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NCBA Presents: Let's Make a Federal Case of It: Washington v. Sessions

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In July 2017, Hiller PC filed a lawsuit on behalf of multiple plaintiffs, challenging the "Schedule 1" classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act as so irrational that it violates the U.S. Constitution. CSA Schedule 1 is reserved for substances that have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse, and the suit alleges that Federal Government does not, and could not possibly, believe that cannabis meets Schedule 1's definition. The plaintiffs include:

  • Retired professional football player (and Super Bowl Champion) Marvin Washington, who desires, but is ineligible (due to the CSA) to obtain grants under the Federal Minority Business Enterprise program to open a business that would allow professional football players (among others) to treat opioid addiction and dependency with medical Cannabis.

  • 11-year old Alexis Bortell, who moved to Colorado from Texas so that she could treat her intractable epilepsy with medical cannabis, and who now cannot travel without her medicine.

  • Six-year old Jagger Cotte, who suffers from Leigh’s Disease and who uses medical Cannabis to control otherwise excruciating pain and to lengthen his life.

  • Disabled military combat veteran Jose Belen, who uses medical Cannabis to control his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • The Cannabis Cultural Association, whose membership includes many people of color that contend the CSA was enacted, and has been enforced, in a discriminatory manner.

Following the the February 14 hearing on a motion to dismiss (and the judge granting that motion) there is plenty to discuss, including the current posture of the case, next steps for the plaintiffs, and an analysis of the judge's decision.

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