Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being sued over a federal prohibition on medical marijuana. 12-year-old Alexis Bortell of Colorado is suing him, as she claims the prohibition is unconstitutional.
Currently classified as a Schedule I drug, marijuana has the same classification as heroin, and would be considered more dangerous than substances like cocaine, methamphetamine and the opioid fentanyl.
Bortell and others say that marijuana has some medical benefits, and that the current federal prohibition does not take into account that marijuana can be safe if used for those purposes. Bortell uses a strain of cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope to control seizures brought on by epilepsy.
Doctors in her home state of Texas had brought up brain surgery for the young girl, but her family chose to move to Colorado instead, to take advantage of laws that would allow them to obtain cannabis oil to treat her.
A drop of the oil every morning and at night has kept her seizure-free for 2 1/2 years. “I’d say it’s a lot better than brain surgery,” Bortell told Fox 31 in Denver.
She said she hopes the lawsuit will help normalize medical marijuana, and possibly legalize it nationwide.
Marijuana is legal in 29 states, each with some form of medical marijuana allowance that lets doctors prescribe the drug to patients. The Justice Department’s approach to medical marijuana is directed by a congressional rider, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which does not allow the department to spend money to prosecute medical marijuana operations, as long as they comply with state law.
It’s up to the Drug Enforcement Administration to dictate the legal status of controlled substances. Last year, it announced plans to increase the supply of medical marijuana available to researchers. That may pave the way for the Food and Drug Administration to approve a non-synthetic marijuana-based drug.
Prior to the DEA’s ruling, the University of Mississippi was the only facility that could supply marijuana to researchers. In October, Sessions said he wants to see “more competition” among the medical marijuana growers who supply the samples.
Sessions has recently hinted at a crackdown on the newly emerging recreational marijuana industry.
— Alexis Bortell (@AlexisBortell) September 14, 2017