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I READ WITH INTEREST Gene A. Cisewski’s response to the strife at NORML (The Mail, 8/18). As a former NORML volunteer, I had frequent occasion to witness everything being currently alleged by the group of “disgruntled employees.” “Skilled leadership” by Allen St. Pierre? Hardly. Every time I saw St. Pierre, he was conducting his own personal social hour—often with wisps of suspicious-smelling smoke coming from under the door. (I’m no narc, but Cisewski’s denial of this fact necessitates this response.)
I stopped volunteering for NORML when I realized that the organization isn’t going anywhere. Its “skilled leadership” does little more than enjoy bong hits and trade grow tips—there may be a place for that in the marijuana movement, but not in the national headquarters of the group that’s supposed to be leading us into major social change.
NORML lost its only hope for progress in years when NORML’s director, Richard Cowan, drove away the real “skilled leadership” last winter: the former employees now coming forward with their troubling stories. Judging from NORML’s current downward trend (no regular newsletters, no chapter coordinator, shrunken budget), those employees’ absence is being sharply felt.