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NORML Board Chair Settles Court Case with Oregon Weed Activists

Leah and Travis Maurer

The long nightmare is over for Leah and Travis Maurer, two Oregon marijuana activists who were sued by NORML board chair Randy Quast for breach of contract and defamation in 2016. He was asking for $1 million from the Mauers.

Instead, on September 16, Quast agreed to pay the Maurers $100,000. The case was dismissed by a judge in March. The Maurers' countersuit was also dismissed.

Quast stated in the settlement.

“I’ve dropped my claims against Travis and Leah Maurer. After learning additional facts in discovery, I now realize that this dispute was based on a misunderstanding. I regret the hardship this matter has caused the Maurers.”

NORML chairman of the board Randy Quast

In 2015, Quast moved from his homestate of Minnesota to Oregon, where he met the Maurers. They struck up a business deal to start a dispensary and cultivation facility. Quast seeded the project with $155,000 of his own money, plus another $700,000 in a bank they all had access to, he alleged. When construction on the facility had failed to begin, Quast concluded the Maurers were using his money for personal purposes. He sued them for $1 million in 2016.

Update: Travis Mauer sent the following statement to CelebStoner about the financial numbers quoted above. It reads: "[Randy Quast] paid off our debt which was the $155k + $108k combined salaries over nine mionths + $400k to build out a dispensary + $75k for patient management. That's a total of $738k. The remainder is other expenses incurred over the course of ordinary business."

Quast's personal wealth came from Less-than-TruckLoad, a trucking company he sold for $40 million. Quast soon quickly rose up the ranks at NORML, first heading the Minnesota chapter and then being named trh national organization's chairman of the board. He was also interim national director in 2016.

The Maurers, who own The Weed Blog and live in Portland, hailed the settlement at Facebook. 

In Quast's bio at NORML, nothing is mentioned about the suit. "In 2015, as an empty nester and with four adult children out on their own for two years, Randy relocated from Minneapolis to Portland, Oregon," it reads in part. "Randy has always loved the Pacific Northwest and especially all of his close friends in Oregon. While in Oregon, Randy was a founding member of Portland NORML which merged with Oregon NORML."

Asked if Quast will remain as NORML's board chair, NORML founder Keith Stroup tells CelebStoner:

"Of course Randy will remain on the NORML board. This dispute in Oregon was a private matter and did not involve NORML. I would not expect NORML will issue any statement regarding the settlement."

Asked if this case was an embarassament to NORML, Stroup replied:

"The Oregon lawsuit involved a private business deal gone bad; it had nothing to do with NORML or with Randy's valuable work as chair of the NORML board."

The Maurers have had their detractors other than Quast. After moving to Oregon from St. Louis in 2010, they joined the legalization movement in the state (Prop 91 passed in 2014). In 2015, Travis started working with Chris Young and Jeff White at The Weed Blog. That didn't go well. The website's founders sued Travis for $50,000 after they alleged he'd been siphoning money from the company's business account. 

“To settle, Travis paid us cash, released all rights to the Johnny Green name [Young's alias], waived any future claims and, most importantly, we didn’t have to sign a gag order so we could finally tell our stories and tell the truth,” Young said in 2016. “That last provision is the ultimate reason we agreed.”

The Oregon Cannabis Connection article dubbed Mauer Oregon’s grifter activist.

When the Mauers resided in St. Louis, Travis was arrested during a SWAT raid on his 400-plant grow operation. He was on probation for the first five years he lived in Oregon when he and his wife ran into problems with Quast, Young, White and others.

This article was posted on September 17 and updated on September 22.

 

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.