Pittsburgh Lawyer to Test Legal Loophole In Cannabis Prohibition Laws

Pittsburgh NORML executive director, Patrick Nightingale, intends to use the very logic of prohibitionist laws in order to dismantle them.


The essence of his argument is pretty simple. Since Pennsylvania recognizes the legitimacy of cannabis as medicine by their laws, that negates the drug scheduling claim that marijuana has no medicinal benefits, and prohibition cannabis in general is based on that logic. So if the state says it is medicine, then they cannot say it should be treated  or prosecuted as a schedule one drug.

From Next Pittsburgh:

In April 2016 Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, or Act 16, legalizing medical cannabis for PA residents with serious medical conditions.

Now, a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney believes the new medical law gives him standing to challenge how Pennsylvania classifies recreational marijuana, which is still illegal in Pennsylvania and is classified as a “Schedule One” controlled substance.

The Pennsylvania Code classifies Schedule One drugs as those that have “a high potential for abuse; no currently accepted medical use in the United States; and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”

This places marijuana alongside other Schedule One drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, psilocybin, and bath salts.

Patrick Nightingale, executive director of Pittsburgh NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and one of the leading advocates behind Pittsburgh’s recent marijuana decriminalization ordinance, argues that Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana law means that marijuana “cannot possibly meet the definition of a Schedule One substance.”

“The legislature specifically found as a matter of legislative intent that marijuana has medical potential and that it has the potential to alleviate up to 17 qualifying conditions that they put in the act,” says Nightingale, “and they created a regulated system of growing, processing and distributing medical marijuana for qualifying patients.”

He adds that to prosecute some Pennsylvanians with possession of a Schedule One controlled substance while medical marijuana patients are not prosecuted is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

“I think that is a fundamental denial of equal protection by treating similarly situated individuals radically different.”

Continue reading this article here.

Nightingale will use this argument in an upcoming legal case where he is representing a man busted with a small grow operation. While he acknowledges that winning would not topple prohibition laws, they would help to chip away at their foundation.

The main problem with this method is that it could spur the DEA to reschedule cannabis, which could throw a major monkey wrench into current progress while coporatizing cannabis.

Schedule 1 substances are considered to have no medicinal value. As such, those substances are not subject to the regulations of agencies like the Food and Drug Administration. In places where cannabis has been legalized, the products being manufactured and sold have not been under the scrutiny of federal regulators. But if it were to be reclassified as a Schedule 2 substance, it would then fall within the scope of federal codes.

This would mean that every strain and product currently made from cannabis, as well as the methods of distribution, would become illegal until they passed through the red tape of Washington D.C. And in all likelihood, many businesses and products would be shut down, and those that survived might be hung up in years of bureaucratic and legal jiggery pokery.

This would not just place current paradigms in a disadvantage, it would favor big pharma with its bottomless pockets. Could the entire push to reclassify just be a consequence of secret lobbyist agendas to destroy the current industry and make room for the big time medicine men to take over?

And it is not just the cannabis industry that needs to worry. Schedule 2 classification would also make it illegal to grow your own. This would make medical patients and other users dependent on the state-sanctioned corporations that have, historically, cared far less about health than their own bottom lines.

Why can’t we just do the sensible thing and decriminalize it altogether?

2 Replies to “Pittsburgh Lawyer to Test Legal Loophole In Cannabis Prohibition Laws”

  1. If that worked they would have used it with the Feds …… schedule 1 , yet the govt holds pat # 6630507

    Dear EWE THE SHEEPLE that are also cheering that POT was
    “Legalized”, “Recreationalized”, “Medicalized”, “Decriminalized”, in your neck of the woods or are seeking these conditions for your community; it’s time to wake up and smell the assholes, because it could be yours.
    REALITY CHECK: There is nowhere on the face of the earth where people are FREE to toke, grow and deal POT. If you don’t believe me, go to the jails and prisons and ask the political prisoners in there rotting on POT charges if they are celebrating this victory. Ask the cop on the beat to toke up after work rather than drink liquor. No one in professional sports can toke up without being punished. Go tell your piss testing employer that you have a proposition that protects your right to toke up and see if you have a job. Are your medical insurance providers going to approve CANNABIS oil treatments? In TN, we have “Decriminalized” WEED . . . Can someone please tell me where the figgity fuck I can buy some Decrim POT in peace?
    THE TRIAL OF THE MILLENNIUM to end CANNABIS Prohibition begins at the Memphis courthouse on March 20, 2017 when I make THE EVIL EMPIRE answer for their crimes against humanity. I am facing 12 years in prison for my POT dealing charges . . . none of this fake legislation is going to save me.
    So, what good does it do if laws only apply to some of the people some of the time, in certain places, under particular conditions? Would Negroes or homosexuals accept those limited conditions? I don’t either. Every one of these propositions have made it that much more difficult for me to secure liberty and justice for all because you are selling out our FREEDOM with every vote, so cease and desist!
    SPEAK NOT ON POT!!!!!!!!!!!!! STFU! We don’t need no LEGISLATION! POT IS ALREADY LEGAL ALREADY! If you or yours are unjustly arrested for a POT charge or were sentenced to time for CANNABIS-related charges that are being enforced by unlawful criminal codes according to unconstitutional political policies, you must proceed PRO SE to jury trial and just say: “NO MENS REA” . . . it’s the plea to set us FREE!

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