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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Legal Marijuana Now Party
Chairperson Michael Ford
Founded 1998; 19 years ago (1998)
Headquarters 1835 Englewood Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
Newspaper Freedom Gazette
Ideology Marijuana legalization
Equal rights
Justice
Colors      Green, Gold, Red
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
Governorships
0 / 50
State Upper House Seats
0 / 1,972
State Lower House Seats
0 / 5,411
Website
www.legalcannabisnow.org

Legal Marijuana Now is a political third party in the United States established in 1998 to oppose drug prohibition.[1] The party shares many of the progressive values of the Farmer-Labor Party but with an emphasis on marijuana/hemp legalization issues.

The Legal Marijuana Now Party is an offshoot of the Grassroots Party,[2] and the organization traces their roots to the Youth International Party of the 1960s.

Legal Marijuana Now is active in the U.S. states of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

A primary goal of the Legal Marijuana Now Party, aside from getting pro-cannabis candidates into office, is to increase voter turnout in elections.[3]

Legal Marijuana Now is a social democratic party that is anti-war, pro-labor and supports the rights of all minority groups.[4] The Legal Marijuana Now Party promotes wise environmental stewardship, and denounces corporate personhood.

Platform[edit]

United States Bill of Rights[edit]

The permanent platform of the Legal Marijuana Now party is the Bill of Rights.[5] All Legal Marijuana Now candidates would end marijuana/hemp prohibition, thus re-legalizing cannabis for all its uses.

Social democracy[edit]

The Legal Marijuana Now Party is a grassroots group that derives their strength from the people. Legal Marijuana Now Party is pro-labor and anti-war.[4] Prohibition endangers public safety by fostering corruption, curtailing civil liberties, and perpetuating racism. The Legal Marijuana Now Party believes legalization would bring more jobs and money into the economy.[1]

Ecological democracy[edit]

The hemp plant provides multiple durable goods such as rope, fabric, industrial oil, and biofuel. Cannabis itself is food and medicine.[6]

According to Mark Elworth, Jr., the Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate for vice president in 2016, "Let's let farmers produce environmentally-friendly hemp again."

Mascot[edit]

Marvelous Cannabis Leaf by Andy Schuler

Cannabis leaf[edit]

The official mascot of the Legal Marijuana Now party is the cannabis leaf.

Marvelous Cannabis Leaf is a personification of the mascot that was first drawn as part of the cartoon "Marijuana Legalization in Minnesota is Not Inevitable" on April 20, 2015, by artist and standup comedian Andy Schuler.

Panda[edit]

A panda wearing a cannabis-leaf shirt is an alternate mascot of the Legal Marijuana Now Party.

[edit]

The party logo consists of a raised fist, superimposed with the cannabis leaf mascot and the name of the party, Legal Marijuana Now.

Colors[edit]

Legal Marijuana Now Party official colors are the Rastafari colors, green, gold, and red, and sometimes black. The colors are from the flag of Ethiopia and are also the colors of the Youth International Party flag.

Alternate colors for the Legal Marijuana Now Party are a rainbow flag, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet, representing inclusiveness.

And alternate Legal Marijuana Now Party colors are red, white, and blue, representing the flag of the United States.

[edit]

The official banner is the name of the party in white lettering, on an emerald green background. The letter 'O' in the word 'Now' on the banner is interwoven with a cannabis leaf.

Name[edit]

The Yippies took ownership of the word marijuana. And during the 1960s and 1970s era of Flower Power it was turned into a fighting word representing strength and solidarity.

The name of the party is from the popular chant, "What do we want?" "Legal marijuana." "When do we want it?" "Now!"[2]

Floyd Olson's Minnesota branch of the Farmer-Labor Party provided the inspiration to name Legal Marijuana Now so that the message is clear and easy to understand.

Ideology[edit]

"Herb is the healing of a nation. Alcohol is the destruction."
Bob Marley (1945-1981)

The Legal Marijuana Now Party pledge[edit]

  • Legalize homegrown cannabis
  • Erase past marijuana convictions
  • Ban employment drug testing
  • Abolish the Drug Enforcement Administration[7]

Philosophy of the Legal Marijuana Now Party[edit]

The Legal Marijuana Now Party philosophy is from the Bible. The Book of Revelation (22:2) states, "The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."

In a speech to the Saint Paul branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in October 2014, Legal Marijuana Now candidate for Attorney General of Minnesota, Dan Vacek, said, "Like alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition must be repealed and replaced by regulation, education, and moderation. When we take that step, we take the first step toward healing our nation."[8]

Structure and composition[edit]

Movement[edit]

Grassroots organizations are associated with bottom-up rather than top-down decision making. The Legal Marijuana Now Party seeks to engage ordinary people in political discourse to the greatest extent possible.[3]

Leadership[edit]

All decisions on important organizational and financial subjects must be reached by the leadership Head Council, which consists of Legal Marijuana Now Party members with at least three consecutive years participation in the party and Officers elected by the members at the annual convention held in January.[5]

State and local chapters[edit]

Legal Marijuana Now Party has state chapters in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming. And Congressional District chapters in Saint Paul and Omaha.[1]

U.S. presidential candidates[edit]

In 2016, Legal Marijuana Now placed their presidential candidates on the ballot in two states, Iowa[9] and Minnesota.[10] And as a write-in candidate nationwide.

