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A New Era For NORML

  • by Randy Quast, NORML Board Member August 10, 2016

    Randy Quast - NORML Acting Executive Director

    My name is Randy Quast and I am NORML’s new Acting Executive Director. Let me be the first to welcome you to a new era at NORML.

    I’m from Minnesota. My background is in business. I worked my way up in trucking, starting with my family’s small 10-employee trucking company in the 1980s. I worked in various departments of the company and eventually became president and CEO in 1988. By the time I sold the company ten years later, it employed 700 people in 23 service centers in 10 Midwestern states and had revenues over $50 million a year.

    After retiring, I turned my love of flying into 2,500 flight-hours. I volunteered myself and my airplane to AirLifeLine to fly patients who couldn’t afford commercial flights to receive medical treatments. I eventually became the president and CEO of that non-profit until we merged with another similar organization. The combined companies still operate today under the name Angel Flight.

    Coming Out of the Closet

    But throughout my previous careers, I had always been a regular marijuana consumer — a corporate stoner, if you will. But like many in similar positions, I kept that information private. It wasn’t until 2007 that I was forced out of the cannabis closet and into the arms of NORML.

    While out for dinner one evening a thief broke in my home and dragged my safe, where I stored my marijuana, out the back door. When neighbors confronted the thief, he ran, leaving the safe in the middle of my back yard.

    When I came home, there were cop cars all around my home. I’d left an aluminum one-hitter in the bathroom. That led to cops’ suspicions about what was in my safe. That led to a search warrant and a SWAT raid of my home. The three ounces in my safe led to a felony possession charge.

    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.

    Positioning NORML For the Future

    Help NORML Legalize Marijuana

    NORML has formed a search committee to find a new, permanent Executive Director. In the interim, we’re continuing our important work. We’re educating lawmakers and judges on the scientific truth about cannabis, public policy, and health.

    We’re supporting our chapters and grassroots supporters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada as they push for legalization in 2016 and we are supporting our chapters and advocates in Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, and Montana as they fight to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest.

    We’re are also working with congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill to pass legislation needed to secure banking and tax relief for our legal marijuana industries.

    On the state level, we’re working with legislators to reduce marijuana penalties and to increase patients’ access, while also organizing municipal initiatives to permit social use and to mitigate criminal sanctions.

    In the past few months, we’ve witnessed many successes on the state level. Three states have enacted legislation to permit medical marijuana access while many others have expanded access to greater numbers of patients. Many states have amended their laws to significantly reduce penalties for the possession of marijuana or cannabis paraphernalia, while other states have taken steps to authorize the growing of industrial hemp.

    As we look forward to the future, specifically this November, we realize that our role is more important than ever. With voters deciding on nine marijuana-specific ballot measures, this election is the most important in recent memory. And the results of Election Day hold the potential to transform American public policy.

    So, as I begin this new chapter at NORML I ask all of you to join me. Please help usher in this new era by making a donation today of $50.00 or more to NORML. Your donation will help assure that we continue to play a necessary role in shaping public opinion and policy in such a way that puts the needs of responsible marijuana consumers first. As the nation continues to engage in this ongoing narrative regarding legalization, there exists a greater need than ever for politicians, media, and policy analysts to seek guidance and expertise from NORML with regard to the benefits of regulation as well as the health and societal effects of responsible cannabis consumption.

    I’m excited to do my part to make NORML the best organization it can be and I hope you’ll join me.

    Donate to NORML

    21 Responses to “A New Era For NORML”

    1. mynameisjohndaker says:

      Best of luck. It’s 2016 – Let’s get this done for christ’s sake.

    2. Sherry Catron says:

      Welcome! From Peachtree NORML Mid Georgia!

    3. Matt says:

      WELCOME. Please be our leader that makes nationwide legalization happen! So happy to welcome you and have you aboard, sir. Thank you for sharing your story! I will share my own soon, too, raid in college and it was horrible. Best of luck and leadership, we stand with you!

    4. Mark Mitcham says:

      Right on, Randy!

      Thank you for sharing your story about your bust. Helps me understand your personal motivations, which I appreciate.

      (And while that raid can’t have been fun, and while SWAT raids are no joke, still there is something severely clownish about a bunch of grown men in full military gear going after a baggie of weed and a one-hitter! In a safe, no less!! That’s some stupid, useless motherfuckers, alright. If I were a cop, I sure would feel like a big pussy going after guy’s tiny personal stash, locked in a safe!)

      And I appreciate the fact that you made note of the white privilege which helped you out of your predicament, when so much of the brunt of prohibition falls onto the backs of black communities. Thank you for stepping up to be a force for positive change in our society.

    5. Miles says:

      I wish you all the best Randy!!!

      As I often say to the military personnel that serve our country: Thank You for your service :)

      By the way, I think our deranged lawmakers owe you, and the > 1,000,000 people that have suffered because of racist ignorant laws, an apology; not that I would ever expect that from them…

    6. Mark I. says:

      Good luck. Federal intolerance continues and the enslavement of americans continues. There is much to do.

    7. Randy, your “welcome” letter above is so sincere, intelligent, even-handed and eloquently put, I just had to reach for my (digital) checkbook!

      Truth, science, compassion and reason are all solidly on “our side” — but today’s little victory for The Forces of Evil is a reminder that the fight is far from over.

      I am very grateful for the SANITY that NORML brings to our collective “Cannabis Conversation” — and glad to see that you are well able to continue and build upon that legacy.

    8. Dave Price says:

      Being a chair to a new Chapter in Ohio, we welcome you! As a retired businessman, I look forward to new idea’s and possibly an actual National Store from NORML to allow the many States / Chapters to buy the copyrighted material at a price that is good for us and allows a markup for National? Buying in bulk would allow the Chapters to buy products with the NORML Logo for cheaper than hundreds trying to buy these items by ourselves. Self-Branding is a high markup product and many Chapters just never are able to put the NORML name out there. National NORML could provide these items for a small profit while expanding the name. Welcome to NORML and the fight for our Right. North Central Ohio Norml, dave price, chair

    9. TheOracle says:

      Welcome & thanks for stepping up for the Cause!

      That sure is a bummer of a way to be outed. Sounds like you had it real good until that shit happened. Too bad. Would’ve been nice it they didn’t make you open the safe in front of them.

      I’d really like to see legalization on the East Coast happen real soon. I want cannabis de-scheduled at the federal level. I don’t give two shits about international treaties and international laws prohhibiting cannabis legalization. I mean, here I am toiling away at my thankless shit job that most people would never consider doing, stuck with no room for advancement, same shit different day, just smiling and putting up with too many abusive people, people who will never stoop to do the work I do. I don’t want a hangover when I want to relax, and I want to be able to choose whether or not to consume legal marijuana rather than be forced to choose alcohol or tobacco. I can relax without choosing anything, but there are times when I should be allowed to make my own adult decisions like this, you know, and not the totally mis-informed, lying government make the choice for me. Mary Jane is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, especially when vaped.

    10. chip says:

      Randy Ouast,Welcome aboard and I wish you much success!!

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