Chris Wright (activist)

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Chris Wright

Thomas Christopher "Chris" Wright (born October 14, 1957) is an American businessman, cannabis rights and free speech activist, and frequent candidate for public office. Wright, who co-founded the Grassroots Party in 1986, owns a computer repair shop in Bloomington, Minnesota.[1][2][3][4][5]


Chris Wright organized the Minnesota Tea Party, a cannabis rights rally held on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol every September from 1987 to 2013.[6]

A political rally and music festival called Grassroots Gathering, organized by Wright in 1992, which was to be held on a private campground near Ogilvie, Minnesota, was cancelled by authorities citing incidents reported at the Weedstock festival in Wisconsin the previous year.[7][8]

Wright was arrested in 1996 for growing 41 cannabis plants at his home in Minneapolis. He appealed the conviction and lost. Wright argued that under Art. XIII, Sec. 7 of the Minnesota Constitution any person may sell the products of the farm or garden occupied by him without obtaining a license. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reasoned that product labeling, and other restrictions established previously, granted police authority to ban cannabis.[9][10][11][12]

Wright ran for U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district in 1988 as a Grassroots candidate. In 1998, Wright was endorsed by the Grassroots Party for Governor of Minnesota. He got 1,727 votes. In the 2010 Minnesota gubernatorial election, Wright got 7,516 votes as a Grassroots candidate. In 2014, Wright got 31,259 votes for Governor as a Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis candidate.[13][14][15][16]

Wright was nominated by petition to run for Governor of Minnesota in 2018 as a Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party candidate. In addition to legalizing drugs, Wright promotes using hydrogen as fuel.[2][9][17]


