When Alexis Bortell’s epilepsy didn’t respond to medication, she moved from Texas to Colorado so she could legally treat her seizures with medical cannabis. The 12-year-old has now been seizure-free for over two years, and is suing U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the nation’s medical cannabis policy.
Bortell, along with fellow plaintiffs Marvin Washington, a former NFL player and CBD business owner; a 6-year-old with Leigh’s disease and his father; a combat veteran with PTSD; and the Cannabis Cultural Association, are challenging marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs are drugs the federal government has deemed to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. In the lawsuit, filed in July in New York, the plaintiffs argue that cannabis does have medical value and thus the Schedule 1 classification is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit also argues that the current marijuana policy was motivated by the federal government’s desire to suppress Vietnam War protestors and African-Americans, and takes issue with the fact that current cannabis laws at the state level limit users’ ability to travel as medical cannabis is legal in only 29 states and D.C.
Sessions is named as a defendant along with acting director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Charles Rosenberg, the U.S. Department of Justice and the United States of America. So far, the defendants have lost their first motion to have the case dismissed.
Bortell told Fox31 Denver that she joined the lawsuit so she can travel to other states and still use her cannabis oil, and hopes the lawsuit will help normalize and legalize medical cannabis.
“We’ll be able to be treated like what you call ‘normal’ families,” she said.
Bortell’s father, Dean, grows marijuana in their backyard for his daughter and other patients, and said current marijuana policies are not compassionate or rational.
“When you look at it from a distance and you see it saving their lives, me as a father and an American, I go, what are we doing? How could you possibly look at someone who’s benefiting from this as a medicine and threaten to take it away?” Dean Bortell said.