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Lawsuit Against Jeff Sessions Could Force Marijuana Legalization

Lawsuit Against Jeff Sessions Could Force Marijuana Legalization

Latoya Jackman
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The lawsuit against Jeff Session could be the one to push marijuana legalization.

On Wednesday, Justice Department attorneys took on the task of trying to banish a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Many supporters and experts hovered in federal court in New York to witness the outcome. The case involves five different plaintiffs: the Cannabis Cultural Association, a not-for-profit devoted to stopping the war on drugs and advancing people with color in the cannabis business. Jose Belen, a war veteran who utilizes cannabis to treat his PTSD, Alexis Bortell and Jager Cotte, both pediatric medicinal marijuana patients and Marvin Washington, a previous New York Jet-now cannabis small business owner.

Throughout the years’ many disputes have occurred related to marijuana being listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. On Wednesday, Judge Alvin Hellerstein contemplated on the Justice Department’s motion for the dismissal of the suit. In retrospect, this lawsuit is an example of how far the issue of marijuana legalization has to go, but also how far it has grown.

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Dean Bortell with his 11-year-old daughter, Alexis, one of the medical marijuana patients suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Samuel Dolinger, Assistant U.S. Attorney, presented the case study U.S. vs. Kiffer which asserted marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. On this basis alone he believes the case should be dismissed.

 “Courts around the country have considered similar or identical claims and have rejected them.”

Judge Hellerstein and Attorney Dolinger spent a significant amount of time discussing the case.

Michael Hiller, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, told the press after the hearing that the case that was brought up was from 1973, a case that the history of it is not concrete information. he stated that Attorney Dolinger quoted many developments that occurred since 1973, for example, the Investigational Drug Program and Nixon’s Schafer Commission.

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“There is a well-established body of case law that when the facts change, the courts have to change too.”

He continued saying  “If you only decided case law based on what people thought years before, we would never have Brown vs Board of Education… We would never have Windsor. We wouldn’t have marriage equality.”

The environment in the court mirrored the circumstances, where marijuana should no longer be a Schedule 1. Without a doubt, although there were many other opportunities to challenge cannabis’ Schedule I status has fallen, the view may be different in this circumstances. Supporters and experts of cannabis stood firm in huge numbers, filling the court and spilling into the corridor. They chuckled and cheered when Judge Hellerstein barbecued Attorney Dolinger, who apparently attempted to answer some of his inquiries. They sneered when Dolinger referred to Kiffer, recommending that cannabis’ Schedule I status “was constitutionally rational.”


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