11-year-old Sues Federal Government to Legalize Medical Marijuana

According to a press release on Alexis Bortell’s Facebook page, the 11-year-old is suing the federal government. 

Alexis Bortell is a self-proclaimed medical marijuana advocate who was born and raised in North Texas before moving to Colorado to gain legal access to medical marijuana to treat her seizures. She has a following of over 22,000 fans on her Facebook page, which was formerly known as "Team Alexis" and is now simply called "Alexis Bortell."

Since starting treatment there, she has gone over 800 days without a seizure, has been featured in numerous documentaries, and has spoken at conventions and even written a book on the benefits and uses of medical marijuana. 

Alexis Bortell poses with Jason Cranford and the Haleigh's Hope plant. This is the strain Alexis's oil is made from, and Cranford is the man who makes it. Photo by Kristen Watson

Alexis Bortell poses with Jason Cranford and the Haleigh's Hope plant. This is the strain Alexis's oil is made from, and Cranford is the man who makes it. Photo by Kristen Watson

"Most Texas Legislators don't seem to care enough to fight for patients, so I will do it,” Bortell said. “I am only asking to be treated like everyone else and no one is listening to patients like me. Maybe now they will."

Her hope with this suit is to have medical cannabis reclassified. 

According to the press release, in the petition, the “plaintiffs demonstrate that the Federal Government does not, and could not possibly, believe that cannabis meets the definition of a Schedule I drug, which is reserved for the most dangerous of substances, such as heroin, LSD and mescaline.  By way of comparison, cocaine and crystal meth are considered Schedule II drugs and are thus considered less addictive and less dangerous.” 

Along with 11-year-old Alexis Bortell, those bringing the complaint forward include: retired Super Bowl Champion Marvin Washington, who hopes to open a business that allows players to treat with medical cannabis; 6-year-old Jagger Cotte, who suffers from Leigh’s Disease; disabled military veteran Jose Belen, who uses marijuana to control his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); Lauren Rudick, a member of a law firm representing Cannabis businesses; and the Cannabis Culture Association.

The defendants in this case will be the United States federal government, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Administrator of the DEA Chuck Rosenberg. 

The suit was filed in the Southern District of New York District Court today. Now, they wait for the complaint to be answered. 

Learn more about Alexis's journey from Texas to Colorado here. 

Photos by Kristen Watson
Header image design by Sara Button