Don't Terminate Marijuana Research In AZ -- Stand Up For Our Veterans!!
  • Petitioning Mark Killian

This petition will be delivered to:

Chair, Arizona Board of Regents
Mark Killian

Don't Terminate Marijuana Research In AZ -- Stand Up For Our Veterans!!

    1. Ricardo Pereyda
    2. Petition by

      Ricardo Pereyda

      Tucson, AZ

Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a faculty member and researcher at the University of Arizona, was informed that her positions would not be renewed last month, likely a result of her federally approved research into the treatment of PTSD with medical marijuana. On July 28th, they denied her appeal for reinstatement. As an Iraq War veteran diagnosed with PTSD and a proud University of Arizona alum, I'm outraged that the university has put politics before the care of our nation's veterans. 

When I returned from serving in Iraq, I suffered from severe post-traumatic-stress. I was prescribed a cocktail of prescription drugs from the VA for years; they didn’t help. In 2010, I began using marijuana exclusively to treat multiple symptoms of PTSD such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and severe panic attacks. The results have been profound, marijuana has helped me live a more full and productive life. 

I was ecstatic my school was going to house Dr. Sisley's study and find out just how marijuana works to alleviate PTSD symptoms. That was until I learned Dr. Sisley, the only person in the country who has federal approval to work with veterans and medical marijuana sourced from the federal government, was shown the door.

With no explanation for her termination given, it seems the University of Arizona fired Dr. Sisley for attempting to conduct research that may have caused backlash from state lawmakers. They let politics trump science, education, and veterans like me. Our nation's veterans are committing suicide at astonishing rates, 22 times every single day, and the University of Arizona has blocked research to help them? 

The Arizona Board of Regents must reinstate Dr. Sisley at one of our other public universities, providing her with the necessary space and resources she needs to conduct her research. Her study could mean life or death for many veterans. “Bigger Questions, Better Answers,” is the motto The University of Arizona has failed to live up to — let’s see if Northern Arizona University or Arizona State University can.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please sign my petition, the lives of many veterans may very well depend on it.

Recent signatures



      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer

      This is it.

      The last opportunity to appeal to the Arizona Board of Regents to do the right thing by our Nation's Veterans.

      Here is my statement to them, which I will be reading directly to them in person this morning:

      My name is Ricardo Pereyda.

      As an MP, I was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 from 2004, to 2005 where I performed missions of a wide variety. I patrolled the city of Baghdad and its surrounding areas daily, completing numerous combat missions under extremely hazardous conditions. Living under those conditions day and night for a year, I became accustomed to the realities of war. The violent, permanent nature of combat is not something one forgets, it stays with you. The stigma surrounding post-traumatic stress made me feel as though I could not approach my chain of command to let them know about the difficulties I was experiencing. Internalizing these feelings, my struggle began to manifest itself in the form of inexplicable fits of rage, intense panic attacks, insomnia, and an emotional numbness that is impossible to describe. In February 2006 I was diagnosed with severe post traumatic stress by the Army and VA. Before I knew it I had been labeled “non-deployable,” and was facing a long painful transition into “civilized society” as “damaged goods.” During the years immediately following my return from Iraq my symptoms began to worsen. My medicine cabinet rivaled the supplies of an emergency room, and I went through nearly every conventional treatment program the Tucson VA had to offer, even staying in their psychiatric ward when things got too heavy.

      Desperate for something to invest myself in, I applied for enrollment at the University of Arizona in 2009. My application was accepted and I began classes under the G.I. Bill in the spring of 2010. Finally, I was able to reconnect with the world around me. I became heavily involved with the U of A’s Student Veterans Organization where I helped plan, implement and track the student-first model of veteran reintegration that the school is nationally known for. Also, I led a project for three years in the U of A’s Student Union expanding a permanent memorial to our nation’s fallen service members — adding 5 bronze art pieces, 4 plaques, and a large quote which reads, "To All Who Put Themselves In Harm’s Way — Then, Now, Always.” This and much more was achieved while I medicated with cannabis, the only medicine that really worked for me. Before I began to medicate with cannabis I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to overcome the debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Now, I’m able to be of service to my brothers and sisters who are facing similar issues in their transitions.

      Dr. Suzanne Sisley is a highly respected clinician, faculty member, and researcher at The University of Arizona. She is also the Principle Investigator of proposed research intended to shed light on how cannabis works to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress. In June she was informed her contracts at the school would not be renewed, and in July the U of A denied her appeal for reinstatement without providing an explanation. It appears Dr. Sisley was fired for attempting to conduct controversial research that caused a political backlash from our hyper-conservative state lawmakers. Our nation's Veterans are committing suicide at astonishing rates — nearly one per hour — and so-called leaders in Arizona are intentionally blocking life saving research. What a shameful situation.

      I challenge this Board to live up to your Mission and Vision statements. Veterans just like me are killing themselves every day. Please, find a home at Arizona State University for this critical study.

    2. Help complete vital research for vets with PTSD

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you for standing with me as Dr. Sisley fights for the freedom to conduct her research into marijuana for veterans with PTSD.

      MAPS—the non-profit sponsor of Dr. Sisley's study—is raising funds to complete the world's largest-ever clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for veterans with PTSD, and we can help. They're already over halfway to their goal!

      We need to support research into better treatments for veterans using every means possible. Donating to this campaign and sharing it widely is the best way I know to stand behind our support for Dr. Sisley.

      Please join me today in making a contribution to the campaign and sharing it widely.

      Thank you!

