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Altieri Steps Down As NORML Director

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri is stepping down, the marijuana policy reform organization announced on Tuesday

NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri is officially stepping down from his position at the organization. The marijuana policy reform organization announced the change on Tuesday.

Altieri assumed the role in November 2016. He directed NORML during one of the more successful periods in marijuana law reform history.

Since Altieri took over leadership of the organization in 2017, 13 states have legalized cannabis for adults. On two occasions, the US House of Representatives has voted to repeal federal pot prohibition.

In October, President Joe Biden became the first sitting president to call federal prohibition a “failed approach to marijuana.” He also issued a pardon for over 6,500 Americans with federal Cannabis convictions on their criminal records.

Led NORML Through Pandemic

Altieri led the organization through the COVID pandemic, during which time NORML worked to better educate, represent, and protect the marijuana community. This included warning consumers not to share Cannabis consumption devices.

NORML pushed back against unproven, marijuana-specific COVID remedies. The group worked with scientists and health professionals to document COVID’s effects on consumer behaviors. It pushed for state and local policies declaring marijuana businesses as essential services.

Began As Intern In 2007

Altieri began his professional career with NORML as an intern in 2007. He later became communications director. After a brief absence from the organization, he returned in 2016 as the youngest executive director in NORML’s 50-plus year history.

On numerous occasions, Altieri was recognized by the weed community for his service. He was chosen by Forbes, and Cannabis Now to appear on their annual ’30 under 30′ and ’40 under 40′ lists of industry leaders. In 2022, Inside NJ listed Altieri as #16 on their Top 100 Power List. “[He] has presided over the most fruitful era of cannabis reform in the history of mankind,” they noted.

”I’m Proud NORML Remained True To Its Mission”

“I’m proud that NORML has remained true to the mission on which it was founded in 1970: to advocate on behalf of cannabis consumers,” Altieri said. “NORML’s work focuses heavily on the core goal of ending prohibition, so no marijuana consumer is treated as a criminal or a second-class citizen in society.”

“These sort of advances were no more than wishful thinking when I assumed the Director’s role in November 2016,” Altieri said. “They would have been all but inconceivable when I first began my career with NORML in 2008, at a time when nearly one million of my fellow marijuana consumers were being placed in handcuffs every year, at a time when there were no adult-use legal states, and when the George W. Bush administration was declaring a ‘war’ on state-legal medical cannabis patients and their providers. How times have changed.”

”Marijuana is now legal in some capacity in most states in this country, and public support for legalization is at an all-time high,” Altieri said. “The wind is at our backs, and even greater things are to come.”

“That’s not to say that there haven’t been challenges along the way. There have been many,” Altieri said. “But because we are a family, we stood together every step of the way and always kept up the fight. NORML serves as a vocal advocate for responsible cannabis consumers, and today we are still a grassroots organization that stays true to that mission.”

NORML’s Board of Directors has formed a committee to run the search for a new executive director. In the interim, NORML Board Member and treasurer Randy Quast will serve as NORML’s acting executive director.

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