Dec 162011

The director of the local chapter of a nonprofit organization seeking to reform California’s marijuana laws has been booted for his angry outburst during Tuesday’s meeting of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors after they banned medical marijuana dispensaries.

Russ Belville, the Portland-based outreach coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said in an apology issued to the supervisors that James Benno of Redding is no longer a representative of NORML.

The chapter also is under suspension, Jim Schultz reports in the Record Searchlight.

“They can’t represent us anymore,” Belville said in a telephone conversation with the Record Searchlight. Based in Washington, D.C., the national organization has approximately 150 independent chapters, Belville said.

He declined to say what the local chapter would have to do to have the suspension lifted.

Benno cursed at supervisors as he rose to leave the meeting Tuesday where they later passed an ordinance to ban dispensaries in the unincorporated county. Several medical marijuana advocates in the audience at Tuesday’s meeting apologized to supervisors for Benno’s behavior.

Benno, who was in Oakland Thursday, said he was not representing NORML at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I was there representing myself,” he said.

Told he was no longer a representative of NORML, Benno sounded unconcerned.

“That’s fine,” he said.

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