Today, a landmark moment happened in the history of the cannabis movement as the legal team from Hiller, PC and their colleagues from the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA) went to court for a hearing in a lawsuit against the federal government where they gave their oral statements to defeat the government’s motion to dismiss the case.
After hearing arguments from both sides in a Federal Court in New York City, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein did not make a decision. He stated that he needed more time to review the case. The plaintiffs are hoping to have a decision in the next couple of days.
Lauren Rudick is a partner in the Hiller, PC legal team and said, “We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support at the courthouse today, and were truly feeling the love on Valentine’s Day! There were so many advocates here and it means so much to us and this case. To us, this is a human rights issue with deep roots in social justice, and an issue we won’t stop at. One of the most important takeaways from the Judge is that he recognized that medical cannabis is in fact working for the plaintiffs in our case. This correlates directly with our complaint in the lawsuit.”
You can read the full text of the complaint, but essentially the lawsuit contends that the federal government is violating the plaintiffs rights to have access to their medicine. In their complaint, plaintiffs demonstrate that the government does not, and could not possibly, believe that cannabis meets the definition of a Schedule I drug, which is reserved for the most dangerous of substances, while cocaine and crystal meth are considered Schedule II drugs and are thus considered less addictive and less dangerous.
As you may know Hiller, PC filed this lawsuit in July, 2017. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as it pertains to cannabis. In a 90-page Complaint, attorneys representing five plaintiffs maintain that the CSA, in classifying cannabis as a “Schedule I drug,” is so irrational that it violates the U.S. Constitution. Among the other claims in the lawsuit are that the CSA: was enacted and implemented in order to discriminate against African Americans and to suppress people’s First Amendment rights; and that it violates their plaintiffs’ constitutional Right to Travel.
One of the plaintiffs is Alexis Bortell, a 12 year girl who uses a cannabis oil to prevent life-threatening epileptic seizures. She takes the oil orally twice a day, and always keeps a THC spray on hand in case she experiences a pre-seizure aura. Alexis did not have access to cannabis when she lived in Texas, and when doctors there were left with no other option than to suggest an experimental lobotomy, her parents moved to Colorado. They knew cannabis had to be better than removing a portion of Bortell’s brain. Thanks to cannabis medicine, she has now been seizure free for over 2 years, where in Texas she was lucky if she could go 3 days without one.
Other plaintiffs include retired NFL player and Super Bowl Champion, Marvin Washington, the Cannabis Cultural Association, whose membership includes many People of Color who contend that the CSA was enacted and has been enforced in a discriminatory manner, Jagger Cotte, a six-year old Georgia boy suffering from Leigh’s Disease, and disabled military combat veteran Jose Belen.
I look forward to following the next steps of this case…comment below and let me know what you are most interested in learning about it!