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Veterans Urge Arizona Board Of Regents To Reinstate Marijuana Researcher

Dozens of veterans are urging the Arizona Board of Regents to reinstate a University of Arizona medical marijuana researcher who was fired this summer. They said she was conducting valuable studies about the effects of pot on combat vets with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Marijuana researcher Sue Sisley was informed in June that her position was eliminated by the UofA. The university never explained why, but she said conservative state lawmakers wanted her research to end. 

Now, veterans are rallying behind Sisley and they told the Board of Regents Thursday that medical marijuana helps them cope with PTSD. Army vet Ricardo Pereyda served in Iraq 10 years ago and said his symptoms were unbearable.

"Internalizing these feelings, my struggle began to manifest itself with inexplicable fits of rage, panic attacks, insomnia and emotional numbness that is impossible to describe,” Pereyda said.

He said he started using marijuana to medicate his PTSD a few years ago and he’s feeling much better. 

Meanwhile, the California non-profit that gave UofA a grant to study medical marijuana said it wants ASU or another university to hire Sisley. 

The board didn’t take action on Sisley’s future. 

KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent Steve Shadley is no stranger to the issues shaping Arizona.