US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has always been a hardliner against cannabis usage. Ever since he was a senator from Iowa, Sessions has been a vocal opponent of decriminalizing cannabis for medical purposes. After assuming office as attorney general, he vowed to take measures to prosecute providers and users of medical marijuana with federal powers.
The threat has not been lost on many people who rely on cannabis for medical purposes.
Alexis Bortell, a 12-year-old from Colorado, is now taking the attorney general and his Controlled Substance Act to court, claiming the federal ban is unconstitutional, reports NBC.
When she was a young child, Alexis was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, which could only be eased with medical cannabis. Her father Dean Bortell took the family and moved to Colorado where cannabis oil is legal. Their home state Texas has strict laws against cannabis usage.
Since Alexis has started taking cannabis oil, extracted from plants grown by her father over three acres of land, she has not had a single episode of epilepsy in over two years. Her lawsuit is rooted in fear - because she is afraid of being prosecuted if she goes to visit her grandmother in Texas.
The lawsuit also has additional plaintiffs in Marvin Washington, a former NFL lineman; Jose Belen, an Army veteran; and Jagger Cotte, a 6-year-old Georgia boy with Leigh syndrome, all of whom use medicinal cannabis, according to Newsweek.
At the heart of the lawsuit is that while 29 states and three US territories have cleared cannabis for medical use, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s schedule (created in 1971), it means cannabis has “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD.