Pro-pot group files to recall Arizona senator

Pro-pot group files to recall Arizona senator

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PHOENIX -

A group of activists pushing for research on medicinal marijuana have filed a petition to recall Arizona State Sen. Kimberly Yee.

The Arizona Veterans Assistance Committee filed to recall the Phoenix Republican after she blocked legislation that would have allowed the University of Arizona to use a state fund for medical marijuana research. Yee refused to hear House Bill 2333 in the Senate Committee on Education.

The bill would have allowed the state to pay for some of the research into marijuana as a treatment for military veterans with PTSD. The bill had bipartisan support when the Arizona House of Representatives approved it March 10.

Yee says no state money should be used for the research.

"The money was put aside for this research from our general fund, from the Arizona medical marijuana program and so it's not even taxpayer dollars and we really need this research because were losing 22 of our soldiers every day in America to PTSD symptoms.  They're taking their own life.. suicide.. 22 a day is too much and when we have this natural medicine that they can use as an alternative to the pharmaceuticals that our trusted doctors are giving them which are triggering these symptoms and having them commit suicide, we want to help," said Kathy Inman, state director for NORML in Arizona.

The group has until August 2 to turn in 18,297 signatures.

Yee told FOX 10 last month that she would prefer money made from the sales of medical marijuana cards to go toward a campaign urging young people not to smoke pot.

Statement for Senator Yee on HB 2333:

"It is unfortunate that the supporters of HB 2333 have decided to distort the intent of the bill and the reason I did not hear this bill in the Senate Education Committee.  I am not opposed to university research to assist veterans.  In fact, last year I was the lead sponsor of the legislation that even allowed for such research to occur at the University of Arizona, working with veterans and researchers around the table to make sure that bill passed. 

Because of my concerns about limited state funds, I received assurances from those supporting such research that funds would come from the federal government or private donations and that no state money would be used.  Today, they have turned their story around and have broken their promise.  My voting record shows I support veterans and research.  This is about how we should use limited state resources and be wise stewards of our taxpayer dollars.

As policymakers, we have to ask if this takes us down the path of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona.  The bill I proposed this year, SB 1389, using those same funds would educate our youth about the dangers of recreational marijuana and pay for public service announcements to prevent drug abuse. 

I am currently working with those in our Senate chamber to determine the best legislative solution for this issue before we end our legislative session.  Until those discussions are finalized, I cannot go into further details at this time."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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