      Ricardo Pereyda

      Legalizing Psychedelic Therapy

      Complete research needed to make psychedelic therapy a legal treatment

    3. Estimate Of 22 Veterans Committing Suicide Every Day May Be Too LOW!!

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      Why suicide rate among veterans may be more than 22 a day

      (CNN) -- Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That's a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher. The figure, released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in February, is based on the agency's own data and numbers reported by 21 states from 1999 through 2011.

    4. August 11, 2014: 22 Veterans and 1 Robin Williams.

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      22 Veterans and 1 Robin Williams

      By Kerry Patton The moment news broke about the passing of Robin Williams, my heart dropped. The guy was a legend in the entertainment industry and a die-hard fan of the United States military. Interestingly, Mr. Williams succumbed to what 22 veterans each and every day fall victim to-suicide.

    5. Our Campaign Featured in The New York Times!!

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      Medical Marijuana Research Hits Wall of U.S. Law

      Lance Murphey for The New York Times Nearly four years ago, Dr. Sue Sisley, a psychiatrist at the University of Arizona, sought federal approval to study marijuana's effectiveness in treating military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. She had no idea how difficult it would be.


      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      MAPS Email Newsletter

      Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.MAPS furthers its mission by: Developing psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines; Training therapists and working to establish a network of treatment centers; Supporting scientific research into spirituality, creativity, and neuroscience; and educating the public honestly about the risks and benefits of psychedelics and marijuana.

    7. Reached 100,000 signatures
    8. Our Campaign Featured on NBC News!

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      Pot Researcher Firing Unleashes Rising Veteran Backlash - NBC News

      A physician with federal approval to test if pot can treat PTSD became a scientist without a lab Tuesday after the University of Arizona refused to reverse her firing, and her private funders vowed to move her study to another college. But the termination of Dr. Sue Sisley already was fueling a larger backlash.


      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer

      First and foremost, thank each and every one of you for taking a stand with me in this fight. On July 28th, The University of Arizona denied Dr. Sisley's appeal to be reinstated so she could conduct this badly needed research. In the hopes of keeping this study in Arizona, and limiting any further delays, I have shifted the focus of this petition to the Arizona Board of Regents.

      The ABOR can still keep this study on track, if they can identify another public institution to house it. I want to encourage them to do the right thing, and having thousands of emails flooding their inbox may just do the trick. Please join me in my renewed efforts to see this study take place and help me spread the word.

      Thank you!

      MAPS Media Archive: PRESS RELEASE: Dr. Sue Sisley Seeks New Study Location; UA Denies Appeal for Reinstatement

      July 29, 2014 PRESS RELEASE: Dr. Sue Sisley Seeks New Study Location; UA Denies Appeal for Reinstatement MAPS On July 28, 2014, the University of Arizona denied Dr. Sue Sisley's administrative appeal for reinstatement ( view the letter).

    10. Reached 75,000 signatures
    11. Arizona Public Media/NPR Features our Campaign!

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      Medical Marijuana for PTSD Study May Move from UA

      Listen: Download as MP3 University of Arizona officials say they want to continue a study of medical marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder, despite recently firing the lead researcher. But the nonprofit in charge of the research says it might move the study elsewhere.

    12. National News Wire Service, Associated Press, Features Our Campaign!

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      Fired Professor Isn't Giving Up On Marijuana Research

      Posted: Print Article TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Veterans, medical marijuana activists and scientists welcomed the first federally approved research into pot as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. But their hopes for the research were dashed when the University of Arizona fired researcher Suzanne Sisley, who undertook the study after clearing four years of bureaucratic hurdles.

    13. Our Campaign Featured on CNN!

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      Medical marijuana research stalls after Arizona professor is let go

      (CNN) -- A well-known medical marijuana researcher at the University of Arizona says a study she's been planning for four years has cost her her job. Dr. Sue Sisley, a clinical assistant professor in the college of medicine, has been with the university for nearly eight years in several capacities.

    14. Reached 50,000 signatures
    15. Our campaign Featured on VICE NEWS!

      Ricardo Pereyda
      Petition Organizer
      Meet the Researcher Who Was Fired After Trying to Give Weed to Veterans | VICE News

      Dr. Sue Sisley, a psychiatrist overseeing the only approved study in the country to investigate the efficacy of medical marijuana in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, was dismissed a couple of weeks ago from her position at the University of Arizona.

    16. Reached 25,000 signatures



    Jul 22, 2014

    Study Cannibas for Vets!

    Pam Grier


    Jul 22, 2014

    University of Arizona: Don't terminate medical marijuana research! via @Change

    Lindsey Shaw


    Jul 16, 2014

    Petition To Reinstate Marijuana Scientist Gets Thousands Of Signatures

    Drug Policy Alliance


    Jul 13, 2014

    Take Action! University of Arizona: Don't terminate medical marijuana research! via @Change

    Sensible Drug Policy


    Jul 22, 2014

    Please sign! @MAPSnews: to reinstate #marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley at @UofA! #PTSD #AZ

    Dr. Bronner's


    Jul 22, 2014

    Join over 53,000 people—Sign a petition to reinstate #marijuana researcher Sue Sisley at @UofA


    Reasons for signing

    • Kyle J. Merriam SYRACUSE, NY
      • 1 day ago

      Our veterans deserve help.

    • Susan Rockey LUBBOCK, TX
      • 2 days ago

      Our veterans deserve every chance for relief and if medical marijuana is the answer, then give it to them!

    • Cathey Thoomas DRIFTWOOD, TX
      • 2 days ago

      Basic human decency.

    • Frank Bish SANTA ROSA, CA
      • 2 days ago

      natural medicine

    • tammy cook HUBBARDSVILLE, NY
      • 3 days ago

      I believe that anything that will help our veterans is important and its all natural.


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