12-year-old Texas native sues Sessions


Multiple advocates have filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming its Schedule 1 classification on marijuana is unconstitutional. Photo illustration by Jack Lamber/The Observer.

Eric Rosane, News Editor

Most 12-year-olds spend their days in school, playing video games or hanging with their peers outside during extra-curricular activities. For Alexis Bortell, however, she’s spent the last few months fighting Attorney General of the United States Jeff Sessions for federal marijuana rights.

Bortell grew up in Texas and was diagnosed with a form of epileptic seizures that ruptured her life at age seven. Bortell would spend most days in the nurse’s office due to the multiple seizures that she would have to fight through.

After years of taking a variety of FDA regulated medicines, all of which were unable to help Bortell with her seizures, her and her family decided to turn to medical marijuana. They then moved from Texas to Larkspur, Colorado, according to the case document.

This action, brought on not only by Bortell herself, but also former NFL defensive-end Marvin Washington and the Cannabis Cultural Association, aims to declare the CSA’s (Controlled Substance Act) ruling on marijuana as a schedule 1 drug as unconstitutional.

“Cannabis arose out of the enactment of legislation… and implemented and enforced at the federal level by those who have chosen to disregard its scientific properties and benefits, and have been motivated by hatred and outright bigotry,” the plaintiffs said in their case.

With the assistance of whole-plant cannabis, a high form of THC plant, Bortell has gone two years seizure free.

Bortell hopes to be able to attend college in her home state of Texas, but due to the state laws regarding medicinal marijuana in that state, she believes that she won’t be able to continue her marijuana therapy in that state.

Through Texas’s State Department of Education, Bortell would be able to receive free tuition for college. She would not be able to receive the same benefits if she were to go to a college in Colorado.

Plaintiff Jose Belen, a US Army Veteran, joins Bortell and Washington in their case against Sessions. Belen was deployed in 2003 to Kuwait during the invasion of Iraq. After returning home from war, Belen began to develop a form of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from when he served in Iraq.

Belen soon after began using medical marijuana as treatment for his PTSD, which stemmed primarily from seeing some of his platoon mates and fellow friends killed in action.

Under plans provided by the Veterans Administration, Belen claims that medical marijuana, or any marijuana-related treatment, is not covered. Therefore Belen would be unable to receive prescriptions for medical marijuana in order to treat his PTSD.

29 states currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana, whether it be medicinal or recreational.