Latrisha “Lolly“Bentch is the Patient Liaison for the Office of Medical Marijuana, in the Department of Health. She has been with this office since October of 2016, not long after the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law. Her role as Patient Liaison is to ensure the voices of patients and caregivers are heard and to ensure their needs are met to the best of her ability as the Medical Marijuana program continues to evolve.
Previously, Lolly directed the grassroots organization, Campaign4Compassion, which was the group of patients and caregivers who, with the aid and support of their fellow advocacy groups, key legislators and the Wolf Administration, spearheaded the effort to bring medical marijuana to fruition in Pennsylvania.
Lolly began her advocacy in the Fall of 2013, on behalf of her young daughter who, at the time, suffered from intractable epilepsy. Lolly is always eager to share about her family’s journey with Medical Marijuana.
Diana Briggs is the Founder/CEO of PA Compassionate Caregivers LLC, a group of Medical Cannabis Advocates and Caregivers that are committed to connecting patients, caregivers, doctors, and the medical cannabis industry. Diana is also a founding member and former Director of Campaign For Compassion a grassroots advocacy group that was instrumental in the passage of Act 16.
Campaign For Compassion received a national award from Americans for Safe Access for their lobbying efforts. Diana currently resides in Export with her husband Mike and three children. Her son Ryan suffers from Intractable Epilepsy and is the reason for her Advocacy.
Heather Shuker is one of the founding members of Campaign for Compassion (C4C), an organization of parents dedicated to advocate and educate the public as well as the general assembly concerning the positive effects of the often misunderstood realm of cannabis treatment. Through their advocacy, Medical Cannabis was legalized in Pennsylvania. In 2015, C4C was awarded the Action Group of the Year award by Americans for Safe Access. For Heather's involvement in the medical cannabis movement in Pennsylvania, she was awarded the Healthcare Heroes Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2017. Heather assisted in the coordination and presentation of over 65 events for the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society. Heather knows first-hand the true benefits of medical cannabis after seeing her
daughter become over 95% seizure-free.
Heather is an entrepreneur and founder of several companies. She has been working in the Senior Living Industry for over 20 years and operates a practice that provides reimbursement consulting services to a variety of Senior Living Facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Heather launched a lifestyle-brand apparel company, Empower Your Odyssey, whose mission is to educate the public on the benefits of medical cannabis through their design and to help remove the stigma. Heather is the creator of the NillyNoggin ™ and founder of Hannahtopia ™ , an online unique boutique for children suffering from medical challenges.
Heather is a graduate of LaRoche College with a BS in Accounting and Administration. She is actively involved with the Epilepsy Association of Western Central PA as well as the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.
Heather Shuker and Hanna
Adrienne Leasa is a dedicated Pennsylvania cannabis activist from Hummelstown who is an HIV positive single mom of one. She is an MMJ patient, caregiver, and oil maker.
Ron Millward born and raised in Pennsylvania is a seven year United States Air Force Combat Veteran and the founder of Balanced Veterans. The mission of Balanced Veterans is to create a safe space for the education, empowerment, and advocacy of alternative therapies for veterans. We partner with professionals and other veteran organizations to support veterans and their families to live a balanced life. We endeavor to provide this support by sharing knowledge about alternatives such as holistic healing practices and alternative medicines such as Cannabis to treat common issues in the veteran community such as PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and Chronic Pain. There are better ways to find and attain balance and healing when navigating through this life while carrying the immense weight of the physical and mental health ailments that plague so many of us veterans. We at Balanced Veterans want to be a resource for you, we want to help you find what works for you, what makes you feel whole, what helps you experience true healing, what makes you feel alive again, and what brings balance back to this life for you. While we believe that Cannabis alone is not the whole answer, we believe it can be a powerful key to achieving the balance and relief that many veterans need. When coupled with healthy community, open conversation, and other holistic healing practices we believe that cannabis can open the door to a fulfilling and balanced life of healing
Ron's Full story:
George Armstrong - A veteran and cannabis activist, and patient of the PA medical Marijuana program. For the past few years I have worked tirelessly to educate patients, doctors, law enforcement and anyone else who will listen about the program. He is an admin for Pennsylvania veterans for medical marijuana, and has spoken at several events including the Boston freedom rally and veterans rally in DC.
