Last year the Southern District Court of New York threw out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Schedule I classification of cannabis on the grounds that the plaintiffs had not exhausted the administrative remedies – a petition process through the Drug Enforcement Agency – before filing their suit. However, Thursday a federal appeals court decided that, while they agree with the lower court’s assessment, they will keep the case open so that it can take action against the Drug Enforcement Administration if it fails to change the legal status of cannabis in a reasonable amount of time, Marijuana Moment reports.
“It is conceivable that, in response to a petition from Plaintiffs along the lines advanced before us now, the DEA would reschedule marijuana, rendering the current case moot. And if the DEA did not, the administrative process would generate a comprehensive record that would aid in eventual judicial review.” – U.S. Circuit Court Judge Guido Calabresi, in the majority opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the first Court to refuse to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act.
The Washington v. Barr case, filed in July 2017, has attracted national attention, as advocates have lined up behind the Plaintiffs who have argued that the classification of Cannabis as a Schedule I substance is unconstitutionally irrational, and violates the Equal Protection Clause, the Commerce Clause, Substantive Due Process, the Right to Preserve One’s Health and Life, and the Rights to Free Speech and Travel.
Alexis Bortell, who used to live in Texas is one of the people at the forefront of this fight. Alexis is not your ordinary 11-year-old girl. At the age of seven, Alexis began having seizures and was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. After two years of doctor visits, tests, ER visits, and pill after pill, all with their long list of negative side effects, her family gave up on traditional pharmaceutical options to stop her “seizure monster.” At that point, they turned to the last known “safe” option available: cannabis.
Cannabis provided Alexis immediate relief from her seizures, but the CBD-only cannabis extract, that she could legally get in Texas, did not stop the seizures from coming. Her form of epilepsy, along with so many other patients like her, responds best to whole-plant medical cannabis. Now, forced to move from her home state of Texas or face prison, her family fled Texas’ war on patients to seek life-saving treatment in Colorado. There, Alexis was thrust into a very grown-up world and joined a largely unknown community of cannabis patients known as, “Medical Marijuana Refugees.”
Alexis has now gone more than two years seizure-free using whole-plant medical cannabis. She has settled into her new adopted home state of Colorado and continues to advocate for patient freedom for all patients. Alexis has made it her mission to break the marijuana stigma and make medical cannabis a dinner table conversation, which led her to authoring her first book. “Let’s Talk About Medical Cannabis,” launches on April 20, 2017. In the book, she shares her and her family’s experiences as medical refugees and gives readers an inside perspective of her cannabis community.
Alexis’s drive to help those around her has led to her newest project, “Patches of Hope.” She and sister Avery are growing USDA certified organic garden vegetables on their family farm to donate to hungry people in need, including her beloved cannabis refugee community. Her story and advocacy has been featured in documentaries, newspapers, magazines, TV, and on radio stations worldwide.
Alexis is the tip of the spear and could of just possible opened the flood gates for the cannabis revolution nationwide. She supports whole plant access! “I do not support rescheduling, only descheduling.” Alexis said in a recent tweet.
Joseph A. Bondy, an attorney who is working on the case, told Marijuana Moment that his team will be looking to draft a petition for DEA to take action on cannabis scheduling and, while the court didn’t give DEA a timeline for acting, Bondy said 180 days seemed fair.
If DEA fails to comply, Bondy indicated the court could take action including “compelling them to act” or issuing a writ of mandamus – which would put sanctions on the agency.