Patrick Nightingale is a key player in Pennsylvania pot politics.
Patrick Nightingale enjoyed a successful career practicing law prior to becoming a marijuana-legalization advocate. He began his career in 1996 with the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, where he helped create the Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit. But after several years as a prosecutor, he shifted his focus and began practicing as a criminal-defense attorney at the state and federal level.
When the Pennsylvania Legislature announced that it would consider its first medical marijuana bill in 2009, Patrick was eager to see it approved. He reached out to activist Chris Goldstein of the Philadelphia-area NORML chapter and then set about restarting the one in Pittsburgh, which has grown into one of the most active and effective NORML chapters in the country. Unfortunately, cannabis
remains illegal in the Keystone State, a crime at both the medical and recreational levels. But Patrick and Pittsburgh NORML are going strong into 2014, mobilizing supporters and pushing for sensible changes to Pennsylvania’s laws. They’re hosting multiple rallies, meetings and fundraising events, even as Patrick continues to work the political process, testifying and fighting for favorable measures pending in the State Legislature. As he explains it: “I have the ability to give voice to the tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who can both benefit from medicinal cannabis and who have been victims of this ruinous war on pot.”
By Erik Altieri, NORML communications coordinator