An 11-year-old former Rowlett girl who fought Texas’ marijuana laws and finally moved to pot-friendly Colorado because of a medical condition is suing the federal government, hoping to get cannabis legalized for medical use nationwide.
“Medical cannabis will help me,” Alexis Bortell told WFAA-TV more than two years ago, when she was nine. “It’s illegal in Texas, and we’re trying to change that.”
In a July 12 Facebook post, the Bortell family announced that Alexis had been seizure-free for 830 days, treating her epilepsy with only cannabis oil in Colorado.
Now she, and four other plaintiffs, are taking on the heavyweights in a lawsuit that names U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Agency and its acting director, Chuck Rosenberg.
The Controlled Substances Act is so irrational it’s unconstitutional when it comes to cannabis, say Alexis, her dad and the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says the act, as it pertains to pot, is unconstitutional because it denies the due process guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. One of the claims says the act “is so irrational as a matter of law that it cannot be said to be rationally related to any legitimate government purpose.”
Specifically, to be assigned a Schedule I classification, the federal government has to have determined that cannabis has a high potential for abuse; has absolutely no medical use in treatment; and cannot be used or tested safely, even under strict medical supervision.
The plaintiffs argue that the government knows cannabis does not meet these requirements and that the government “has admitted repeatedly in writing … that cannabis does, in fact, have medical uses and can be used and tested safely under medical supervision.”
The lawsuit’s goal is to reverse the drug’s Schedule I status and to clear the way for more medical research on the plant.
“It’s going to be interesting,” DFW defense attorney David Sloane said. “I’ve never seen a due process claim on this alleging the government’s law or regulation was baseless.”
For Alexis, winning could mean the ability to come back home to North Texas, and to legally get the treatments that are keeping her seizure-free in Colorado.
“Someday, I will come home to Texas,” she told the Dallas Observer at the Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo in February. “And when I do, I will bring all the Texas medical cannabis refugees back with me.”