A psychiatrist at the University of Arizona was fired after state Republican Senators criticized her work to university officials, according to the New York Times. Dr. Sue Sisley had spent four years, working alongside US veterans, going through complex state and federal processes to get approval and funding for a formal study into using medical marijuana for helping with posttraumatic stress.
“The State Senate president, Andrew Biggs, called the university’s chief lobbyist, Tim Bee, to complain that Dr. Sisley seemed to be lobbying too aggressively and inappropriately,” reports the Times.
“The university could not take the political heat from the hyperconservative legislators and fired me and deserted all these veterans who have been fighting alongside me for years,” Sisley told the Times.
According to the Times, the firing is part of a highly-politicized divide over how to handle applications for studies of the medical and psychotherapeutic uses of marijuana, even though marijuana is widely recognized to be far less physically dangerous than many other Schedule 1 and common prescription drugs. “The process is so cumbersome that a growing number of elected state officials, medical experts and members of Congress have started calling for loosening the restrictions,” reports the Times. “In June, a letter signed by 30 members of Congress, including four Republicans, called the extra scrutiny of marijuana projects ‘unnecessary,’ saying that research ‘has often been hampered by federal barriers.'”
Medical Marijuana Research Hits Wall of U.S. Law (New York Times, August 9, 2014)