Bortell has suffered from re-occurring seizures from a young age. Everything she and her family has tried to combat these seizures hasn't worked. Medications and doctors couldn't do anything to help her. Finally, three years ago, the family decided to move from Texas to Colorado to begin treating Alexis's condition using medicinal cannabis products. The treatment was a smashing success, and she's now gone nearly 900 days without a seizure.
Now Bortell is fighting to help others in similar conditions. She's joined a lawsuit against Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency to remove marijuana as a Schedule I Drug, meaning the government classifies it as amongst the most dangerous drugs available with no medical benefit, and certify its status for medicinal purposes.
A major reason Bortell is joining the lawsuit is for travel purposes. While she can safely use her medicine in Colorado, she can't visit other parts of the country because her treatment is illegal under state laws. For instance, she can visit her grandparents in Texas but she can't stay the night because she can't take her medicine while there. She told an ABC news station, "I just want kids like me to be able to do what normal kids are able to do."
While other lawsuits have attempted to change marijuana's status as a Schedule I drug, an attorney for Bortell's case says their argument is different.
"This is the first lawsuit of its kind in the sense that we are making arguments under the 5th Amendment due process clause, we are making arguments under the commerce clause, we are making arguments under the 10th Amendment," Attorney Michael Hiller said.
It's a sad state of affairs in American politics when an 11-year-old girl has a more pragmatic and nuanced opinion about marijuana than the nation's top law enforcement official.