Mike Whiter is an outspoken cannabis activist, Marine Corps veteran, journalist, and producer.
Whiter was medically discharged from the Marines in 2006 and subsequently diagnosed with PTSD and put on a multitude of pills. After finding cannabis and throwing the pills away, Whiter got involved with a group of boots-on-the-ground activists in Philadelphia, started Pennsylvania Veterans for Medical Marijuana, committed innumerable acts of peaceful civil disobedience, and hasn't stopped talking about weed since.
Bryan Fant is a US Army veteran, yoga teacher, and Central PA native. Bryan turned to cannabis to treat chronic pain, insomnia, and depression after his 17-year military career. He credits cannabis and yoga with helping to end his dependence on dangerous prescriptions, and for dramatically improving his health and quality of life. He advocates for safe and affordable access to medical cannabis for all veterans
Chris has always been a believer in marijuana and a user in her earlier years. After watching as the country started to embrace the plant as medicine, watching videos of children with epilepsy, and following the legislation in Pennsylvania, her interest peaked. TerraVida Holistic Centers is a certified medical marijuana company operating three dispensaries in Sellersville, Abington and Malvern, Pa. Visco, along with her business partner, Adina Birnbaum, were awarded a medical marijuana dispensary license by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in June 2017 with the highest score in the Southeast region and the second highest score in the Commonwealth. Prior to founding TerraVida, Visco was a retail merchant for more than 20 years working for large national retailers. She received a government contract to manufacture goods for the Department of Justice in 2005, and opened a marketing and political strategy firm in 2008. Visco believes in hiring the best and brightest within individual disciplines, paying high wages, mentoring them and most importantly learning from them.
Chris is also a patient. Having suffered from migraines, insomnia and severe neck pain for years, marijuana has changed Chris’ life. Chris’ favorite strain for headaches is Pineapple Express. She also uses THC cream and micro doses Hell’s OG vape, Mazar or Joliet Jake during the day. Each night, an hour before bed, Chris takes a 10mg THC capsule and now sleeps 5-6 hours a night instead of 2-3 hours. She feels energized when she wakes up and has lost 28 pounds as a result.
When she’s not working, Chris enjoys spending time with her three children, entertaining and traveling.
As a childhood cancer survivor Ms. Nightingale became passionate about helping fellow patients. She became an active volunteer with the regional chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Ms. Nightingale has spent countless hours assisting at advocacy events and traveling the breadth and width of the Commonwealth and beyond rallying in support of cannabis reform.
As a mother Theresa is especially attuned to the issues facing women in states like Pennsylvania where mere possession is misdemeanor offense. In 2013 she became the regional coordinator for the Pittsburgh chapter of the NORML Women’s Alliance. She also brought Parents for Pot to Pennsylvania serving as the Executive Director.
Ms. Nightingale has organized multiple women and family friendly events, attracting a diverse group of supporters. She developed the Pittsburgh NORML Women’s Alliance and Parents for Pot PA as trusted sources for cannabis related news and information. Ms. Nightingale was recently honored with the opportunity to speak at the Boston Freedom Rally in recognition of her volunteer efforts.
In 2018 she become the Patient Acquisition Specialist for the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Education Center. In 2019 she became the Community Outreach Coordinator for Cresco Labs.
Ms. Nightingale is married to fellow activist Patrick and they have three children together – Perrin, Mac and Xavina.
Shira Adler is the Founder & CEO of Synergy by Shira Adler — a ComPASSIONate care holistic health & wellness company. The acclaimed author of "The ABCs of CBD™️: The Essential Guide for Parents (and regular folks too)" Shira is a nationally recognized media-wellness personality seen on Bravo, GMA, The Today Show, and a contributor across myriad digital and linear outlets on topics ranging from spirituality and holistic parenting, to cannabinoids and mental health, advocacy for the cannabis and hemp industries, and FemPowered entrepreneurism. Nicknamed by Reuters as "The Marijuana Mama"—Shira has been hailed as the voice for our time as a CBD/hemp industry leader, expert, educator, advocate, and activist.
