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MAPS Bulletin Summer 2014: Research Edition
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July 22, 2014

Valley Veterans Rally To Support Marijuana Researcher

By: Jason Barry

CBS 5 Arizona

CBS 5 Arizona highlights a press conference hosted by veterans and community leaders who gathered at the University of Arizona on July 22 to demand the reinstatement of Dr. Sue Sisley, the medical marijuana researcher recently fired by the university. The report describes the various efforts to appeal Sisley’s termination, addresses the political environment surrounding Sisley’s termination, and interviews prominent community members. “I am crestfallen and heartbroken that the university would impede this study as if we’re returning to the dark ages,” said former U.S. Attorney Mel McDonald.

Originally appearing here.

She’s the University of Arizona researcher making national news for her study on marijuana and its impact on veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.

On Tuesday, dozens of veterans and community leaders demanded that Sue Sisley be allowed to continue her work.

School officials notified Sisley a few weeks ago that they would not be renewing her contract.

“This is such a travesty because politics should never ever trump science, and that’s what I believe we are seeing here with the dismissal of Sue Sisley,” said registered nurse Heather Manus.

Valley Veterans held a rally outside UofA’s college of medicine campus in Phoenix Tuesday to send a message to school officials, that Sisley should be allowed to continue her research on the impact marijuana has on vets suffering from PTSD.

“She worked hard for several years to advance this initiative, and at the very end was turned away at the door and told no thanks,” said David Lucier, with the Arizona Veterans and Military Leadership Alliance. “But not only no thanks, we will see you later.”

“I am crest fallen and heartbroken that the university would impede this study as if we’re returning to the dark ages,” said former U.S. Attorney Mel McDonald.

Sisley claims she was dismissed from the university because of political pressure, that stemmed from clashes with state lawmakers over funding for the marijuana study.

UofA officials told CBS 5 News that was not the case.

“We have not received any political pressure to take any action on research or employees,” said UofA spokesperson Chris Sigurdson.  “I can also say we also have a record at UofA of defending and supporting medical research, particularly marijuana.”

Sisley has filed a formal appeal to be reinstated, but said that even if that doesn’t happen, she’s determined to finish her groundbreaking study someplace else.

“I have a deep sense of obligation to these folks who have fought side by side with me, and we will never relent until this work is done,” said Sisley. “Ultimately, if UofA reversed the decision today - I would be here implementing the study right now. I still am completely devoted to UofA.”

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