Doctor tours Missouri to support medical cannabis research


ST. LOUIS – A research doctor studying medical cannabis says suffering Missourians need more treatment options. Her tour of the state begins today, with a keynote address sponsored by the Washington University School of Medicine Department of Anesthesiology.

“The VA and other government officials claim they want more data on cannabis use to help veterans,” said Dr. Sue Sisley, principal investigator of an Arizona-based clinical trial of medical cannabis for intractable PTSD. “If they truly want more data, they need to expand access to medical cannabis so it can be studied just like every other experimental treatment. I so appreciate Dr. Neely’s leadership on this issue.”

Dr. Jim Neely, one of four conservative physicians serving in the Missouri state legislature, has been working to legalize medical cannabis by expanding a 2014 law he passed.

This year, two Missouri House committees overwhelmingly approved Rep. Neely’s proposal. The bill did not receive final passage, but will be reconsidered in 2018.

“Missourians fighting for their lives don’t have time to wait for the FDA to approve investigational treatments that contain cannabis,” said Rep. Neely, a physician and Republican State Representative from Cameron. “We need to do everything we can as a State to give more choices to people struggling with terminal-illnesses.”

New Approach Missouri, a Missouri-based pot promotion organization, is pushing an initiative petition to legalize medical marijuana. Unlike Rep. Neely’s bill, their proposed constitutional amendment would restrict the number of licenses granted to businesses, and instead permit Missourians to grow marijuana at home.

Two other medical cannabis initiative petitions have been filed with the Missouri Secretary of State. Another initiative petition that completely ends cannabis prohibition has also been approved for circulation. “We applaud Representative Neely’s compassionate effort to expand Missouri’s Right to Try law,” said Frank Burroughs, President of The Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs. “There are FDA approved clinical trials underway to further test medical marijuana in various illnesses, but too many patients are left without access to those trials under our current laws.”

Dr. Sisley’s tour will also include three other public events across the state, which are sponsored by Better Way Missouri, a political action committee that supports legislative action on medical cannabis.