A group of plaintiffs including former NFL defensive end Marvin Washington have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration, asking them to decriminalize marijuana.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York. Washington, who was a defensive end for the New York Jets, San Fransisco 49ers and Denver Broncos from 1989 to 1999, is joined by four other plaintiffs. They include Alexis Bortell, an 11-year-old whose family moved from Texas to Colorado so that she could receive medical cannabis as treatment for her epilepsy; Jagger Cotte, a 6-year-old from Georgia who uses medical cannabis to treat Leigh’s Disease; Jose Belen, a military veteran who uses marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder; and the Cannabis Cultural Association.
“The record makes clear that the CSA [Controlled Substances Act] doesn’t make any rational sense, and the Federal Government knows it,” says Michael Hiller, who is serving as the plaintiffs’ lead counsel for the case. “If the Federal Government doesn’t believe in the rationality of its own statute, it’s unconstitutional to enforce it.”
According to David Holland, co-counsel for the plaintiffs; “The efforts to criminalize cannabis are relatively recent and were largely underwritten by racial and ethnic animus”.
The goal of the lawsuit is to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, putting an end to a decades long policy of imprisoning those who use the plant.