Life is tough for Attorney General Jeff Sessions these days.
His boss, President Donald Trump, recently threw him under the bus during a New York Times interview, saying if he had known that Sessions would remove himself from the Russia investigation, he would never have made him Attorney General. On Monday, Trump did it again, calling Sessions “beleaguered” and wondering why he was not investigating alleged ties between Russia and Hillary Clinton.
Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions faces an even tougher opponent in Marvin Washington. The 285-pound, 1.98-meter former New York Jets defensive end is one of five plaintiffs suing Sessions, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Justice in a groundbreaking federal lawsuit. Legal experts predict that the case will attract widespread attention and set a new legal precedent.
Federal Cannabis Policy
The Manhattan lawsuit attacks the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which categorized drugs into different schedules and established current federal drug policy. Under this legislation, marijuana is a classified as a Schedule I narcotic subject to the utmost restriction. With heroin, ecstasy, LSD and other drugs for company, federal law claims it has no accepted medical use and abuse potential is too high.
Listing marijuana in such a category is constitutionally unlawful. Other drugs, such as morphine and cocaine, enjoy Schedule II status, which means that although there is a high potential for people to abuse them, they are medically acceptable for use in some cases, albeit with restrictions. According to the lawsuit, classifying weed as a Schedule I drug is so irrational that it violates the U.S. Constitution.
Federal Marijuana Laws
Marvin Washington joined the lawsuit to fight existing federal marijuana laws. Current legislation is hampering his business objectives. He cannot get federal grants to start a company that manages pain among football players with medical marijuana, instead of addictive, often-lethal opioid prescription drugs. There are other plaintiffs too, with equally good reasons to sue.
Alexis Bortell, an 11-year old epileptic, needs medical cannabis to control his condition. Jose Belen, a disabled military veteran, uses marijuana to manage his post-traumatic stress disorder. They are also plaintiffs in this case and they represent the plight of millions of United States citizens in similarly precarious situations, who do not want to use killer pharmaceutical drugs.
States and Marijuana Laws
In recent years, several states in the U.S. have dropped laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in their jurisdictions. Medical use of cannabis is now legal in Washington DC and 29 other states. Under ex-U.S. President Barack Obama, the federal government did not attempt to prevent states from creating their own legislation to either decriminalize or fully legalize marijuana as they see fit.
However, since Sessions came to office, he has openly attacked the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment and taken a hard stance against cannabis users. A few weeks ago, he asked Congress to set aside Rohrabacher-Farr, which protects states from the federal government. Sessions want to remove these protections and allow the Department of Justice free reign to enforce federal law, even in legal states.
Led by Sessions, the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety is due to release a new DOJ report this week. Using federal funds in contravention of Rohrabacher-Farr, it will likely attempt to establish a link between violent crime and marijuana, as well as advocate enforcement and prosecution of anyone using, producing, or selling weed anywhere in the United States, even if it is legal in their state to do so.
Federal Marijuana Law a Crime against Humanity
Over the last two decades, and overwhelmingly the last few years, more and more evidence reveals the medical value of weed. Study after study uncovers a myriad of uses in the medical field. Marijuana effectively treats most common health problems, as well as many severe, and even terminal, diseases and conditions. Denying people the right to treat themselves with cannabis is as criminal as it gets.
Washington and his fellow plaintiffs are fighting this crime against humanity. Washington, who last played football in 1999 after a winning Super Bowl season with the Denver Broncos, has long been advocating the use of medical cannabis in the football industry. He even lobbied the NFL to promote the use of medical weed as a safer, more effective means of providing pain relief for players.