Shira is working on her second book "Pink Moccasins (and other footwear inspired tales of empowerment)" — an array of powerful stories about women in the cannabis and hemp industries—"because you can't walk in another woman's shoes, but you sure as hell can admire them."
Beth Bittner, M. Ed. is the Communication and Outreach Director for Solevo Wellness. She entered the medical marijuana industry prior to the inception of the program and has 3 years of experience in both dispensary and grow facility aspects. Beth has conducted over 500 educational presentations on medical marijuana as well as organizing and hosting many medical marijuana events.
She was previously involved in the mental health/ drug and alcohol field for over 26 years giving her an in-depth understanding of the concerns and stigma that may still exist in those arenas. She has become a resource to both mental health and drug and alcohol treatment providers across the country for education and questions surrounding medical marijuana.
Beth holds a Master of Education in School Counseling from Liberty University, graduating magna cum laude. She also received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Slippery Rock University. Beth is a member of the Jefferson County Development Corporation Advisory Board. Beth is a mentor for Connecting2Tomorrow (C2T) and the Future What program and a partner of the Youth Leadership Initiative with Butler County Against Heroin in Butler County. She has been with the Stand Tall program (a drug and alcohol prevention program in the schools) since its inception in Butler County schools in 2006. Beth served on the Advisory Board as the Community Advisor of a vertically integrated multi state operator. She sat on the Board of Directors for the Grapevine Drop-In Center, was a member of the Butler County Prevention Council (BCPC) and the Butler County Problem Gambling Council (BCPGC) and a past chairperson for Outreach of the Communities That Care program (CTC), as well as the past Publicity Lead for the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Directory (PAMCD).
Dr. Paloma Lehfeldt champions medical education for both healthcare providers and patients at Vireo Health. Dr. Lehfeldt brings to Vireo more than ten years of experience in psychiatric research, community outreach, and teaching. She has expertise in neuroscience with a keen interest in pain management/analgesia in the endocannabinoid system. Her interest in cannabis as medicine is a direct result of working with patients and research participants unable to control chronic pain and their subsequent opioid dependence.
At Vireo, Dr. Lehfeldt is the direct line of communication with providers and physicians and organizes outreach events, conferences and lectures for both providers and patients. She is passionate about the use of cannabis as medicine, and looks forward to advocating it's healing properties throughout her career.
Dr. Lehfeldt is a graduate of Ross University School of Medicine. She also has a Masters in Biological Psychology from New York University. @doctor_paloma
Julia has over 20 years of experience working with patients in the health and wellness field. After she became a Registered Nurse in 2009, she began working in the emergency department where she witnessed the growing opioid epidemic. Reminded of the Hippocratic Oath she took, she knew she needed to be an ambassador of change. This solidified her interest in cannabis as medicine, supporting the alternative.
She has stood on the rotunda in Harrisburg fighting for change, lending a hand to patients on the journey of cannabis as medicine. Julia has her focus on researching integrative care options, with the use of medicinal cannabis, both for symptom control and active treatment of chronic disease. She is skilled at teaching and helping to translate the often confusing medical and scientific terminology in easy-to-understand ways. She can help patients develop care plans and bridge the communication gap between patients and their doctors, helping to maintain safe and effective medicinal use. While contributing her time, knowledge, and deep compassion to all cannabis causes, Julia has a vested interest in public health and community outreach, she thrives on serving the community and bringing hope to her patients.
Julia has always been her patients’ best advocate, demanding proper, thorough, and individualized care. Julia participates with and supports groups like: American Cannabis Nurse’s, Association, Society of Cannabis Clinicians, NORML, DACO, and Women Grow.
