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Attorney General Jeff Sessions might be a little shocked at the latest lawsuit filed against the government.


Alexis Bortell’s lawsuit to legalize medical marijuana was inspired by her move to Colorado a few years ago, reports Denver’s FOX 31. The 12-year-old was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was a little girl. As her seizures became worse, her pediatrician told her about an out-of-state treatment that might aid her and make serious brain surgery unnecessary: medical marijuana. Her family took the information and left their home in Texas in search of cannabis.

“As the seizures got worse, we had to move to Colorado to get cannabis, because it’s illegal in Texas,” she said.

Once she resided in a state where access to medical marijuana is legal, Bortell was able to make use of a strain of cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope. Her daily schedule now consists of a drop of a cannabis oil in the morning and a drop at night, and it’s left her seizure-free for two-and-a-half years. Bortell said that the cannabis was “better than brain surgery.”

Though Bortell’s health improved, the federal prohibition of marijuana has proven to be a roadblock in other parts of her life.

“I would like to be able to visit my grandparents without risking being taken to a foster home,” she said, speaking of how she was currently unable to return to Texas due to federal drug laws.

As previously written in Rare:

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone and peyote. Schedule I drugs “have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence,” a descriptor that appears to apply less and less to marijuana as more research is performed. In fact, the argument that marijuana is a safer substance than legal alternatives is absolutely correct. Marijuana is approximately 114 times safer than the two most popular recreational drugs, which are mysteriously missing from the DEA’s list: alcohol and tobacco cigarettes.

Bortell’s father, Dean, criticized the federal ban as “outrageous.”

“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?” he asked.

Michael Hiller, Bortell’s lawyer, also criticized what he believed to be an inconsistency in the application of the “irrational” and “unconstitutional” Controlled Substances Act. Hiller said:

[The government] made a representation that cannabis has medical application for the treatments of Parkinson’s Disease, HIV-induced dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and yet at the same time, the United States government maintains that there is absolutely no medical benefit for the use of cannabis. That is of course absurd.

Bortell is not filing the lawsuit alone. She is joined by “another child, a military veteran, a marijuana advocacy group and former Broncos player Marvin Washington, who played on the 1998 Super Bowl-winning team,” according to FOX 31.

RARE POV: Jeff Sessions’ plan for asset forfeiture reform doesn’t go nearly far enough

Zuri Davis About the author:
Zuri Davis is a media writer for Rare. Follow her on Twitter @RiEleDavis.
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