Medical Marijuana For PTSD Bill Faces GOP Challenge

March 21, 2014

(Photo by Stina Sieg-KJZZ)
Medical marijuana sales exploded in Arizona last year. Dozens of new dispensaries opened, like the Giving Tree in North Phoenix.

A Phoenix Republican lawmaker is using her power to kill House-approved legislation to fund medical marijuana research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

State Rep. Ethan Orr’s bill would allow money collected in fees from marijuana users and dispensaries to be used to study the impact of the drug on soldiers with PTSD. But State Sen. Kimberly Yee is refusing to even give the bill a hearing, saying that’s not the role of the state. 

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk sides with Yee.

“My focus is on the fact that our kids are using marijuana at a much higher rate. And it's increasing,” Polk said. She said the state’s medical marijuana law just confuses the situation.  

But Orr is frustrated and angry about Yee’s refusal to allow the bill to be heard.

“This should not be an ego battle. This should be a way to get good policy to the governor's desk," Orr said.

Orr said if Yee would hear the bill, she would find the measure contains some money to discourage illegal drug use, at least among people who are under 24 years old.