Legal Marijuana Now Party results in presidential elections[edit]

Year Candidate VP Candidate Ballot Access Popular Votes Percentage National Rank
2016 Dan Vacek at Rice Street Parade 2016.jpg
Dan Vacek of Minnesota
Mark Elworth.jpg
Mark Elworth of Nebraska
IA, MN 13,537[11][12] 0.01% 10th of 31[13]

History[edit]

Early History[edit]

The Youth International Party, formed in 1967 to advance the counterculture of the 1960s, often ran candidates for public office. The Yippie flag is a five-pointed star superimposed with a cannabis leaf.

The Grassroots Party was founded in Minnesota in 1986 and ran numerous candidates for state and federal offices. The party was active in Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont. Grassroots Party ran candidates in every presidential election from 1988 to 2000.

In 1996 the Minnesota Grassroots Party split, forming the Independent Grassroots Party for one election cycle. John Birrenbach was the Independent Grassroots Presidential candidate and George McMahon was the Vice-presidential candidate.[14] Dan Vacek was the Independent Grassroots candidate for United States Representative, District 4, in 1996.

In 1998, members of the Independent Grassroots Party formed the Legal Marijuana Now political party.[1]

1998 election results in Minnesota[edit]

Year Office Candidate Popular Votes Percentage
1998 United States Representative, District 4 Dan Vacek 5,839[15] 2.40%

Iowa history[edit]

Iowa Legal Marijuana Now Party placed their presidential candidates on the 2016 ballot by petitioning the state.[9] If the party receives two-percent of the vote in a statewide race they can claim minor party access in Iowa. Legal Marijuana Now Iowa is organizing a petition drive to put candidates onto the ballot in 2018.

Minnesota history[edit]

In 2014, Dan Vacek ran for Minnesota Attorney General as the Legal Marijuana Now candidate and got 57,604 votes, qualifying the party to be officially recognized and to receive public funding from the state.[16][17][18]

Legal Marijuana Now Minnesota held their first convention and adopted a party constitution on November 26, 2014. Founding members Oliver Steinberg, Marty Super, and Dan Vacek comprised the organization's 2015 leadership council.

In 2016, Michael Ford was elected chairperson of the Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party.

The Legal Marijuana Now Party placed a candidate, Zach Phelps, on the ballot in the Minnesota State Senate District 35 Special Election, in February 2016.[1][2]

Results in Minnesota state elections[edit]

Year Office Candidate Popular Votes Percentage
2014 Minnesota Attorney General Dan Vacek 57,604 2.99%[19]
2016 Minnesota State Senator, District 35 Zachary Phelps[2] 180 4.10%[20]
2016 Minnesota State Senator, District 60 Martin Super 8,861[12] 21.78%

Results in federal elections in Minnesota[edit]

Year Office Candidate Popular Votes Percentage
2016 United States Representative, District 4 Susan Sindt 27,152[12] 7.71%
2016 United States Representative, District 5 Dennis Schuller 30,759[12] 8.50%

Minnesota does not allow voters to petition to put the law itself onto the ballot for a vote. The only petition the people can use in Minnesota is to nominate independent and third party candidates for office.[21] In Minnesota, there is a two-week petitioning period in May 2018. If there is a special election meanwhile, the petitioning window for a special election is only one week in length. Legal Marijuana Now Minnesota is organizing a petition drive to put candidates onto the ballot in the 2018 election.

According to Legal Marijuana Now Minnesota, the right to grow a garden is protected by the Minnesota Constitution.[7] The Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party and other state legalization organizations are lobbying the Legislature to give the people of Minnesota a chance to vote for cannabis in 2018.

The proposed ballot wording is "Shall Art. XIII, Sec. 7, be amended to authorize the licensing of cultivation or sales of Cannabis by persons in Minnesota, but not by corporations?"

Nebraska history[edit]

Legal Marijuana Now Nebraska is petitioning to be recognized as a major political party. That earns candidates inclusion in the official state voters guide. To make the ballot, Legal Marijuana Now Party must have valid signatures equal to at least one-percent of the total votes cast for governor in 2014, or 5,397 signatures statewide. The party also must have a certain number of signatures from each of the state's three congressional districts.[3]

In July, 2016, volunteers turned in 9,000 signatures to the Nebraska Secretary of State. However, the Secretary of State said that half of the signatures were invalid, falling short of the 5,397 needed.[22]

In Nebraska, voters can petition to put the law itself onto the ballot for a vote. Legal Marijuana Now Party organizer Mark Elworth is circulating a new petition to secure ballot access for the party.[23] And, at the same time, Nebraska Legal Marijuana Now is petitioning to put an initiative to decriminalize non-medical cannabis onto the statewide ballot in 2018.[24]

New Mexico history[edit]

New Mexico Legal Marijuana Now Party is petitioning to become a recognized political party in the state of New Mexico.

