Washington (KDVR) — It’s taken three years for Alexis Bortell’s medical marijuana lawsuit to reach the Supreme Court of the United States, and there’s still no guarantee the high court will take the case. But on Friday, Oct. 9, SCOTUS is expected to meet behind closed doors to decide if it’s one of the cases that will be put on the docket for its 2021 term.
The now 15-year-old from Larkspur uses medical marijuana in the form of liquid drops three times a day. The medicine keeps her from having seizures caused by her intractable epilepsy.
Alexis’ seizures were so severe as a child that doctors in her home state of Texas recommended brain surgery.
Instead, her parents moved to Colorado, where they grow marijuana in their backyard used to benefit Alexis and others.
“I believe if I hadn’t taken cannabis, I don’t think I would be here today,” she said.
The Colorado teenager is part of a class-action lawsuit filed by New York attorney Michael Hiller.
“The misclassification of cannabis as Schedule 1 drug alongside such drugs as heroin is unconstitutionally irrational,” said Hiller.
The lawsuit points out the Department of Justice labels marijuana a dangerous drug but the Federal Drug Agency considers certain uses of medical marijuana to be a lifesaver. Hiller said the federal government is in a hopeless contradiction with itself.
“Federal government has a patent on medical marijuana attesting to how well it works and yet at the same time it is also saying under the Controlled Substances Act that there is no medical utility and no accepted benefits from marijuana in the United States. It just doesn’t make any sense. We really need the Supreme Court to step in on this,” he told FOX31.
In the meantime, Alexis can’t get on a plane to cross stateliness.
“I can’t go to Texas with my medicines, so I can’t visit my grandparents,” she said.
Alexis hopes the Supreme Court is willing to decide if the federal law makes any sense so she and others can lead what she considers a normal life, “and not be judged as criminals federally based on the medicine we have to take for own health and safety.”
It will take four justices to decide if the medical marijuana lawsuit is something the entire court should weigh in on.
A decision from the court is likely several weeks away.
If the court does decide to hear Alexis’ case, arguments would probably be heard in February or March with a decision to be released in June.
Currently, 33 states have legalized some form of marijuana and legalization is on the November ballot in five more states.