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Cannabis Crusader Turned Grifter Finally Will Answer In CourtKeith Mansur Special to Salem-News.com
NORML Acting Director will have a chance to clear his name and could get a million dollar judgment against Oregon’s “mastermind” activist, Travis Maurer.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Finally a long awaited court date has been set for Oregon’s grifter activist, Steven Travis Maurer.
Once lauded by Newsweek as the “crusader” for ending cannabis prohibition, the now disgraced Maurer already has judgments decided against him in recent months, and many are interested to see what happens in court on September 16th in Multnomah County, Oregon.
Randy Quast, who is currently the acting Director of NORML and is temporarily residing in Washington D.C. to fulfill those responsibilities, filed the lawsuit in January claiming Travis Maurer, and his wife, defrauded him out of around $850,000.
It was Travis’ wife Leah who was on the bank account and handled the money for the company that was formed between the Maurers and Quast.
Quast has long served as the Treasurer of the nations most prominent marijuana legalization organization, National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.
He had moved to Portland to enter the legal marijuana industry and became involved with the convincing and smooth talking Travis Maurer.
The Oregon Cannabis Connection reported in February of this year:
“In February of 2015, Maurer got financially involved with Randy Quast, a NORML board member and wealthy trucking executive from Minnesota. According to a lawsuit filed by Quast, he provided Maurer a personal loan exceeding $150,000 and then invested an additional $700,000 in a business venture with Leah and Travis Maurer. They were allegedly supposed to open a medical dispensary and to fund a marijuana grow operation.
By January 2016, Quast would file his lawsuit for breach of contract, defamation, negligence, unlawful conversion and fraud. The lawsuit totals a million dollars in damages, including financial damages to the tune of well over $800,000. The suit names both Travis and Leah Maurer as defendants.” – from Crusader, Mastermind, or Grifter?, Oregon Cannabis Connection Feb/Mar 2015 edition.
Kaliko Castille, who was a friend of Quast and served with him on the board of Portland NORML, said, “I’m happy Randy Quast will finally have his case against Travis and Leah Maurer heard."
“Randy has been an un-sung hero of the national cannabis movement, and has given generously to NORML in order to form Minnesota and Portland NORML,” Castille explained to OCC.
“It’s infuriating that The Maurer’s took advantage of his kindness so that they could try to enrich themselves.”
In all, a total of 5 lawsuits were filed against Travis and/or Leah Maurer and their companies claiming contractual failure, fraud, libel, and unpaid money in the course of a couple of months in 2015-16.
One of the lawsuits was initiated by The Weed Blog owners to have Travis Maurer removed from their company.
That lawsuit, for $50,000, was brought by The Weed Blog’s original developers and owners, Chris Young (aka Johnny Green) and Jeff White (aka Jay Smoker). It was dropped because Maurer made them a buy-out offer which was substantial enough to make it worth their while. It freed them from the burden of Maurer’s apparent criminal behavior, and more recent shenanigans with the website.
“To settle, Travis paid us cash, released all rights to the Johnny Green name, 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 told OCC. “That last provision is the ultimate reason we agreed.”
“We essentially sacrificed The Weed Blog to stand up for Randy and other victims,” Young explained further.
“Randy is one of the best dudes I know. All he did was trust someone that is a master manipulator, and sent texts about seeking counseling for alcohol addiction ...Travis tried using that moment of weakness to try to perpetuate the worst lie that I’ve ever heard someone hurl at another person and – all business aside – that’s unforgivable.”
Since White and Young left, the site is getting sloppy with their posts and site maintenance, which includes posting unauthorized content, not properly blocking spam comments and visits, and slacking search optimization practices.
White was the mastermind behind the sites structure, security and search engine optimization (SEO), while Young handled the content and posting to the site and developed the relationships with other bloggers, activists, and news sites that made their content original, informative, and compelling.
The OCC has been unable to discover who the unsuspecting investor(s) are, but it’s likely they are not real happy with the continued degradation of the once powerhouse website.
There is a lot more to a successful website than copying and pasting stories from reputable websites without authorization or proper attribution (like the Washington Post article The Weed Blog posted just after Chris and Jeff left...which has now been taken down).
There’s a lot more to marijuana news than writing fluff pieces on advertisers, or just lifting random events off Facebook.
Know where you get your news, and what the source stands for, whenever possible. Just as I would not get any serious political news or even truly reliable facts from a source like People Magazine, I would no longer trust The Weed Blog for anything more than a few interesting re-posts from other sites, and a few poorly sourced and written stories of their own.
By Keith Mansur; First published: OCCNewspaper.com
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