Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party

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Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party
ChairmanChris Wright
Founded2014; 7 years ago (2014)
HeadquartersSaint Paul
IdeologyMarijuana legalization
Democratic socialism[1]
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House of Representatives
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U.S. Senate
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U.S. House of Representatives
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The Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party is a political third party in the U.S. state of Minnesota created in 2014 to oppose drug prohibition. The party shares many of the progressive values of the Farmer—Labor Party but with an emphasis on cannabis/hemp legalization issues.[2]


United States Bill of Rights[edit]

The permanent platform of the Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party is the Bill of Rights. Individual candidates' positions on issues vary from Libertarian to Green. All Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis candidates would end marijuana/hemp prohibition, thus re-legalizing cannabis for all its uses.

Gubernatorial candidates[edit]

The Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party nominated their candidates by petition in 2014 to run for Governor of Minnesota. In the race for Governor, Chris Wright received 31,259 votes.[3]

In 2018, Wright again was nominated by petition to run for Minnesota Governor, and received 68,664 votes in the November general election.

Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party results in gubernatorial elections[edit]

Year Candidate Lieutenant Governor candidate Votes Percentage
2014 Chris Wright at the Minnesota State Capitol on April 20 2017.jpg
Chris Wright
David Daniels 31,259 1.58%[3]
2018 Chris Wright Judith Schwartzbacker 68,664 2.65%[4]


In 2014, the Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party was established by Oliver Steinberg[5] because Steinberg and Chris Wright were unwilling to join the rest of the Grassroots Party when they merged with the Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party.[6] In the 2014 race for Governor, Wright received 31,259 votes.[3] The party also ran a candidate for State Auditor, in 2014, who received 55,132 votes.

The Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party nominated their candidates by petition in 2018 to run for Governor of Minnesota, as well as in the race for Minnesota Attorney General,[7] the results of which earned the group major-party status in Minnesota. A few weeks before the election, the Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis candidate for Attorney General, Noah Johnson, dropped out of the race to support Democratic/Farmer-Labor candidate Keith Ellison[8] who was embroiled in scandal,[9] though Johnson's name remained on the ballot.

Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party founder Oliver Steinberg, who previously ran as a Republican candidate[10] and a Grassroots candidate,[11] had a background of violence discrediting the peace movement in the 1970s.[12] Steinberg was the Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis candidate for United States Senator in 2020.[13]

Perennial Republican candidate Rae Hart Anderson was nominated by Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party voters in the August 11 primary to run for United States Representative in Minnesota's 7th congressional district on November 3, 2020.[14][15]

Results in Minnesota state elections[edit]

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
2014 MN Auditor Judith Schwartzbacker 55,132 2.87%
2018 MN Attorney General Noah Johnson 145,744 5.71%[16]
2020 MN Senator 5 Dennis Barsness 967 2.14%[17]
2020 MN Senator 20 Jason Hoschette 2,901 5.93%[18]
2020 MN Senator 22 Brian Abrahamson 1,947 5.04%[19]
2020 MN Senator 29 Mary Murphy 4,066 8.46%[20]
2020 MN Senator 43 Doug Daubenspeck 3,950 8.46%[21]
2020 MN Senator 63 Chris Wright 3,460 6.59%[22]
2020 MN Representative 59A Marcus Harcus 4,054 24.46%[23]

Results in federal elections[edit]

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
2020 US Senator Oliver Steinberg 57,174 1.78%[13]
2020 US Representative 1 Bill Rood 21,448 5.81%[24]
2020 US Representative 4 Susan Sindt 29,537 7.59%[25]
2020 US Representative 7 Rae Hart Anderson 6,499 1.79%[26]
2020 US Representative 8 Judith Schwartzbacker 22,190 5.64%[27]

Conflict with Democratic Party[edit]

Even though Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis candidates have dropped out of running to support Democratic candidates in some tight races[8] and party leaders have withheld the state party's endorsement of some Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis candidates when they thought doing so might hurt the chances of winning for struggling DFLers, several times Democratic Party leaders have accused the Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party of making it hard for Democratic candidates in Minnesota.[28] However, a St. Cloud Times analysis of votes cast in the November 2020 election found that Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis candidates took at least as many, if not more, votes from Republicans than they took from DFL candidates.[29]

After 2020[edit]