Julia is Hempstaff certified and intends to enroll in the alternative medicine program to become a nurse practitioner. She seeks to effect change from the ground up while actively maintaining continuous education on cannabis science. Julia is committed to being a pioneer in the future of medicine
Executive Director – Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society
Partner, Cannabis Legal Solutions
Patrick K. Nightingale is a practicing criminal defense attorney in both state and federal court in Southwestern Pennsylvania. He began his legal career as a prosecutor with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office in 1996. In 1999 he helped to found the Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit. Since 2002 Mr. Nightingale has specialized in criminal defense with a particular focus on protecting the rights of cannabis consumers. Mr. Nightingale practices in state and federal courts throughout Pennsylvania and handles both trial, appellate and post-conviction litigation.
Mr. Nightingale re-established the Pittsburgh NORML and has worked to advance medical cannabis and adult use cannabis reform. In his capacity as Executive Director he has spoken extensively on the subject of cannabis reform. Mr. Nightingale has been a frequent guest on local radio and television, and is a trusted voice on reform related questions. He has also been privileged to testify on numerous occasions before Pennsylvania legislative bodies considering medicinal cannabis legislation.
Mr. Nightingale also serves on the Board of Directors of the Medical Cannabis Society, a Pennsylvania based non-profit. “I was very excited to join a non-profit with a mission of both advocating for patient interests and promoting industry best practices in Pennsylvania and other emerging medical cannabis states. As our medical cannabis program matures in Pennsylvania and in states like Ohio and West Virginia it is abundantly clear we must continue to work to advance patient interests through education and legislation.”
In August, 2017, Mr. Nightingale along with his partners established Cannabis Legal Solutions – a law firm catering to the needs of Pennsylvania’s emerging medical cannabis industry. “We believe that as our industry expands clients will value having counsel that understands the cannabis industry and issues facing both consumers and business entities alike.
Mr. Nightingale has taught Continuing Legal Education courses on the issue of cannabis policy and law to the Allegheny County Bar Association, Allegheny County DA’s Office, Westmoreland County Bar Association, Washington County Bar Association, Fayette County Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Mr. Nightingale also serves as a speaker for Law Enforcement Action Partnership.
Mr. Nightingale is married to fellow activist Theresa and they have three children together – Perrin, Mac and Xavina.
Mr. Nightingale can be reached at 412.225.7959 or at email@example.com.
Tom Brier is an attorney, author, and basketball coach from Hershey, PA. He is a graduate of Dickinson College, where he played on the men's basketball team, and Penn State Law, where he was voted by his classmates to speak at graduation. After law school, Tom clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit before joining an international law firm. He is also the author of While Reason Slept, which tells the story of America's founding and calls for a renewed pursuit of the common good.
Tom is running for Congress because he believes a new generation of leadership is required to address the challenges facing Pennsylvania today—challenges that include the nation's highest average student loan debt; the nation's highest African American unemployment; and the most opioid deaths per day in the country. Tom refuses to accept corporate money and is running a grassroots campaign that invites everyone in Central PA to join him in the fight for our future.
On April 1, 2019, Brandon J. Flood was appointed by the 34th Lieutenant Governor of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Honorable John Fetterman, to serve as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. In this role, Secretary Flood is tasked with serving as the chief administrator for executive clemency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prior to this appointment, Secretary Flood spent nearly a decade working for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he served in a multitude of professional capacities, including as executive director of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.
Following his tenure with the PA House of Representatives, Brandon went on to serve as legislative director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU PA) State Council and as the policy & reporting specialist for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services’ Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO).
Several of his widely recognized professional accomplishments include but are not limited to instituting a full-time Equal Opportunity Officer and Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, successfully advancing legislation urging the City of Harrisburg, the House Democratic Caucus and the Wolf administration to institute a “ban the box” policy relating to employment opportunities under their respective jurisdictions, and successfully lobbying the City of Harrisburg and the Borough of Steelton to adopt “marijuana decriminalization” ordinances.
When Secretary Flood is not busy shaping public policy on the state and local level, he is also busy rooting out discrimination in the region by way of his longstanding role as Chairman of the Greater Harrisburg NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee.