One person really can make a difference in this world, just not always for the better. Take for example Arizona State Senator Kimberly Yee, who's currently using her power to block state funding for a landmark clinical trial designed to “examine the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana” by studying military veterans suffering from treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“This bill will help a lot of people. Not just combat veterans, but people with chronic illness and pain who can’t find relief anywhere else. Whether you are for recreational use or against it, we should at least know what marijuana does. It’s research -- that’s all we are trying to do,” according to the bill’s sponsor, State Representative Ethan Orr.
A bill funding the study passed in the Arizona House by a vote of 52-5, with strong support from both Democrats and Republicans And the study has already won historic approval from both the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services, but Senator Yee says she's worried that the effort is really part of a grand scheme to legalize marijuana in Arizona, a policy she strongly opposes.
As chair of the senate education committee, Yee has so far been able to effectively block the bill from consideration by her colleagues. Despite the fact that Arizona has already collected more than $6 million in tax revenues through its medical cannabis program, money that's reserved by law for furthering the provisions of the program, including research and education.
Yee says she wants that money to go to drug-prevention efforts, instead of finding out if cannabis can help combat soldiers treat their PTSD.
“Our study paves the way for research that could make marijuana into a federally approved prescription medicine for PTSD,” says Rick Doblin, head of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a self-described non-profit pharmaceutical company. “We worked for 22 years to get permission to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse's monopoly supply. By refusing to consider HB 2333, Senator Yee is making it clear that she would prefer the research never to happen at all.”
Or perhaps she thinks cannabis is just too risky for American combat veterans to handle.