Former NFL player Marvin Washington is one of five plaintiffs who recently filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in federal court. As first reported by the New York Post, the lawsuit is an attempt to decriminalize marijuana.
The plaintiffs are suing over the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I Drug, on the same level as heroin or LSD. A Schedule I Drug is considered to have high potential for abuse and contains no accepted medical benefits. In comparison, the government has drugs like cocaine and meth categorized as Schedule II Drugs.
Washington alleges in the lawsuit that the CSA inhibits him from obtaining federal grants to open businesses that “would allow pro football players to use medical marijuana for pain management in lieu of more addictive opioids,” according to the Post.
“Classifying cannabis as a ‘Schedule I drug’ is so irrational that it violates the U.S. Constitution,” the suit says.
NFL players have been arguing to use marijuana to manage their pain in recent years. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants his players to have access to cannabis and advocates like former NFL player Eben Britton have stepped out in arguing the drug’s medical efficacy.
“The record makes clear that the CSA doesn’t make any rational sense and the federal government knows it,” attorney Michael Hiller told the Post.
Hiller represents Washington and the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Among the plaintiffs include 11-year-old Alexis Bortell and disabled military veteran Jose Belen. Bortell needs access to medical marijuana to help treat her epilepsy while Belen uses the drug to manage his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sessions has long made known his negative views and actions regarding marijuana, causing cannabis advocates to consider him opposition to legalization efforts. The DOJ did not respond to comment when contacted by the Post.