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WILK News Radio>Audio & Video on Demand>>Attorney Patrick Nightingale on marijuana legalization

Attorney Patrick Nightingale on marijuana legalization

Feb 12, 2013|

Attorney Patrick Nightingale of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition discusses the potential legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania with WILK's Sue Henry

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is attorney. Patrick nightingale joining us this morning from the organization. Law enforcement against prohibition good morning attorney nangarhar. The morning and thank you very much strategy that we understood this morning. Absolutely we know talking to folks from your organization for many many years Patrick just say you know they had before we put -- on the air. And the discussion has remain in the same yesterday there was an events in Harrisburg. Where there was so once again. -- calls to legalize tax and regulate marijuana. Do you believe now more than ever that may happen in Pennsylvania. I believe. That Pennsylvania is more open into the conversation than it has ever been prior to the events in Colorado and Washington in 2012. But I do not no that Pennsylvania is ready to pass this type of legislation. We invent they are caught caught between B. More liberal and progressive pretty good good to come and spend Philadelphia. And so more socially conservative areas. -- In the middle of this stayed in the north and solve the mistake and I think the hard sell the condemned these people that this is the right direction to go. After forty years worth above the war on drugs than they did but wanted. Being perpetuated that you if he'd been hearing a forty years dependable leave that and -- to come -- they now. We need to completely over all this prohibition. It's gonna be a -- so weird compliment. Let us talk about your personal experience in this venue and maybe that could lend some credence to. Why you argue on behalf of the legalization of marijuana. The property this year in Allegheny and Allegheny County until they get from 1996 to 2002. And since that time I've been up front saying it exclusively criminal defense both state and federal court. And between my experience and the prosecutor. And my experience in the criminal defense attorney. I have seen countless countless in the -- you'll go to fuse state or federal prison to serve very lengthy prison sentences or. Basically very small amount about heroin or cocaine and sometimes marijuana. And Pennsylvania an individual can be sentenced to a one year mandatory minimum sentence. Or selling command -- -- that you put in a big help to bring the cocaine. And our federal system an individual is looking at a five year mandatory minimum sentence for five -- the cocaine. Or 810 year mandatory minimum of compression grams of cocaine. Now. We were getting any type. Of we -- on this investment the money probably incarcerating these individuals for very lengthy period dumbo prison sentences. Then I think that and are you think he made the war on drugs needs to be fought and needs Q1. But what we have seen is that this -- and the millions of dollars have been content. Despite incarcerating our student at a rate higher than any other country in below world. Drug prices have not gone down. Drug supply has not gone down drug addiction rates have not gone down the criminality of it it would narcotics. Blood distribution. Golf and up and we've done nothing absolutely nothing other than destroy an entire generation -- Americans. And -- -- our -- to the point where we don't had been more present space but we actually happened contracted to private corporations. We make our only point. Two that the government agencies saying we guarantee an eighty to 90%. Rate of how -- It's just ridiculous it's becoming solely and exclusively a money issue and the destroying American lives. Let me ask you this just -- them take the other side of the argument Patrick. You said this says and destroyed an entire generation of Americans who destroyed this generation if people who are involved in activity. That they know is against the law I don't believe that I have destroyed them I believe they've destroyed themselves. The real question is how we approached the issue of drug addiction. In drug addiction -- abolishing the drug addiction a health issue drug addiction and significant in this country before. -- controlled substances. -- from a lot. They -- criminal nation of illegal narcotics started in the early part of this country because. There's a perception that as we needed it criminal prosecution we -- it criminal penalties in order to reduce the risk of addiction. Yet what we have seen is that -- and addiction have remained consistent and I remain flat through the entire point of century. And -- well addiction big big news that -- before prohibition. Prohibition was introduced as a but tempted to -- -- addiction and it has completely and utterly failed these individuals suffer from drug addictions are imposed. Our criminal usually because we've decided that better than -- need to be criminalized. We didn't want in this country -- alcohol prohibition and realized over and that very brief short period under the with the utter an abysmal failure and all he did was criminal -- all the blood wall biting no individuals. The extent that of one of the drug abuse or drug addiction problem. We believe that that is properly treated as a public health issue and not as -- be -- of criminality because again. Despite the end of billions of dollars that we brought to this issue we have done nothing other than create I've -- population in the in the first world. Well oftentimes