A New Era For NORML

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 thoughts

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Thank you Randy for carrying the torch for our freedom.
    Texas NORML is gaining support within the state legislature to expand the Compassionate Use Act. In states without voter initiatives we need to take the mask off of any politician that tries to “support our veterans” in one hand while killing them and their access to medical marijuana like Republicans did in the House Appropriations Committee. Is there any way we can fundraise directly to create commercials in states like Florida and Missouri to educate voters about this problem? We need the NORML Congressional Scorecard linked to every social media buzz and billboard in America. What about an advertising campaign before elections?

  9. Let’s not forget who were doing this for first;



    She needs less than 2000 signatures, please sign the petition. Her hearing is in October. Even if she gets her kid back she’s facing 8-37 years in prison due to an illegal search and treating her Chrone’s disease. We need this petition to create a new one if we need to get the US attorney of Kansas and President Obama to grant her a pardon, god damn the beurocracy in Garden City and the DEA, thats what well do. Our government must cease and desist from using Children to testify against their own parents for consuming the only safe, affordable and effective medicine available; marijuana.

  10. Randy…..thanks for sharing your story and your mission. Hopefully you can elevate NORML into more vislbility and a more proactive stance in communities around the U.S. A start might be to call for a day of nationwide protest at all DEA offices.

  11. HURRAY! Randy Rules! Your introduction is one of my favorite reads, ever. I’m most proud of you, Randy – and, us, all. I love your awesome story of good work!

  12. It’s so good to have someone like you Randy in our corner..
    I am so upset that Alabama is never mentioned. Who is pushing and fighting for legalization in Alabama? I have donated a lot of money for the cause..Right now Alabama is needing money for Medicaid ,etc..So Governor Bentley is for legalizing the lottery, when in the past he was against it…WHY isn’t legalizing marijuana being considered. Look at the states that have legalized it and see the $$$ it’s made for that state. Legalization will happen eventually in the next several years why not just go ahead and do it now and start reaping the benefits NOW.

  13. Great first post! I love the concept of “Corporate Stoner” and “coming out” — I spent 3 years living in Minnesota as a senior executive for Target and now making my transition to THC in Phoenix. While in MSP, my mom was a breast cancer patient — in addition to her being a regular “stoner” — the struggle to adequately support her “illegal” (now legal) medicinal needs without jeopardizing my career was real. In the wake of her death, I felt compelled to “come out of the closet” — becoming an entrepreneur and advocate for the cannabis industry. Definitely trying to be a spark of change in this marijuana movement!

  14. If you really want to awaken NORML you must understand this: preserving the federal prohibition of cannabis is a line drawn in the sand by the transnational corporate cabal that uses the feds as middle-management. Free access to cannabis/hemp swiftly shifts power from the Corporate run State to the Individual. That is key.

  15. Last week, the Maurers, now well-known marijuana advocates, were sued for $1 million by a former business partner, Randy Quast—a trucking tycoon who himself moved to Oregon from Minnesota after a weed bust, and became the treasurer of Portland’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

    Quast says the Maurers tricked him into believing they were growing weed when they weren’t.

    In the Jan. 15 lawsuit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court and first reported by The Oregonian, Quast says he gave the Maurers at least $155,570 to pay off Travis’ debts from the legalization campaign, and another $696,760 to start an indoor growing operation and dispensary. But Quast says the dispensary never opened.

    Hustlers keep hustlin’…

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