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Lawsuit From 12-Year-Old With Epilepsy Fighting Jeff Sessions' Policies Could Change National Marijuana Laws

“It’s the first time a young child who needs lifesaving medicine has stood up to the government to be able to use it,” said a lawyer.

By Eric Shorey

Alexis Bortell, a 12-year-old epileptic child, has successfully treated her medical condition with medical marijuana. Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled that he will be cracking down on the distribution and use of marijuana and has reversed the Cole memorandum, which encouraged leniency for marijuana users. Now, Bortell and four other medical marijuana users are launching a hefty lawsuit against the government in the hopes of legalizing cannabis under federal law.

According to The New York Times, the 98-page complaint carries with it a bevy of constitutional arguments for the legalization of pot. The suit also explores the history of the drug, ranging from its ancient applications through its criminalization to curb counter-cultural movements in the 60's and to Obama's reforms on the matter within the criminal justice system.

The legal arguments have employed some new strategies as well. For example: lawyers are attempting to argue that restrictions on marijuana have illegally restricted Bortell's right to travel with her medicine. 

It’s the first time a young child who needs lifesaving medicine has stood up to the government to be able to use it,” said Joseph A. Bondy, one of the lawyers who brought the suit. “It’s the first time that a group of young millennials of color has stood up to the government and said the marijuana law is wrong and has destroyed their communities.”

The suit also points out the hypocrisy of the government's current stances on cannabis usage. Despite being classified as a "pernicious" Schedule 1 drug with no medical usage, the the Department of Health and Human Services obtained a patent on compounds in the drug to use in the treatment of brain damage.

Lawyers arguing against the suit have characterized the motion "the latest in a long list of cases asserting constitutional challenges to marijuana regulation under the C.S.A. Those challenges have been uniformly rejected by the federal courts.”

The hearing for the case is scheduled for Wednesday in New York City. Bortell can not travel for the court hearing due to her medical condition and the illegality of her medicine in the state of New York. She will be video-phoned into the court.

We might not have been able to do this 10 or 15 years ago,” Bondy said. “But the climate is very different now.”

[Photo: Getty Images]

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