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UA Doctor Allegedly Fired for Pushing Medical Marijuana Research

A University of Arizona doctor is being let go — she claims because of her lobbying on the issue of medical marijuana research. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Sue Sisley has been trying to study whether the drug can be useful in treating post-traumatic stress syndrome. Two years ago she got the Legislature to say such research can be done on campus. And, she has since received preliminary federal approval. Earlier this year the House agreed to allow funds from a health department marijuana account to be used for such research. But, Sen. Kimberly Yee blocked the legislation. That led to public complaints by Sisley, some high-profile stories about the veteran lawmaker — and what Sisley said was some pressure by the Senate president on university officials. 

“It was clear that they were gunning for me. And I think the lawyers at U of A were very shrewd to try to organize the timeline so that they don’t have to actually fire me. They could just wait for my contract renewal,” she said.

But, Senate President Andy Biggs said he never contacted the UA to complain about Sisley. And, UA spokesman George Humphrey said the school never got any political pressure to terminate anyone. Humphrey also said the school is not adverse to such research, saying UA lobbyists supported that first change in law to permit an on-campus study.

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