By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
July 6, 2016 (Updated July 7, 2016 2:46PM)
Allen St. Pierre, the director of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the nations first marijuana legalization organization based in Washington D.C., has resigned.
The often controversial director in recent years will be replaced, in the interim, by Randy Quast the organizations current treasurer. Quast founded Minnesota NORML and co-founded Portland NORML with Russ Belville, who broke the news at MarijuanaPolitics.com
“Serving as executive director will be Randy Quast, the current treasurer, who was selected unanimously by the board of directors. Quast will serve in the interim period while the board forms a search committee for a permanent executive director, according to board secretary, Dan Viets. Quast was the founder of Minnesota NORML and a co-founder of Portland NORML.
St. Pierre has been with NORML since 1991 when he joined the board as the Communications Director. He has been the organization’s executive director since 2005. Additionally, he leaves his post as head of the NORML Foundation, the non-profit research and educational arm of NORML, at which he’s served as founding executive director since 1997.”
Conflicts between NORML and regional affiliates have been common in recent years.
In 2010 St. Pierre and NORML frowned upon “dispensing” cannabis at the Southern Oregon NORML location. At the time, Executive Director Lori Duckworth was supplying cannabis to medical patients under the original Oregon Medical Marijuana Act’s then “gray” area. Oregon’s licensed dispensary system started in 2013.
NORML pressured the chapter over their practice of lobbying for medical laws, and frowned on dispensing medical cannabis at their NORML chapter. The chapter continued on independently as Southern Oregon Cannabis Community Center until they we’re raided by local Medford Police in 2013. All the convictions from that raid have since been expunged from Lori and Lee Duckworth’s records.
“I am pleased to see this change,” Duckworth told the OCC. “It’s been a long time coming! Since the day I was told as the Executive Director of SONORML, to stop working to help further the medical program & laws & to only focus on full legalization.
“I knew NORML under the leadership of Allen & Keith was not the organization of compassion & concern for the patients & farmers,” She expanded. “For me, they are & always will be my my focus & life’s work, and I’m excited to see my friend Randy Quest step into his new role.”
NORML revoked the charters chapter only AFTER they were raided in 2013.
St. Pierre’s stance against medical marijuana would become much more clear, thanks to his own words in a 2012 Celeb Stoner op-ed. In it, he was less than fully supportive of medical marijuana.
“Defending the ‘medical’ cannabis industry is so yesterday,” St. Pierre wrote on Celeb Stoner in January of 2012. “Why not acknowledge the political and legal farce it is and focus on the real problem at hand: ending cannabis prohibition?”
“The medi-pot industry, of course, opposes actual legalization, such as last year’s Prop 19, which was also opposed by the profiteering communities in the state’s northern ‘grow’ counties,” St. Pierre also added.
The sentiments were met with harsh criticism and demands for his apology and resignation at that time.
In Colorado, Warren Edson, his wife Georgia and Mile High NORML director Scott Greene all resigned from the organization, citing the comments in the article.
Belville also reported that St. Pierre will retain his seats on the board of NORML and the NORML Foundation.
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