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Local Advocates of Legalized Marijuana to Hold Moment of Silence

A local activist group will gather at Point State Park Saturday in an effort to “smoke out prohibition” of marijuana.

At 4:20 p.m. Saturday, the Pittsburgh regional chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws will hold a moment of silence to protest what it calls the war on cannabis. NORML promotes repealing the prohibition of marijuana.

“We seek to draw attention to the full legalization bill pending in the Pennsylvania Senate … and also to bring attention to the bill pending in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives calling for medicinal marijuana,” said Pittsburgh NORML Executive Director Pat Nightingale.

Nearly 80 people showed up to Pittsburgh NORML’s first event, “Buds in the Burgh” on April 20, and the group is using social media in an effort to reach out to more people this time. April 20 and 4:20 p.m. are often set aside for marijuana-related events thanks to a slew of urban legends.

Nightingale said Pittsburgh NORML began its public protests after it saw how successful Philadelphia was with its gatherings promoting marijuana reform.

“The Philadelphia protests were, I think, quite remarkable for how peaceful and well organized they were until the protests this past Saturday when park police moved in and arrested two of the organizers,” Nightingale said.

Nightingale said NORML wants to make sure participants know they face the risk of arrest and criminal prosecution if they do smoke but admits it cannot prevent people from bringing cannabis to the event.

“We want to make sure that our activists who appear on Saturday are aware that the consumption of marijuana remains illegal in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania even at such an event as an act of civil disobedience,” he said.

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.