  1. ^ Gilyard, Burl (July 5, 1995). "Doobie Brothers: Grassroots Party members grapple with their budding political clout". Twin Cities Reader.
  2. ^ a b Davis, Don (October 4, 2010). "Dayton, Emmer, Horner not only Minnesota governor candidates on ballot". Grand Forks Herald. For 25 years, Wright has fought to loosen the state's marijuana laws. "As a candidate that supports the legalization of marijuana and an end to the drug war, if elected, I have the best chance of raising revenue without raising taxes or cutting spending," Wright said. "Instead of insisting on gangster distribution and the subsidizing of criminals, like my reprehensible opponents, I intend to regulate distribution and tax substances, just like liquor." Wright also promotes using hydrogen as a fuel.
  3. ^ Condon, Patrick (June 21, 2014). "Pot activists light up Minnesota ballot". Star Tribune.
  4. ^ Mosedale, Mike (October 3, 2014). "A crowded field of pot advocates". Politics in Minnesota Capitol Report. In gubernatorial bid, the Grassroots Party's Chris Wright is no longer such a lonely voice. Chris Wright is the gubernatorial candidate of the Grassroots Party, the pro-marijuana legalization party he helped to found in 1986.
  5. ^ Scheck, Tom (October 21, 2014). "Sharp focus, few votes for Cannabis, Libertarian governor hopefuls". Minnesota Public Radio.
  6. ^ Donovan, Lisa (August 31, 2000). "Grassroots Party Having Quarrel with City Officials: Security Requests Holding Up Permits For Sept. 16 Rally". St. Paul Pioneer Press. With or without the blessings of the St. Paul police, the Grassroots Party says it is prepared to hold a block party and march Sept. 16 in the name of legalizing marijuana. So far, event organizer and party chairman Chris Wright said he has been unable to get the proper city permits for the "14th Annual Minnesota Tea Party" because he has refused to comply with police requests to hire as many as five off-duty officers. "Last year, there were two and that was sufficient," Wright said. "They're putting up some unreasonable free-speech roadblocks," Wright said. "Frankly, we're not going to pay for it (additional officers) and we're going to march. There's no reason we should observe such an unconstitutional infringement on our free speech."
  7. ^ Doyle, Pat (May 16, 1992). "Judge blocks large Grassroots fest near Ogilvie". Star Tribune. Wright is running as a member of the Grassroots Party against Democratic U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo. Wright said the festival is intended to raise money for party candidates, and he accused authorities of blocking it to prevent speeches favoring legalization of marijuana. "Their main worry is that the message about the usefulness of hemp is really coming out, and they want to quash that," he said. "Hogwash," Thompson retorted. "I think Mr. Wright's impact on thinking will be something less than a mosquito bite on a giant's arm." Slattengren said the Minnesota event was intended primarily as a rock concert, not a political rally. The flier makes no explicit reference to politics. The judge described the scheduled gathering as a sequel to Weedstock and a similar Wisconsin festival called Hempstock, held on Labor Day.
  8. ^ Associated Press (May 17, 1992). "Judge nixes music festival near Ogilvie". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Fearing a repeat of Weedstock '91, a judge has nixed plans for a Memorial Day weekend festival that promised live music by the Incredible Smoking Bongs. Kanabec County District Court Judge Linn Slattengren issued an injunction Friday blocking the festival, saying that organizers failed to obtain a county permit and that the expected gathering of more than 1,000 people posed a safety hazard. The festival had been planned for May 22–25 on a 12-acre private campground near Ogilvie in east-central Minnesota. It was organized by Chris Wright, a member of the Minnesota Grassroots Party, which advocates legalization of marijuana and other drugs.
  9. ^ a b Dickson, Janiese (May 10, 2017). "Politicians and citizens implore Minnesotans to legalize marijuana at 420 rally". City College News. Chris Wright, who announced his candidacy for governor at the rally, dissented from the popular support of these bills, saying that they don't comply with Article 13 Section 7 of Minnesota's constitution. Wright's reasons are that passing a constitutional amendment would make it difficult to challenge in court and cheat Minnesota farmers of revenue. Article 13 Section 7 states, "any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefor."
  10. ^ "State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. Thomas Christopher Wright, Appellant, C4-98-179". File No. 96075200: Minnesota Court of Appeals. December 22, 1998. Archived from the original on December 21, 2004. Retrieved June 19, 2017. The statute prohibiting the sale of marijuana is a valid exercise of the state's police powers. As such, the statute is constitutional notwithstanding a special-purpose constitutional provision allowing farmers to sell farm products without obtaining a license.CS1 maint: location (link)
  11. ^ Associated Press (December 23, 1998). "Right to peddle produce doesn't include pot, court rules". Star Tribune. Wright based his appeal on a section of the Constitution that says, "Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefore." But the Appeals Court said the state law prohibiting the sale of marijuana is constitutional despite that provision. The judges noted that the state Supreme Court has previously upheld Minnesota's marijuana laws as a valid exercise of the state's police powers. The appeals panel said that there isn't much case law on the meaning of the constitutional language on selling farm and garden products, but that cases from 1909 and 1925 suggest that it grants a privilege rather than a fundamental liberty. State law contains "numerous reasonable restrictions" on the way farm products enter the market, such as prohibitions on the sale of unwholesome, misbranded or adulterated food, the judges said.
  12. ^ Associated Press (December 23, 1998). "Court upholds state's marijuana laws". St. Paul Pioneer Press. A line in the Minnesota Constitution about a person's right to sell products from his farm or garden without a license doesn't protect a man who sold marijuana, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. A three-judge appeals panel let stand the conviction of Thomas Wright, who was arrested after police found more than 11 pounds of marijuana, including 41 live plants, during a search of his home in Minneapolis in 1996.
  13. ^ Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1998). "Minnesota Election Results 1998, pp. 30-172" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  14. ^ "2010 MN Governor Election Results". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2, 2010.
  15. ^ Pugmire, Tim (September 11, 2014). "Minnesota's candidates for governor divided on marijuana laws". Minnesota Public Radio.
  16. ^ "2014 MN Governor Election Results". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 4, 2014.
  17. ^ Featherly, Kevin (June 14, 2018). "Bar Buzz: Pro-pot AG candidate's got high hopes". Minnesota Lawyer.


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