Jeff Sessions Sued Over Marijuana Scheduling

By Kelly Burch 07/27/17

A former NFL player, an Iraq war vet and a young girl with epilepsy are among the plaintiffs in the recently filed lawsuit.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

A former NFL player and four other plaintiffs are suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice over the scheduling of marijuana—claiming in their lawsuit that “classifying cannabis as a ‘Schedule I drug’ is so irrational that it violates the U.S. Constitution.” 

According to the New York Post, former New York Jets defensive end Marvin Washington is one of the plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act that classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance alongside heroin, LSD and other substances that are defined by the government as having no medical use and a high potential for abuse.

“The record makes clear that the CSA doesn’t make any rational sense and the federal government knows it,” said attorney Michael Hiller, who represents the plaintiffs. 

Washington is suing because marijuana’s Schedule I classification stops him from opening a business that would allow pro-football players to use medical marijuana for pain management rather than relying on opioids. His fellow plaintiffs include an 11-year-old girl who needs medical marijuana treatment for epilepsy, and a military veteran who uses the drug to control his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Washington is the co-founder of Isodiol Performance products, which sells hemp-based sports performance products that do not contain THC. He has been outspoken about the medical benefits of cannabis products. 

“One thing in football—ex-players, they are fed opiates and pharmaceuticals throughout the week, from training camp until the end of season. That can be June to January. It’s not normal,” Washington told the New York Daily News in June. “I think the Players Association should demand that [current players] have an alternative to opiates. This is scientific-based. This is not hocus pocus. That’s where I want to see this in the very near future, players that have an alternative to opiates and I would like CBD to be a part of that.”

The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment by the New York Post

Marijuana and the NFL have been making headlines together this year as the public and players become increasingly aware of the physical ailments that accompany a football career. Earlier this year the owner of the Dallas Cowboys reportedly urged owners to reconsider the league’s ban on marijuana. 

Lawsuits allege that teams within the NFL hand out massive amounts of opioid painkillers in order to keep players on the field. In May, a judge dismissed most of a lawsuit against the league, but allowed some portions of it to go ahead. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.