Nevada History[edit]

Nevada Legal Marijuana Now Party is petitioning to become a recognized political party in the state of Nevada.

Wyoming history[edit]

Wyoming Marijuana Now Party is organizing a petition drive to become a recognized political party in the state of Wyoming.

Publications[edit]

Freedom Gazette Number 2, January–March 2016

Freedom Gazette[edit]

Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party's e-newsletter, Freedom Gazette, is published quarterly. The Freedom Gazette is currently edited by Dan Vacek.

The Weed[edit]

The Minnesota Weed newsletter is produced independently by Legal Marijuana Now Party co-founder Oliver Steinberg. The Weed newsletter was originally conceived in 1982 as a publication of the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The Weed currently is published to promote campaigns of candidates from all parties who support the rights of people who consume cannabis.

Criticism[edit]

Critics of the Legal Marijuana Now Party either apologize for the harms of prohibition and argue that personal use of cannabis should remain banned.[25]

Or Legal Marijuana Now Party critics, whether pro-cannabis or not, argue that involvement in third parties, contrary to the intended goal of increasing voter-participation, steals votes from progressive candidates in important elections. Though third party candidates do get elected across the United States from time to time, according to an editorial in The New York Times, "a third-party candidate ... will most assuredly lose."[26]

Legal Marijuana Now Party in the news[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Gettman, Jon (February 9, 2016). "Pot Matters: Minnesota Maverick Pushes Legalization Platform in Special Election". High Times. 
  2. ^ a b c Stoddard, Martha (July 23, 2016). "Marijuana party seeks spot on ballot for presidential race". Omaha World-Herald. 
  3. ^ a b Gemma, Peter B. (October 19, 2016). "Interview with Dan Vacek, Legal Marijuana Now Presidential Nominee". Independent Political Report. 
  4. ^ Herer, Jack (1985). The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp & The Marijuana Conspiracy (11th ed.). Van Nuys, CA: Ah Ha Publishing. ISBN 0-9524560-0-1. 
  5. ^ a b "Weg met Trump en Clinton, stem Legal Marijuana Now!". Rolling Stoned. October 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Attorney General candidate Dan Vacek's October 30th address to the Saint Paul NAACP". facebook.com/LMN.USA. October 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Hanson, Alex (August 25, 2016). "Weekly politics wrap-up: Ballot access in Iowa". Iowa State Daily. 
  8. ^ Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (August 24, 2016). "Don’t like Trump or Clinton? You have choices". Pioneer Press. 
  9. ^ "2016 General Election Canvass Summary" (PDF). Iowa Secretary of State. November 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Minnesota State Canvassing Report: 2016 General Election" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. November 29, 2016. 
  11. ^ Wachtler, Mark (November 15, 2016). "2016 Presidential Vote Totals for all 31 Candidates". Opposition News. 
  12. ^ Bickford, Bob (October 7, 1998). "1996 Presidential Election Results by State". Ballot Access News. 
  13. ^ Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1998). "Minnesota Election Results 1998, p. 43" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library. 
  14. ^ "Minnesota's major & minor political parties: Secretary of State". Minnesota Secretary of State. 
  15. ^ Associated Press (December 31, 2014). "Independence Party demoted to minor-party status". mprnews.org. 
  16. ^ Du, Susan (July 19, 2017). "Reefer Riches: What Minnesota could learn about recreational marijuana". City Pages. 
  17. ^ "2014 Election Results Minnesota Attorney General". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2014. 
  18. ^ "2016 Results Minnesota Special Election". Minnesota Secretary of State. February 2016. 
  19. ^ Condon, Patrick (June 21, 2014). "Pot activists light up Minnesota ballot". Star Tribune. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (August 5, 2016). "Marijuana Party petition drive fails to result in ballot placement". Lincoln Journal Star. 
  21. ^ Chitwood, Joe (July 12, 2017). "Pro-pot party petition drive reaches North Platte". North Platte Bulletin. 
  22. ^ Pluhacek, Zach (September 14, 2016). "Marijuana groups already petitioning for 2018 ballot". Lincoln Journal Star. 
  23. ^ Edenloff, Al (October 5, 2016). "Senate District 8 candidates have little in common". Echo Press. Retrieved October 9, 2016. 
  24. ^ Blow, Charles M. (September 22, 2016). "The Folly of the Protest Vote". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]

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