Federal Suit on Marijuana Features 12-Year-Old

Alexis Bortell, ex-NFLer among plaintiffs arguing for looser restrictions on the drug
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2018 12:08 PM CST
12-Year-Old Battles DOJ Over Federal Pot Ban
Dean Bortell kisses daughter Alexis as she waits to testify during a House committee hearing in Colorado on March 6, 2017.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Though there's no indication it'll be any more successful than the many complaints it follows, a federal lawsuit is challenging the Trump administration's policy of banning marijuana at the federal level—and is led by a 12-year-old girl. The case brought against the Justice Department by five plaintiffs—including Alexis Bortell, who uses medical marijuana to treat her epilepsy, and former NFL player Marvin Washington, who sells marijuana-based pain relievers—heads to a New York court on Wednesday, reports the New York Times. The case before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein has what Fresh Toast calls "immense promise" for pot advocates, as plaintiffs argue that current law classifying marijuana as among the most dangerous narcotics violates constitutional rights.

Filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan in July, the suit gained increased attention after Jeff Sessions last month opened up the option for prosecutors to enforce federal law in states where marijuana has been decriminalized. The lawsuit claims the Schedule 1 drug has been used by everyone from Thomas Jefferson, who apparently found it eased his migraines, to ancient Egyptians, who used it to treat eye sores and hemorrhoids, and is only banned based on efforts to target hippies and black Americans after the 1960s. The Cannabis Cultural Association, another plaintiff in the suit, argues "the Controlled Substances Act has been enforced against people of color exponentially more than Caucasians," a lawyer tells the Cannabis Business Times. (An enterprising Girl Scout took advantage of her state's marijuana laws.)

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