Arizona Medical Marijuana Researcher Fired, Cites Political Retaliation

Jul 02, 2014 , , , , , ,

Sue Sisley
Dr. Sue Sisley

This week, University of Arizona professor and leading medical marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley was fired from her position at the university. The University of Arizona refused to renew Dr. Sisley’s contract after advocates engaged in a contentious political struggle with state lawmakers to secure funding for her clinical study on the beneficial effects of marijuana on veterans with PTSD. Dr. Sisley cites her medical marijuana advocacy and research as the reason for her abrupt dismissal. The university’s action will significantly delay — or even end — her groundbreaking research, which had finally received almost all of the necessary federal approvals.

According to the LA Times:

Sisley charges she was fired after her research – and her personal political crusading – created unwanted attention for the university from legislative Republicans who control its purse strings.

“This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and education I have been providing the public and lawmakers,” Sisley said. “I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance.”


In March, the National Institute on Drug Abuse moved to approve Sisley’s research. The decision came as a surprise because some researchers have long accused the institute of hostility to proposals aimed at examining the possible health benefits of marijuana.

Sisley’s study was designed to involve veterans who would use marijuana in an observation facility on campus. She had lobbied state lawmakers for approval to use state funds collected at medical marijuana dispensaries to help pay for the work. When a powerful Republican senator maneuvered to block that money, some of Sisley’s allies launched an unsuccessful recall effort.

Dr. Sisley has long been at the forefront of medical marijuana science, often traveling to testify in legislative hearings to support compassionate bills and derail the misinformation that is so often repeated by opponents of reform. MPP wishes her luck in appealing this decision and continuing her valuable research.

(Photo: Mauro Whiteman)

5 responses to “Arizona Medical Marijuana Researcher Fired, Cites Political Retaliation”

  1. MPP wishes her luck in appealing this decision and continuing her valuable research. – Marijuana Policy Project

    Will MPP and their sponsors…one of who’s name can be constructed using the letters in “sponsor’ help pay for Dr. Sisley’s legal expenses?

    I wish Dr. Sisley luck as well…for whatever good that wish may do?

  2. “Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.” – Frederick Douglass

  3. Fear and toxic obfuscation … the hallmarks of an effective Republican administration of the masses in Arizona.

    Atty Polk here is simply following the party line when dispensing untruths designed to manipulate the “sheeple”.

    More attune to why not toke than fear of death, is the recent decision by the nearby Supreme Court of Colorado to disallow a claim against an employer in Coats v Dish, Inc.

    If the #RecMj state of Colorado’s Supreme Court can slam a paraplegic by basically giving all companies in the State of Colorado the power to now test and dismiss all employees that test positive for THC metabolites without recourse, then what greater threat of losing your job, or future job can deter the youth of today from experimenting while their brains are still in maturation mode?

    You can toke in Colorado, #MedMj patient or #RecMj experimenter alike … but, if you do …

    That ain’t gonna stop your employer from fire’ing your ass without recourse for testing positive!

    This is a major, major decision that will send political and legal ripples across all of the western states of Washington State, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.

    It is also a market driver for THC alternative clandestine supplements that act like marijuana, but at times may be quite toxic to the individual.

    Why is this decision so major? Because the Rule Number One of setting a legal precedence is proximity to the jurisdiction of decision …

    And, secondly the height of the court, in this case a Supreme Court, not federal, but nevertheless a state Supreme Court decision handed down by a western #RecMj state!

    See Coats v Dish, Inc. for the recent decision penned by the majority of the Supreme Court of the State of Colorado.

    And, toke responsibly both #RecMj connoisseur and #MedMj patient!

    For if you have a job, and are subject to random testing, beware the company firing squad and their representatives.

    Please do not start smoking pot laced with spice just to not prove positive when attempting to pass a drug test.

    It just may end your life, as Atty Polk correctly points out.

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