kimberly Yee) After all signatures were received in order for this person to RUN against her… the guy fell ONE signature short of making the ballot. So don’t EVER think your VOTE or your SIGNATURE doesn’t count! Therefore she’s now running UNOPPOSED, and decided to defund Dr Sisley’s department because she KNEW she was going to be re-elected. She THEN CONTINUED to further cut U of A’s budget in OTHER departments as well for reprisal. She and Biggs did this UNTIL The U of A finally called UNCLE and fired Dr. Sisley.

    John McCain’s a DOUCHEBAG, especially when it comes to this issue. He and I have gone round and round at Arizona Republican events over this. He sent me some BULLSHIT letter recently over a letter I’d written him regarding “allowing veterans to be able to use cannabis for PTSD”. He wrote me back some BULLSHIT letter telling me it needed more research. Then in the next paragraph stated “… we need more funding to the FDA and NIH”. Two of the largest obstructionist to marijuana research in the country. That response PISSED me off so I HAD to tell him.

    But this one’s ALL about SB2333 and has Kimberly Yee written all over it!

  4. A citizen in Tucson has offered Dr Sisley land and a building to perform her research.

  5. This is the work of John McCain! And as long as we have him as our Senator this study will go no where in this state..We will not study cannabis at any AZ university until this dinosaur is GONE!!!!

  6. she has to 1) get rehired somewhere else 2) resubmit all requests for her study to fda/nida again. and 3) wait for fda/nida to approve it, again.

    which is at least a 5 year process.
    its over man. game over. unless another university steps up its over.

  7. Robert Dewayne King on

    And if they fold under political pressure and permanently fire her ?? Don’t dismiss the possibility , The mice and bean counters in charge of most “higher education ” establishments tend to do what the people who provide the money tell them to !!

  8. Her research will only end if that’s her choice. Otherwise if she’s passionate about what she’s done the universe will align itself with her and provide an avenue for her work.

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