No Decision After Oral Arguments in Cannabis Lawsuit Against Jeff Sessions, U.S. Department of Justice

The lawsuit targets the Controlled Substances Act's definition of cannabis.

February 14, 2018

Oral arguments were provided in federal court today, in response to the federal government’s motion to dismiss Washington v. Sessions. The civil lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act and its definition of cannabis as a Schedule-I substance. Its lead plaintiffs are 12-year-old Alexis Bortell, whose family moved from Texas to Colorado to treat her epilepsy with medical cannabis, and former NFL player Marvin Washington, who has advocated for football players’ access to medical cannabis.

A spokesperson for Judge Alvin Hellerstein’s courtroom in the Southern District of New York confirmed to Cannabis Business Times that no decision was reached today. Whether an order may come in the next few days, the spokesperson was unable to say.

The Cannabis Cultural Association, a co-plaintiff in this case, alleges “the Controlled Substances Act has been enforced against people of color exponentially more than Caucasians,” attorney Lauren Rudick told CBT earlier this year, explaining the civil-rights undergirding of this case.

A message left with Rudick today was not immediately returned.

We’ll be following this case—as well as the Hemp Industry Association’s lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration, which will see oral arguments tomorrow in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court.