Patrick though we do. As a society. Attempt. To treat addicts we we do I mean out and we have some treatment in world we live we have. I would believe the most treatment facilities out of any part of Pennsylvania. So what's going on with that I mean that is if people continue. To engage in a pattern which is against the law. And we say to them hey here's treatment and they refuse that is well -- they try and and they feel a lukewarm about it. -- and what it -- a real solution here I guess is my question GO. Well -- compare and contrast throughout all of these first for example the number one abused substance in this country and alcohol. All of them take a tremendous. Hole on the fabric of our society. My experience and but the prosecutor and the defense attorney I can tell you that they'd see that -- amount of violent crimes associated with people who simply had too much to -- -- into the real issue in the country. We violated someone every time they relapsed alcoholic addiction. We incarcerated someone merely are adding to -- urine with alcohol. -- like we do for heroin or cocaine or prescription drug marijuana we could -- Possibly have a must previews they show up until we make this arbitrary distinction if they well. Alcoholism and alcohol that's not a problem or as you know you do you wanna be an alcoholic you do it underground -- if you. Do something like -- -- big -- car accident -- -- -- -- to -- that at the appropriate time but you know drug addict. Then premier. That you -- do you got up and now we're making use a criminal. We subjecting you to criminal penalties we want to give you a criminal conviction we are going to. If you. Relapse and we all know that relapse then -- part of recovery. An addict who wants to recover -- actively engaged in recovery will relapsed. That's what the post that this step program outlook but they need expert in addiction more ballot but we do not -- part of recovery. So if we have that -- who's struggling hard to recover but they relapse but have a moment of weakness what do we do what could be criminal justice system to do. They violate their -- Revoke the probation it put up person in jail inject some good like these criminals and end all for what become the -- last. It is -- absolutely. In our opinion. Waste of valuable and limited law enforcement and judicial resource. Hey Patrick and Jim and we have some commercials you have to -- just stay a couple of more minutes did an excellent. This is attorney Patrick nightingale he is from the Pittsburgh area. And he is part of the organization of law enforcement against prohibition will wrap up our discussion with him after the break you're listening on nine -- Scranton 980 wilkes-barre thirteen hundred -- and one that you play one have found you out okay this is attorney Patrick nightingale. The organization. -- force -- against prohibition talking about the legalization of marijuana. Pat Patrick we'll be good benefits for the state right out of the gate the UC. The benefits right out of the gate is that are important catingub approximately 300 or 350 million dollar annual. That would be achieved even upper big -- full legalization but what what this concept described as decriminalization. What could mean that -- so what's called the small amount of marijuana they would face a civil fine. Instead of a criminal prosecution. -- estimates a fourth body does under Leach. Well to probably 325 million dollars annually at law enforcement savings that's traditional savings and corrections savings. That is without even contemplating. The notion of actually you legal over marijuana but straight law enforcement -- right out of blood out of and I would submit that got pregnant point five million dollars could be more. Appropriately spent on child Internet sexual predation. And keeping our children safe from. From sexual exploitation. And I can tell you right now that on any given computers there are. -- -- -- Pennsylvania man or a thousand demand from other jurisdictions trolling on the web site looking for. -- children to engage in discussions and you know attempting to further some type of about some type of solicitation and not respect. I would give up that 325 million dollars what you need to protect our children. Let's -- more important and more relevant law enforcement that priority. Get out of the business of -- people they can't consume a plant. Could any of this money would be applicable to. Increase -- treatment and rehabilitation. For people who are addicted. Absolutely well you -- one record Marco when first introduced the medicinal marijuana bill in 2009. This testimony before the Pennsylvania. And help and human services committee wasn't bad. Medical marijuana alone could project -- 3035 million dollars in revenue and that he would be happy to make it part of his bill that every single idea that would go -- Drug abuse education and treatment are. In Washington. State legalized they legalized marijuana not just for possession cobalt -- or manufacturing distribution and retail sale. But Washington not voters guide put up on the state of Washington. Estimated up to 400 million dollars annually in revenue from a legal taxable sale of marijuana. And and bring up front and they know what those thoughts about the man. And we could see a -- half a billion to 750. Million dollars waiting annually. And law enforcement saving and potential revenue from legal sales of marijuana. -- -- I have to wrap it up because live a -- and break coming up but I'm I don't let it will I'm sure we'll hear from you again because this issue does not leave the news. Attorney Patrick nine you'll think very much for joining us today and -- B -- -- appreciate it. -- may not guarded each do.