In 2021, Kevin Shores told a FOX 9 television reporter that he was recruited to run for Congress from Minnesota's 7th district, where Democratic incumbent Collin Peterson lost the race to Republican challenger Michelle Fischbach, in 2020, by a Republican strategist who Shores mistakenly thought was a G—LC representative. Shores, who is blind and suffers from Gulf War syndrome, lost to Hart Anderson in the Grassroots—Legalize Cannabis Party primary.[30][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Featherly, Kevin (August 3, 2018). "Weed backer hopes to smoke competition in AG race". Minnesota Lawyer.
  2. ^ Harvieux, Vincent (May 3, 2018). "Joint Ops: Why Minnesota has two pro-marijuana parties". Perfect Duluth Day.
  3. ^ a b c "2014 MN Governor Election Results". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "MN Election Results".
  5. ^ Winger, Richard (June 15, 2014). "Minnesota Candidate Filing Closes". Ballot Access News.
  6. ^ "Preaching Parking and Profiting: Life Just Outside the Minnesota State Fair". City Pages. August 31, 2017. We used to be called the Grassroots Party, now we’re the Legal Marijuana Now Party
  7. ^ Featherly, Kevin (June 14, 2018). "Pro-pot AG candidate's got high hopes". Minnesota Lawyer.
  8. ^ a b Pugmire, Tim (October 15, 2018). "Third party AG candidate throws support to DFLer Ellison". Minnesota Public Radio.
  9. ^ Weniger, Deanna (September 21, 2018). "Ellison again denies abuse as ex-girlfriend's allegations aired during A.G. debate: The Third Man". Saint Paul Pioneer Press.
  10. ^ Minnesota Secretary of State (September 1984). "Minnesota Election Results 1984, p. 4" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  11. ^ Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1990). "Minnesota Election Results 1990, pp. 28-50" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  12. ^ Darn, John (May 12, 1972). "Violent Actions Reported Rising: Frustration Also Mounts as Students Clash with Police". The New York Times. The shooting in Madison occurred about 2:30 A.M., the police said, after hours of street fighting, when three policemen followed a car containing three students suspected of having planted Molotov cocktails near an insurance building. As the patrol car followed the car to the driveway of an apartment building at Dayton and Bedford Streets, eight shots were fired from the building, the police said. One policeman was wounded in the wrist, and the other two—including John Halford, who was hospitalized—were wounded in the shoulder. The police returned the fire and flushed five men out of the building with tear gas. A 22‐caliber and a .25‐caliber pistol were found. The man charged with three counts of attempted murder was identified as Oliver W. Steinberg, former undergraduate. The three occupants of the car were charged with conspiracy to commit arson. Bail for Mr. Steinberg was set at $55,000, and for the other three at $10,000. All are Madison residents.
  13. ^ a b "2020 Results for US Senator".
  14. ^ "2020 Primary Results for US Representative District 7".
  15. ^ a b "Moorhead congressional candidate says he was tricked into running by RNC". KVRR. May 24, 2021. Shores lost to primary opponent Rae Hart Anderson, who had run for office twice before as a Republican.
  16. ^ "MN Election Results".
  17. ^ "2020 Results for MN State Senator District 5".
  18. ^ "2020 Results for MN State Senator District 20".
  19. ^ "2020 Results for MN State Senator District 22".
  20. ^ "2020 Results for MN State Senator District 29".
  21. ^ "2020 Results for MN State Senator District 43".
  22. ^ "2020 Results for MN State Senator District 63".
  23. ^ "2020 Results for MN State Representative District 59A".
  24. ^ "2020 Results for US Representative District 1".
  25. ^ "2020 Results for US Representative District 4".
  26. ^ "2020 Results for US Representative District 7".
  27. ^ "2020 Results for US Representative District 8".
  28. ^ Van Berkel, Jessie; Bierschbach, Briana (November 5, 2020). "Marijuana candidates shake up Minnesota races". Star Tribune.
  29. ^ Hertel, Nora G. (November 14, 2020). "Republican voters choose legal marijuana party candidates in tight legislative races". St. Cloud Times.
  30. ^ Lyden, Tom (May 23, 2021). "Grassroots or Astroturf? Congressional candidate says he was tricked into running by RNC strategist". KMSP-TV. Shores, who suffers from Gulf War Illness, used cannabis to get off pain killers. He told the FOX 9 Investigators he assumed he was being recruited by a member of the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party. ... Unknown to Shores, the man who called encouraging him to run was a Republican strategist, Kip Christianson, who at the time was on the payroll of the Republican National Committee, according to the Federal Election Commission. ... Shores said Christianson also paid the $300 filing fee ... Shores said he only learned Christianson was working for the Republican Party after the election. Christianson, a Harvard graduate from Monticello, has a resume that includes being a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, a treasurer for the Minnesota Young Republicans, and a candidate tracker for the MN Jobs Coalition. He also ran unsuccessfully for Minnesota Party Co-Chair. Christianson told the FOX 9 Investigators he never misrepresented himself as a member of the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party.

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