NORML’s St. Pierre Calls Marijuana Dispensaries ‘Moonshiners’


Allen St. Pierre, NORML: “They’re moonshiners. It’s a tiny group of people who don’t comport”

Medical marijuana patients in Washington state are offended after Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), called medicinal cannabis dispensaries “moonshiners” in a Huffington Post interview.

“They’re moonshiners,” St. Pierre said of the dispensaries which opposed Initiative 502, passed by 54 percent of Washington voters. “It’s a tiny group of people who don’t comport.”
Of course, painting all Washington patient collectives with this broad brush — especially when St. Pierre is 2,600 miles away and doesn’t know what the FUCK he’s talking about — is the height of irresponsibility. I’ve been in close to 90 medical marijuana access points in Washington state, and I can personally tell you that the vast majority are not profiteers, and definitely not “moonshiners.”
“Now patients that grow in collective gardens are ‘moonshiners’ according to the head of NORML!” responded patient advocate Steve Sarich of Cannacare on Facebook Wednesday morning. “Only state-run marijuana is acceptable to NORML?”

Sarich, who was also interviewed by HuffPost, said neither he nor the contributors to his “No on I-502” campaign opposed the measure for financial reasons.
“There may be a few that are making some money, but most of them are just paying the rent,” Sarich said on Monday.
The No on I-502 campaign had argued that the ballot measure inappropriately makes medical marijuana users subject to prosecution — even when unimpaired — under the initiative’s new DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) provision.

Daniel Berman Photography
Steve Sarich: “NORML is attacking medical cannabis… AGAIN!”

The initiative sets the per se threshold for impairment at an absurdly low five nanograms per milliliter (5 ng/ml) of active THC in the blood, which is unsupported by scientific studies. Most current studies have shown no correlation between 5 ng/ml and actual driving impairment.
“The DUI limits in 502 are unscientific and will burden unimpaired drivers with permanent records,” commented Seattle marijuana activist Jared Allaway.
“Most of the patients in the state voted against I-502, not just dispensary owners, and for good reason,” commented “Mimi110.” “We don’t want to end up in jail because of our choice of medicine, but that is exactly how I-502 was written: to punish patients.”
But an arrogant St. Pierre was having none of that.
“Clearly these are just folks who are trying to keep the status quo in place because it’s working for them now,” St. Pierre said from NORML’s offices, 2,600 miles away from Washington state. “Charging $150 to $400 for an ounce of marijuana is only possible under prohibition.
“You just can’t get that much money for dried vegetable matter if the product is actually legal,” St. Pierre claimed.
Interestingly, Washington state itself has estimated that legal marijuana, presumably sold in state-licensed stores some time after December 2013, will cost $12 per gram — well over $300 an ounce.
“The state is estimating that ‘legal pot’ will be sold at $325 an ounce,” Sarich said on Wednesday. “Does that mean that we’ll still have prohibition under I-502?
“NORML is attacking medical cannabis… AGAIN!” Sarich said. “On December 6th, when ‘pot is legal,’ you can only buy it from the black market (which I-502 was supposed to wipe out).
“If they close down access for medical cannabis for patients, then you’ll have exactly what you did 15 years ago and black marketeers will be your only access,” Sarich said. “Remind me again about how I-502 was going to end prohibition?”
“My head is spinning at such idiocy,” commented “Leo’s Choice” on Facebook. “$150 could be considered a great price in this current climate and nowhere except the square in Arcata would you get that consumer friendly of a price.”
“He could be praising the peers who have risked their freedom to establish medical rights and access,” Leo’s Choice said. “And NORML used to battle prohibitionists with facts and science; now they eat their own.”