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Scientific And Legal Considerations In The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Debate


philly norml marijuana pennsylvania philadelphiaI received the following message in my inbox:

With three separate bills that propose the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania currently pending in the state legislature, an interdisciplinary group of experts will present on and discuss the various aspects of the medical marijuana debate at the next Forensic Fridays session at Duquesne University.

Should Pennsylvania Be Next? Scientific and Legal Considerations in the Medical Marijuana Debate will be hosted by the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law on Friday, Sept. 11, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the Africa Room of the Duquesne Union.

Presenters at the session include:

  • Sgt. Terry Donnelly of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Traffic Unit
  • Dr. Fred Fochtman, professor of pharmacology at Duquesne University
  • Max Little, traffic safety resource prosecutor for the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association
  • Dr. Barry Logan, chief of forensic toxicology for NMS Labs
  • Patrick K. Nightingale, a criminal defense attorney and Executive Director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
  • Thomas J. Perko, President of the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society
  • Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathologist.

This Forensic Friday session is approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board for three hours of substantive CLE credit. In addition to being held onsite, this session is being offered online via live stream and will be available on-demand for professional registrants.

For more information, including cost, visit www.duq.edu/forensics, email wechtinstitute@duq.edu or call 412.396.1330.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation’s top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students’ social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne’s commitment to sustainability.


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Johnny Green


  1. There is no reason NOT to legalize. The whole subject is becoming repeative and classic. At the end of the day, the Revenue made on passing weed , is unsurmountable. I am in my 60s and have smoke for 30 years. I am a profession. with my masters degree and it has never interfered with my work OR my life. Beyong that. there is the money that would be generated for our state. Instead of whining and crying that ” we don’t have enough money for schools, etc” legalize it, generate that massive amount of money, and make our state one with a little less economic woe. Thank you so much

  2. Douglas420ish on

    i have bipolar disorder you can put the money in pa pocket or some one from the street im going to buy it ether way i think pa should wise up already

  3. I hope a verdict can finally be decided upon and this bill passed for those of us in chronic pain which also deal with muscle spasms as well as radiating headaches which are the result of my chronic spinal issues ,I mean not all of us can (or wish) to be on opiate-based pain medication for life..It’s not like those of us in PA are asking for something that hasn’t already been approved for medicinal use in countless US states for awhile now..Heres hoping the powers that be in the decision have have some heart and sympathy for those of us looking for a release from hell that chronic pain can bring!..-Dan

  4. Uodated version Alex on

    Cannabis should be legalised in the UK. The reason that cannabis should be legalised is because cannabis can be used as a natural medicine. (Not like these processed medicines that are issued through the pharmacy)
    Cannabis should NOT be compared with drugs such as cocaine, heroin ecstasy pills and most of all legal highs! These types of “drugs” have been processed with different chemicals to cause their high effects. You cannot pull pure heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, legal highs AND alcohol; naturally off a plant like you can with the bud of cannabis.
    Some may say that smoking cannabis is harmful, but in reality; smoking anything is harmful to the human body, especially breathing in the co2 fumes off public transport and no major action has been taken in regards that matter (although it’s an health issue to all the living material on the PLANET)
    We are all individual human beings that can make choices for ourselves and I strongly believe that taking cannabis is optional to the user. Some people like KFC, some people prefer normal chicken breast, some people prefer to get their sugars naturally from fruits and others like their sugars from chocolate/sweets, some people like alcohol and some people prefer cannabis… Everyone has their own preferences and is NOT forced in to taking anything.
    Legalise cannabis and put an age limit for the sale and usage of cannabis (like alcohol) As I said earlier that taking cannabis is optional and this WILL NOT give the ‘wrong’ message to young people to think that it is OK to take cannabis. Alcohol (legal) is harmful and there are a lot of people out there in the UK alone that don’t drink alcohol, just as well as the people who do not smoke cannabis.
    Cannabis has NOT caused any deaths unlike wars, medicines, alcohol, tobacco and so on…Alcohol (legal) in comparison to cannabis(illegal) – alcohol causes deaths, diabetes, liver and kidney failure, it is probably the BIGGEST gateway drug, causes fights and mayhem on the streets. While cannabis users just want to sit inside, watch films, listen to music, eat, cure their illness, ease their pain and sleep. You know the FACT on cannabis
    What gives you the right to make choices for a country of individuals that has completely different preferences to you and the other MPs that run our country? You have proved that you DO NOT care about the health of the British citizens because the governments create enemies, that give a good excuse to start war and then you send our troops to kill the “enemy” which kills British citizens and citizens of the countries that have invaded. If governments didn’t create enemies there would be no war and there would be peace on earth which then would save lives. So do NOT say cannabis is harmful when it’s the government that IS harmful.

    Stop all the overdosings,coke, crack,heroin, Crystal method and all the things that kill. MARIJUANA AN HEMP DOES NOT KILL or leave you with harmful side effects…!!!

  6. Pennsylvania has taken so long on this, I have really lost interest and have moved on. Im looking at recreational marijuana now. Medical is so yesterday (except in redneck backwards states like Pennsylvania). Lets see if the two government employees (donnelly and little) play good little government boys and spout how marijuana is as dangerous or even more dangerous than a heroin addicted child molester, yada yada,or if they are there to play it on the side of truth and will admit a legal substance like jaegermeister, or even beer, for that matter, is ten-fold worse on driver impairment than cannabis. Time shall tell.

  7. I see two “Police Traffic Unit” and “traffic safety prosecutor”. I really hope Mr Nightingale brings the multiple studies done by the NHTS that found marijuana use doesn’t really cause traffic safety problems. You know that they’re both going to pull up old studies that were done on a simulator with 3 whole people that say there was increased reaction time.

  8. I graduated from Duquesne. A very conservative school. We will see what develops here. I am sceptical.

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