Is it true that a 12-year-old girl could help end pot prohibition? According to the latest reports, the answer is yes. The girl in question is Alexis Bortell, and up until recently, she had been suffering daily seizures. But now, because of her life-saving medication, she finds herself trapped in Colorado.
Meet Alexis Bortell
Twelve-year-old Alexis Bortell is an eloquent and precocious sixth grader living in Colorado. In addition to her school work and social life, she enjoys all of the activities that are typical of preteen girls: authoring a book, going on speaking tours and challenging the federal government.
Born in Texas, Bortell has a debilitating form of epilepsy that caused her to suffer daily seizures.
The medicine that her doctors had prescribed came with awful side effects that, according to Bortell, were worse than the actual disease. The maximum time that Bortell could be seizure-free was a grand total of three days. Her education suffered because of frequently missed classes. She and her parents were getting desperate. Her doctors were at a loss. They even suggested an “experimental lobotomy” to achieve just the chance of some relief.
Rather than radical brain surgery, her parents decided to move the family from Texas to Colorado to pursue a different approach: medical marijuana.
Bortell now takes Haleigh’s Hope cannabis oil orally twice a day and carries with her an oral THC spray to self-administer the medicine in the event of a warning sign of a seizure, called an aura. Kind of like a rescue inhaler.
Since starting her regimen of medical cannabis, Bortell experiences auras once a month at most. She has not had a seizure in over two years.
Because Bortell’s parents relocated the family from Texas to Colorado, she is able to access the medicine that she needs to survive and thrive. It should come as no surprise that ever since she started using medical marijuana, her quality of life has dramatically improved.
But there’s a catch: she can’t leave Colorado.
Bortell needs to keep her emergency THC spray on hand at all times. Because of federal laws prohibiting the transportation of cannabis—even with a prescription—across state lines, Bortell is essentially trapped in Colorado.
Last year, she was invited to lobby in Washington, D.C. with NORML, but she had to Skype in instead. And even if she were able to travel with her medicine, federal prohibition would make it a federal offense to bring it to federally owned land.
So how is it that a 12-year-old girl could help end pot prohibition?
She’s suing the federal government. She, along with four other plaintiffs, have brought a lawsuit against the feds.
The suit states that the Controlled Substances Act violates constitutional rights. Bortell, who is now the face of the thousands of children who would benefit from medical cannabis, is represented by the attorney Michael Hiller.
He’s calling it a civil rights issue.
The other lawyers involved in the case agree. They assert that the Controlled Substance Act is an infringement upon First Amendment rights. Particularly the right to travel and the right to petition the government.
In the lawsuit, they will also address the issue that the prohibition of cannabis is based on lies and racism.
Hit: A 12-Year-Old Girl Could Help End Pot Prohibition
The other four plaintiffs involved in the law are as follows: Jose Belen, a veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder; the Cannabis Cultural Association, a nonprofit representing people of color in the legal cannabis industry; Jagger Cotte, a six-year-old with Leigh’s Disease who uses medical marijuana; and former football player Marvin Washington, who now has a CBD business.
Logic, science and the most basic sense of right and wrong are on their side.
But will they win?
They’re not only fighting for their lives–they’re fighting for the lives of the thousands of other medical marijuana patients in the country. It looks like a 12-year-old girl could help end pot prohibition. But in this political climate, anything can happen. As updates roll in, we’ll keep you up to speed.
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