Twelve-year-old sues Jeff Sessions over marijuana

US general attorney Jeff Sessions is being sued over medical marijuana.
US general attorney Jeff Sessions is being sued over medical marijuana policy. Photo credit: File

A 12-year-old girl is suing US attorney general Jeff Sessions over medical marijuana.

Alexis Bortell was diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age. When her condition worsened and traditional medicine didn't help, her family made the drastic decision to move to where Alexis could access medicinal cannabis. 

"As the seizures got worse, we had to move to Colorado to get cannabis because it's illegal in Texas," Alexis told Fox 31 Denver.

After the family moved to Larkspur, Colorado, Alexis began using a strain of cannabis oil called 'Haleigh's Hope' which has kept her seizure-free for two and a half years. While thrilled with her new-found health, Alexis was devastated that she would be unable to return to Texas to visit family because of the federal prohibition on marijuana, which the state classifies as more dangerous than cocaine and on par with heroin.

"How is that rational? It's not compassionate either, but rationality? It's just outrageous," said Alexis' dad, Dean Bortell, who grows marijuana plants at the family home.

Alexis is one of five plaintiffs suing Mr Sessions, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration in federal court. They hope the end result of their lawsuit will be a nationwide legalisation of medical marijuana, which is currently legal in 29 states.

Alexis' attorney Michael Hiller says the government's stance on cannabis is "irrational and thus unconstitutional".

"The United States government maintains that there is absolutely no medical benefit for the use of cannabis," Mr Hiller told Fox 31 Denver. "That is of course absurd."

Mr Sessions, a conservative Southern Republican, has long opposed any move to make cannabis more accessible for any reason. 

"I've never felt that we should legalise marijuana," Mr Sessions told media at a press conference in September. "It doesn't strike me that the country would be better if it's being sold at every street corner."

Alexis said she hopes her lawsuit will help others see cannabis as an acceptable form of medication.

"We'll be able to be treated like what you call 'normal' families."