Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nonpartisan Research Group: Most Arizonans Support Legalizing Weed & Medical Marijuana University Research

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM

The nonpartisan research group Behavior Research Center says most Arizona residents support the legalization of recreational marijuana, as well as favor university research on the medical benefits of weed for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and epilepsy. 

Of about 700 adults interviewed for the Rocky Mountain Poll between the end of April and mid-May, 83 percent said they backed up former UA researcher Sue Sisley's study looking into the effects medical marijuana has on PTSD symptoms. They argued similar studies should be allowed at the three universities. 

Sisley's study was in its final stages of approval, when the UA killed her contract last summer. She wanted the university to house the trials there. Sisley argues Republican state legislators pressured UA officials to oust her, but they deny the allegations.

(Added after publication) UA spokesman Chris Sigurdson says the universities actively tried to continue the research with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, the group partnered with Sisley, but that they declined. Arizona State University didn't respond, and Northern Arizona University said no to the study.

She now has a $2 million grant from Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Scientific Advisory Council and a partnership with Johns Hopkins University. She hopes to carry on the study in the Phoenix-area, but Sisley recently said the Department of Veterans Affairs won't let her recruit veterans for her study's trials.

The University of Colorado is considering staging the trials there.

The VA sent Sisley this statement early June:
As you know, we’ve had changes in leadership here over the past several years. While a previous Medical Center Director may have approved a Grand Round by Dr. Sisely – or delegated this to a member of the staff - the current Medical Center Director did not.

VA health care providers are prohibited from offering opinions or recommendations on the use of medical marijuana. It would be inconsistent with the law or our values for us to conduct a grand round on medical marijuana.
In the case of recreational weed, more than 50 percent are good with allowing possession of small amounts. The support is stronger in rural Arizona (58 percent) and in Maricopa County (53 percent). The poll said less than half of people in Pima County back up legalization. 

In April, the Marijuana Policy Project filed Arizona's weed ballot measure with the Secretary of State's Office, after mending ties with weed activists demanding for home cultivation rights, and dispensary representatives who wanted a better licensing structure.

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