Athletes, veterans, mothers, and more join growing list of people filing briefs in support of Washington v. Barr

Sep 15, 2020

Following yesterday’s news that Americans for Safe Access, the nonprofit organization that promotes safe access to cannabis for communities across the country, has filed an amicus brief in the case of Washington v Barr, reports have come out that other organizations have decided to join the fray. According to a statement released on Tuesday, the law firm  Ansell Grimm & Aaron announced the filing of another amicus brief in the case representing a slew of different groups, including pro football players, military veterans, mothers, and others.

“Patients today face an untenable choice,” said leading cannabis attorney Joshua S. Bauchner in a statement. “They can either risk federal prosecution for using medical cannabis in accordance with state and local laws at the advice of their doctors, or risk serious, even fatal, health consequences. This is an unacceptable trade off that no one should be forced to make any longer.”

Ansell, Grimm & Aaron attorneys Bauchner, the Honorable Anthony J. Mellaci, Jr. (ret.), and Rahool Patel represent five organizations in the brief, including Athletes for CARE, a nonprofit comprised of former professional athletes who use their influence to “advocate for research, education, and compassion in addressing vital health issues for the next generation of athletes, including the availability of medical cannabis.”

Other groups represented by the firm include the After The Impact Fund, which focuses on retired athletes and military veterans, the Canna Research Foundation, which focuses on evidence-based epidemiological research of medical cannabis, and NFL Sisters in Service, Inc., which is comprised the spouses, daughters, and mothers of current and former NFL players. 

The final group represented by the firm is ISIAH International, LLC, “a holding company founded and wholly owned by former Detroit Pistons NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas that has interests in various companies, including two in the medical cannabis and hemp industries.”

According to a statement released by Ansell, Grimm & Aaron, each of these groups has a vested interest in the outcome of this case, as their members depend on cannabis to deal with debilitating injuries and chronic pain. Moreover, an additional 3 million Americans use cannabis for medicinal purposes, as per their statement.

One such person is former NHL player and Stanley Cup Champion Darren McCarty, who, according to a statement, credits cannabis with saving his life.

Prior to finding cannabis, McCarty used prescription pain medication and alcohol to deal with his injuries from his playing days. The use of these drugs almost cost him his life, as doctors told him that he was near total organ failure. Once he found cannabis, everything changed.

“Without cannabis, I would be dead, period,” said McCarty in a statement. “I suffered for so many years, and I know there are millions of people like me who are suffering in silence right now. We can end that suffering by educating ourselves and changing our laws to treat cannabis as what it rightfully is: essential medication that saves lives.”

Ansell, Grimm & Aaron call on the DEA and Congress to do what they haven’t done for decades — remove the Schedule I designation for cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.

“The decision to use cannabis for medical reasons is no less important than the decision to use common prescription drugs,” said Ansell, Grimm & Aaron’s Mellaci, a retired Superior Court Judge in a statement. “It is no less personal than the deeply intimate decision to refuse medical treatment for ethical or other reasons. My own son, Daniel, age 30, suffers from ALS and requires medical cannabis to have any quality of life. The federal government’s placement of cannabis in Schedule I would relegate him, and other patients, to a lifetime of suffering. It’s time to end that suffering.”

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