The legalization of medical marijuana has been steadily spreading into state laws across the country. Currently 29 states-including Arkansas-have legalized the drug for medicinal purposes. However, the use of medical marijuana still remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government. In states where medical marijuana is legal, this restriction makes it complicated for distributors and users alike to act within the law.
A recent lawsuit is making headlines in which 12-year-old Alexis Bortell is suing U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the legalization of marijuana. The lawsuit claims that the Controlled Substances Act-a federal policy that regulates controlled substance manufacturing and distribution-is unconstitutional with regards to cannabis.
Alexis suffers from a severe form of epilepsy known as “intractable epilepsy. After her parents exhausted all other prescription medications to treat her condition, they began treating her with a twice daily regimen of cannabis oil. The oil has enabled her to live seizure-free for the last three years. However, the switch to this form of medication has come at a high price.
Alexis and her family were forced to move from Texas-where medical marijuana is still illegal-to Colorado. Using medicinal marijuana is legal in Colorado, but because it is still a federal crime, Alexis is prohibited from using her medication on federal property. Alexis comes from a military family, but her condition prohibits her from participating in events or programs on military bases, because she needs her medication with her at all times. National Parks and Disney World are also off-limits. In addition, she can’t return home to Texas to visit her friends and relatives, because if she takes her cannabis with her, her parents could risk losing custody of her.
Alexis’ attorney hopes that the lawsuit will change the federal government’s stance on medicinal cannabis and give users the freedom to live healthy, productive lives anywhere in the United States.