F O R T L A U D E R D A L E, Fla., Dec. 5, 2001 -- A Fort Lauderdale stockbroker who gets marijuana from the federal government to treat his painful bone disease filed suit today against Delta Air Lines for refusing to let him fly with the drug.
Irvin Rosenfeld, 49, was set to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Washington, D.C., last March to attend a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on medicinal marijuana when Delta prohibited him from flying with the drug.
At the time, Rosenfeld was one of eight people in the United States legally allowed to use marijuana.
Rosenfeld said he alerted Delta that he would be traveling with marijuana when he booked the ticket. He said Delta had welcomed him to travel with the drug in the past, understanding that he needs it to ease his pain. But at the airport, he says he was refused permission to board the plane.
Despite help from a sheriff's deputy aware of the program, Rosenfeld was unable to persuade Delta the drug was approved — and provided — by the government.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a change in Delta's policy.
Delta Defends Action
Katie Connell, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based carrier, said Delta did nothing wrong.
"We are not in a position to do anything different than what we did on March 26," said Connell. "Delta did not refuse to board Mr. Rosenfeld. We refused to carry the previously declared marijuana in Mr. Rosenfeld's possession. He was and is welcome to travel with us without the marijuana. If at any time an authorized representative of the federal government advises Delta that Mr. Rosenfeld may lawfully possess and use marijuana, Delta will readily comply with that advice."
Rosenfeld flew to Washington on another airline, not disclosing that he was carrying marijuana.
The federal lawsuit was filed in Fort Lauderdale.