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A New Era for Legalization: Green is the New NORML

I have been a board member and the Treasurer of NORML for just over two years. Due to the recent departure of our former Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, in July I was appointed by the NORML board to serve as Acting Executive Director until our search committee appoints a permanent one.

I’m honored to help NORML in any and every way possible, because when I faced the legal system due to my personal daily use of marijuana, NORML was there for me.

I began working for my family’s trucking company, Quast Transfer, in 1979. The following year, when the trucking industry was deregulated, our small business with one service center employing 10 people quickly grew to a company with more than 600 employees located in 23 service centers across 10 Midwestern states. In 1988, I became Quast Tranfer’s sole shareholder. Ten years later, I sold the company.

One fateful day in 2008, I got kicked out of the cannabis closet through no choice of my own. I’d just purchased four ounces of black-market pot, locked it in my safe and went out to dinner. While I was out, a thief broke into my Minneapolis home and tried to haul my safe through the backyard. Spotted by my neighbors, the thief ran away, leaving the safe in the middle of the yard. I returned from dinner to find cops all around my home. While investigating the burglary, they found an aluminum one-hitter I’d left in the bathroom. Based on that, they secured a search warrant, hauled my safe to the police department and returned in the morning SWAT-style to charge me with felony possession of marijuana.

Fortunately, I had the means to hire a good attorney. I received a stay of adjudication, and in 2010, after completing two years of probation, my felony charge was dismissed. That September, I attended the NORML Conference in Portland, and started the process to form Minnesota NORML. In 2014, I was elected to the National board of directors, and in 2015, I moved to Oregon and co-founded Portland NORML.

This November, five states will vote on marijuana legalization, and another four will vote on medical marijuana. These changes are happening largely because NORML continues to educate the public and lobby legislators. More than ever, people realize that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

I encourage you to join NORML and continue the fight to bring legalization to the entire country. Visit norml.org and donate $50 for 50 Legal States, and let America know that Green Is the New NORML.



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