Former NFL player sues Jeff Sessions over marijuana law

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on July 27, 2017.

In an effort to legalize marijuana at the federal level, former New York Jets defensive end Marvin Washington on Monday sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration in a federal district court in New York City.

In the lawsuit, Washington alleges that the government has “wrongfully and unconstitutionally criminalized the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession” of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, which became law in 1971.

He also claims that the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which is  considered as dangerous as drugs like LSD and heroin, prevents him from receiving federal grants to open a business that would allow pro football players to use medical marijuana for pain management and treat concussion-related issues in lieu of more addictive opioids.

It has long been an area of contention around the NFL with debate continuing to arise over the widespread use of opioids among players.  Last year, former NFL player Eugene Monroe was opened up in the case of marijuana legalization.

Washington, , who played 11 NFL seasons for the Jets, Denver Broncos and San Francisco, is the co-founder of a company that sells hemp-based sports performance products that do not contain THC, the component of cannabis that causes a high in marijuana users.

As many as 29 states and Washington D.C. have legalized medical marijuana, while 8 states and D.C. allowed it for recreational purpose.

However, Sessions has sought to crack down on states’ abilities to legalize and regulate both medical and recreational use. He also leads a DOJ task force that activists and advocates fear will soon seek harsher sentences for anyone caught selling or possessing the drug.

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