Yet another high-profile Alabama Republican found himself in legal trouble this week. The Hill reported Saturday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been named in a lawsuit filed by a 12-year-old girl in Colorado over what the suit claims is “an unconstitutional federal prohibition on medical marijuana,” writes Max Greenwood.
More from The Hill report:
Alexis Bortell, who uses a strain of cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope to keep seizures at bay, told Fox 31 in Denver that she hopes the lawsuit will at least normalize medical marijuana. Her best hope, she said, is that it will legalize it nationwide.
Sessions has been an ardent crusader against Marijuana since his days as a U.S. attorney in Alabama in the 80s. He once said – jokingly, he now insists – that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was, “OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
In March of this year, as Trump’s Attorney General, he gave a speech to law enforcement officials doubling down on his anti-marijuana stance.
“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
Despite the wave of voter-approved legalization initiatives passing in multiple states across the country in recent years, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level. This means Washington considers it as dangerous as heroin, and more dangerous than cocaine, methamphetamine, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Bortell’s parents had to move from Texas to Colorado just so she could receive the cannabis oil legally. Colorado was among the first states to legalize recreational marijuana when it passed Amendment 64 in 2012, but medicinal marijuana has been legal in other states for some time.
Researchers have developed new cannabis-based treatments that have improved the quality of life for people fighting a myriad of afflictions. Children like Alexis Bortell in particular, who suffer from crippling seizures and other debilitating conditions like epilepsy, have seen near-miraculous levels of improvement. Even medical experts are now calling for broad legalization to explore cannabis’ potential.
Marijuana rights activists have long feared that Sessions’ zealotry on this issue could thwart the progress made on this front. Despite medical marijuana’s legal status in 29 states and Washington, D.C., the Schedule 1 classification continues to bar researchers from advancing cannabis-based medicine any further, leaving the promise of more breakthroughs firmly in the distance.