Former NFL star and Iraq veteran suing Jeff Sessions over 1970s cannabis law
A former NFL star and an Iraq War veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder have launched a suit against US attorney general Jeff Sessions over federal cannabis laws.
The pair have teamed with a group advocating the use of cannabis on medical and business grounds and are suing Sessions, the Department of Justice as well as the Drug Enforcement Agency.
In total, the five plaintiffs include former New York Jets football player Marvin Washington, US Army veteran Jose Belen, and an 11-year-old girl who suffers from epilepsy.
They all believe the 1970s Controlled Substance Act (CSA) signed into law by former US President Richard Nixon is unconstitutional.
My firm just sued the U.S. Gov't in a landmark case challenging the constitutionality of laws criminalizing cannabis. pic.twitter.com/O0Ztclg62L— Michael Hiller (@PremierNYAtty) July 24, 2017
Under the legislation, marijuana is said to be as dangerous as heroin and N-Ethyl-3-piperidyl benzilate, a chemical which acts on the central nervous system.
“The CSA has wrongfully and unconstitutionally criminalized the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis, which, historically, has been harvested to produce, among other things, medicine, industrial hemp, a substance known as tetrahydrocannabinol,” the suit states.
It adds: “Classifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, while ignoring the undeniable addictive and lethal chemical properties of nicotine and tar, which kill millions of Americans every year, renders this mis-classification of cannabis utterly irrational and absurd.”
The court documents reveal that Washington opposes the act because he fears it could damage his business of treating head injuries with cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, both components in marijuana.
Meanwhile, the other plaintiffs are seeking legalization of the drug for medical reasons, since they either live in states where marijuana is illegal, or are restricted from travelling with the drug.
In the case of Iraq War veteran Jose Belen, the suit argues that he has not been able to obtain treatment from the US Veterans Administration for his PTSD and“cannot safely” enter an airplane or federal building with the drug.
US Attorney General Jeff Session has previously highlighted his opposition to legalizing the drug on a federal level and once commented that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
The US Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Agency has yet to respond to the filing.