There’s a shakeup among the top leadership for one of the oldest marijuana activist groups, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, most commonly referred to as NORML. Allen St. Pierre is still listed at the Executive Director of NORML on their website, however, a personal interview with the long-time advocate in Freedom Leaf magazine confirms that after 11 years with NORML, he left for greener pastures.
“The frenetic pace and low pay didn’t comport with being a hands-on father,” St. Pierre tells Freedom Leaf magazine. He is remaining in cannabis industry, this time around, as the Vice President of Advocacy and Communications at Freedom Leaf.
I caught up with the founder of Freedom leaf, Cliff Perry, at a New York City cannabis expo and he told me how Freedom Leaf and NORML have a long history of working together. NORML is even one of their sponsors, featured on the front of their magazine.
Randy Quast is NORML’s new acting executive director and his introductory letter in last week’s NORML newsletter explained how the organization is positioning itself for a ‘new era’ of the cannabis movement.
A marijuana activist a heart, Quast became involved with NORML after a scary brush with the law.
“Because I was fortunate to be a white person and able to afford an attorney, I received a stay of adjudication with two years’ probation. When my probation ended in 2009, I attended my first NORML Conference in Portland, Oregon. I then returned home to start Minnesota NORML in 2010. Recently, I moved to Oregon in 2015 and co-founded Portland NORML. Now, I’m in Washington, D.C., working to take National NORML into the next era, one that includes continuing the fight for legalization in places like Minnesota and includes expanding the rights of legal cannabis consumers in places like Oregon.”
One masthead that remains unwavering is founder Keith Stroup. The Washington, D.C. public-interest attorney started the organization in 1970 with the help of a $5,000 donation from the original Playboy, Hugh Hefner. Stroup will also be speaking at the Business Understanding Development Summit on Saturday, August 20, in Washington, D.C.
Throughout the years of prohibition of the plant, Stroup has been steadfast in his stance on the issue and has played a huge role in keeping the conversation on legalizing marijuana going.
He continues his fight for the rights of cannabis users even after recently seeing so many victories for cannabis advocates including the DEA ending the National Institute for Drug Abuse monopoly, and 25 states, Guam, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico approving medical marijuana. “We have a lot of work to do on legalization and marijuana, all through voter initiatives, said Stroup from the podium of the New York City CWCB expo in June.
“We didn’t spend 45 years fighting to sit at home and smoke marijuana, we have a right to smoke and socialize like alcohol drinkers do,” said Stroup. He remains on the NORML board of directors alongside great contributors to the movement, like travel guru Rick Steves.
While the organization seeks out a permanent director, Quast says he is committed to working with Congress and the states to fight for the myriad of issues facing the cannabis industry today such as medical patients’ rights, banking laws, and tax relief. You can read about his life in his op-ed on their website.