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State Senator blocks medical marijuana study

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The proposed University of Arizona scientific study about using marijuana to treat veterans with post traumatic stress disorder has the green light from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

It has support from the Department of Health & Human Services.

It passed the Arizona House of Representatives.

But one person, State Senator Kimberly Yee of Phoenix has stopped the bill in it’s tracks.

The study organizers say it is aimed at veterans suffering from PTSD that have not been helped by other treatments. They say it would not be funded with state tax money, but rather through the sale of medical marijuana cards.

Senator Yee chairs the senate education committee, the recipient of the bill.

The Senate Education Committee has a hearing scheduled for Thursday morning at 9 a.m. and Yee has said she will not let them consider the study.

Veterans like Ricardo Pereyda, who served as a U.S. Military policeman in blood soaked Iraq, suffer from PTSD, say cannabis helps them cope with the disorder.

“There are a hundred scenarios in my head at any time and using cannabis quiets that, it allows me to go through my day being productive,” said Veteran Ricardo Pereyda.

The Arizona House bill funding the study sailed through the house with a vote of 52 to 5.

Yee’s opposition to the bill is a crushing blow to veterans who say they’re desperate for relief from PTSD.

“When they heard this week Kimberly Yee was refusing to allow this bill on her education committee agenda they were astounded, they were angered,” said Dr. Sue Sisley.

Senator Yee’s biggest problem with the bill is she feels backers of the scientific study want to legalize marijuana, as in Colorado or Washington state.

Senator Yee says she hasn’t been able to get in touch with her republican colleagues in the house.

“I actually have not heard from that sponsor to share what the issues are,” said Senator Yee.

Republican Ethan Orr, the bill’s house sponsor, is on an Arizona trade mission in Mexico today.

He sent us this statement: “Both myself and numerous community leaders have reached out to members of the senate regarding this bill, and Kimberly Yee is the only one who has not even returned my phone call. It is unfortunate for the democratic process that one person has chosen to not hear the bill.”

Senator Yee prefers spending the medical marijuana card money on a public service announcement campaign urging kids not to smoke pot.

She is backed by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk.

FOX 10 asked Senator Yee why she won’t just let her committee consider the medical marijuana PTSD bill and argue over it on the merits, since it passed the house so overwhelmingly.

Yee did not provide an answer to that question.




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