Alexis Bortell may be just 12-years-old, but she’s well-educated on the benefits of marijuana. This is because the pre-teen hasn’t had a seizure (a side effect of epilepsy) in over two years, thanks to components of the cannabis plant. And unlike the pharmaceutical drugs doctors were recommending to her in Texas, cannabis alleviates her symptoms without delivering nasty side effects. Because Bortell has experienced the healing effects of the plant first-hand, she is suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to legalize marijuana for medicinal use nationwide.
Said the sixth grader, “As the seizures got worse, we had to move to Colorado to get cannabis because it’s illegal in Texas.” Bortell’s family had no choice, as doctors were recommending invasive brain surgery as a last resort to alleviate symptoms of epilepsy. Fortunately, they talked with a knowledgeable pediatrician and learned about medical marijuana.
Not long after moving to Larkspur, Colorado, Bortell’s family began using a strain of cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope. As KDVR reports, one drop of liquid THC in the morning and at night has kept Bortell seizure-free for 2 1/2 years. No mainstream medicine can boast the same results. “I’d say it`s a lot better than brain surgery,” Bortell said.
The federal prohibition on marijuana has limited Bortell’s freedoms, however. For instance, she cannot return to Texas because cannabis is illegal in the state. “I would like to be able to visit my grandparents without risking being taken to a foster home,” Bortell explained. This is why she has joined a lawsuit that seeks to legalize medical marijuana on the federal level. That would make it legal for medical use in all 50 states.
The stigma associated with using marijuana is lessening at a rapid pace. However, it is still illegal for millions of people to use in the United States. Since the 1970’s, the Drug Enforcement Agency has classified marijuana as a Schedule One drug — the same class as meth, cocaine, and heroin. This is a grave error, as marijuana has killed 0 people in the history of the Earth, is safer than pharmaceutical drugs, and has components which have been proven to remedy cancer. Alexis’ dad Dean Bortell agrees. He said, “How is that rationale? It’s not compassionate either, but rationality? It’s just outrageous.”
In their backyard, the family is cultivating five acres of marijuana. The herb will supply Alexis’ medicine, as well as other medical patients’. “When you look at it from a distance and you see it saving their lives, me as a father and an American, I go, what are we doing? How could you possibly look at someone who`s benefiting from this as a medicine and threaten to take it away?” Dean said.
So far, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. If you ask Alexis New York attorney, Michael Hiller, he’ll tell you the plant should be legal nationwide. “As it pertains to cannabis, the (Controlled Substances Act) is irrational and thus unconstitutional,” said Heller. The attorney added, the U.S. government “made a representation that cannabis has medical application for the treatments of Parkinson`s Disease, HIV-induced dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and yet at the same time the United States government maintains that there is absolutely no medical benefit for the use of cannabis. That is of course absurd.”
Alexis says she hopes the lawsuit will normalize medical marijuana, as well as legalize it. “We’ll be able to be treated like what you call ‘normal’ families,” she said.
The 12-year-old is not alone in her mission. Not only is she supported by her family, she is joined in the lawsuit by another child, a military veteran, a marijuana advocacy group, and former Broncos player Marvin Washington.
Keep an eye out for news about this case as it develops. The US government has already lost its first motion to have the case dismissed.