Pubdate: Thu, 10 Apr 2014
Source: Tucson Weekly (AZ)
Copyright: 2014 Tucson Weekly
Author: J.M. Smith


In a Truly Sad Turn of Events, Our Marijuana Guy's Last Moments 
Included Thoughts of Kimberly Yee

Editor's note (again, not really, but it's a premise): Mr. Smith 
continues to drift in and out of consciousness and blink out orders 
to Dick Cheney. Mostly Mr. Smith is tasking the former vice president 
with flipping the television between Duck Dynasty and pay-per-view 
porn. But at times he is requesting the bizarre, such as foot 
massages using oil from the blubber of slain baby seals and ground 
rhino horn to treat his gout and impotence. God save Dick Cheney ... 
and Mr. Smith.

I'm going to beat a dead horse this week, because sometimes when a 
horse won't move, you beat it ... even if it appears dead. Sometimes 
they wake up and move.

But sometimes they're Kimberly Yee.

Kimberly is an Arizona state senator from the edge of Phoenix. She 
represents a privileged few in Glendale and its environs. I say a 
privileged few, because I don't think she represents most of her 
district by a long shot. She represents the minority of 
neo-conservatives who want the government out of their business, but 
not necessarily yours.

Yee has spent some of your tax money and her time and effort lately 
fighting against your wishes. She has introduced several 
cannabis-restricting bills in the past two years, but she most 
recently earned the scorn of cannabis advocates, patients and doctors 
statewide by blocking funds for PTSD research.

A few weeks ago, UA Professor Sue Sisley, M.D. cleared a major hurdle 
toward a clinical trial of cannabis in the treatment of 
post-traumatic stress disorder. Sisley wants to give 50 veterans 
cannabis to see how it eases their struggle against PTSD, and an 
important arm of the federal government recently gave its blessing. 
Though Sisley still needs Drug Enforcement Administration approval, 
this latest approval is important to her Food and Drug Administration 
approved work.

But Yee would have none of it. She effectively hampered the study by 
blocking use of funds raised by the state medical marijuana program 
to pay for the study. She wants the several millions of dollars in 
the fund to go toward keeping kids off cannabis.

Last week, the Arizona Veteran's Assistance Committee registered its 
complaint with Yee by launching a recall petition. It's a long-shot. 
The group, which is backed by the state chapter of the National 
organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), will have to get 
more than 18,000 signatures of registered voters by August to put the 
recall on the November ballot.

It's kind of sad when doctors and veterans have to fight their own 
government to get what they need and what much of the rest of the 
world-and other medical marijuana states-already understand: That 
cannabis helps relieve many of the symptoms of PTSD, including 
anxiety, depression, insomnia and others.

And the state has obstinately refused to hear any of this. Not only 
is Yee trying to block Sisley, state Department of Health Services 
Director Will Humble has twice rejected PTSD as a qualifying ailment 
under the AMMA. Despite the pleas from veterans, adults who were 
abused as children and others, Humble still isn't seeing the light.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not a Humble hater. The man has done a 
fairly astounding job making things work under the AMMA. I suspect 
Humble has endured pressures beyond most of our comprehension from 
Gov. Jan, Bill Montgomery and other cannabis supressors in state 
government. I wouldn't want his job.

But the bottom line is that this issue is bigger than Will Humble or 
Jan Brewer or Kimberly Yee or you or me, and we should all step aside 
in unison and let veterans get the help they deserve. Yee can start 
this ball rolling by letting funds go forward for Sisley's study. 
Then Humble can get the science he wants to see showing PTSD can be 
treated with cannabis.

Then maybe we could actually treat it, instead of watching as our 
veterans commit suicide or worse while in the throes of a horrible illness.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom