Arizona Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Research Bill into Law

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PHOENIX, AZ — Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill into law Wednesday that allows Arizona colleges and universities to conduct medical marijuana research.

Senate Bill 1443, passed in April by both chambers in the state legislature, exempts approved medical research projects from a 2012 law that bans the use or possession of marijuana, including by medical marijuana card holders, on any college or university campus.

A physician from the University of Arizona, Sue Sisley, a specialist in internal medicine and psychiatry, sought the change to the law to continue research into the effectiveness of treating symptoms of post traumatic stress.

Sisley gained approval nearly two years ago from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct a study to determine whether marijuana, in various dosages and methods of administration, can help combat veterans suffering from PTSD.

University of Arizona officials have prevented Dr. Sisley from conducting the research study under the existing ban.

Sisley said her proposal had already been approved by the UA’s Institutional Review Board, which must give the go-ahead for research on live subjects. Next, she said she needs approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to send her the cannabis for her study.

“Before the governor signed that ban about marijuana on campus, we were assuming that our study was going to be conducted on the university campus, which is the only real safe and appropriate forum for that,” Sisley said. “I need to be in a place where my patients and my staff can feel safe.”

If the University approves her study, Sisley will need to secure $250,000 in funding — mostly to pay DEA fees for marijuana research.