The War on Drugs

Former NFL Player Sues Jeff Sessions Over Marijuana Prohibition


By Steve Birr

A former NFL player for the New York Jets is suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the federal government over the nation’s prohibition of marijuana.

Marvin Washington, who was drafted as a defensive end for the Jets in 1989, and four other plaintiffs are targeting Sessions, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration in an effort to decriminalize cannabis. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), passed in 1970, which places marijuana in the same category of narcotics like cocaine and heroin, reports the New York Post.

The lawsuit claims that “classifying cannabis as a ‘Schedule I drug,’ is so irrational that it violates the U.S. Constitution.”

“The record makes clear that the CSA doesn’t make any rational sense and the federal government knows it,” Michael Hiller, an attorney representing Washington and the other plaintiffs, told the New York Post.

Washington is suing for access to federal permits to open a marijuana business, which the CSA currently blocks due to the Schedule I classification. He hopes to open a dispensary that will tailor service to former athletes with chronic pain and other conditions, with the hope of moving many of those patients off addictive opioid painkillers.

Alexis Bortell, an 11-year-old who suffers from severe epilepsy, and Jose Belen, a veteran who uses medical marijuana to manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, are joining Washington in the suit.

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