The marijuana lawsuit against Jeff Sessions has officially come to an end. The objective of the lawsuit was simple. Deem the government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I Substance as unconstitutional. Only seems fair, right?
Apparently not to the powers that be.
Federal Judge Says There is No “Fundamental Right” to Use Marijuana
On Monday, the decision by a federal judge to dismiss the case was announced at the US District Court in Manhattan. The judge’s reasoning? He doesn’t have the authority to do what the plaintiffs were requesting.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein said that even if he had the authority to decide the issue, he would be forced to rule against the plaintiffs because there is no “fundamental right” to use marijuana.
Hellerstein did reiterate that his decision was not based on the legitimacy of medical cannabis. He said it “should not be understood as a factual finding that marijuana lacks any medical use in the United States.”
According to Reuters, Judge Hellerstein ruled that the lawsuit had to be dismissed because plaintiffs in the case failed to use administrative procedures within the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to challenge the ban.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they would appeal the decision.
Lawyers Plan to Appeal Judge’s Ruling
Michael Hiller is one of the lawyers representing those that filed the lawsuit. He says, “Resigning the plaintiffs to the petitioning administrative process is tantamount to a death sentence for those patients who need cannabis to live.”
The lawsuit has been making headlines since it was filed last July. One of the plaintiffs is 12-year-old Alexis Bortell, who uses medical cannabis to treat debilitating seizures. Jagger Cotte is a 7-year-old who suffers from Leigh Syndrome, a terminal neurological condition. Former Denver Broncos defensive end Marvin Washington is another plaintiff. So is Jose Belen, an Iraq War veteran who suffers from PTSD.
“The time has come,” Hiller said, “for the courts to abandon decades old precedent, notched with obsolete technicalities, and catch up with modern science and contemporary principles of common law.”
A Setback…Not the End
Jose Belen sees it as a setback, but not the end.
“Judge Hellerstein’s ruling is disappointing,” said Belen, “but it is just the beginning. My fellow plaintiffs and I will continue to stand strong for the veterans and countless Americans whose lives depend on access to medical cannabis. We are on the right side of history, and we will take this fight to the Supreme Court if necessary.”
Hiller says, “This case will continue to move forward. Notwithstanding the outcome of today, we remain confident that the final disposition of this case will include a finding that the classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional, freeing millions of Americans to safely treat their conditions with a plant that maintains their health and their lives.”