Legal Marijuana Now Party

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Legal Marijuana Now Party
ChairpersonKrystal Gabel[1]
Founded1998; 23 years ago (1998)
HeadquartersBoulder, Colorado
NewspaperFreedom Gazette
IdeologyMarijuana legalization
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.[2] The party shares many of the progressive values of the Farmer-Labor Party but with an emphasis on marijuana/hemp legalization issues.[3]

The Legal Marijuana Now Party is an offshoot of the Grassroots Party,[4] 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 Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

A primary goal of the Legal Marijuana Now Party, aside from getting pro-cannabis candidates into office, is to increase voter turnout in elections.[5] Legal Marijuana Now is a social-democratic party that is anti-war, pro-labor and supports the rights of all minority groups.[6][7] 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.[8] 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.[9] Legal Marijuana Now Party is pro-labor and anti-war.[6] 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.[2]

Ecological democracy[edit]

The hemp plant provides multiple durable goods such as rope, fabric, industrial oil, and biofuel. Cannabis itself is food and medicine.[10]

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.

[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.

Party song[edit]

Go Duba Gong (The Dooby Song) by The Syndicated Mickey Moore Variety Show has become the Legal Marijuana Now Party anthem. The Legal Marijuana Now Party has been authorized to use “The Dooby Song” for party activities and for broadcast in media as a sound logo. Multiple pro-legalization candidates have used “The Dooby Song” in their campaigns for elected office.[11]

Name[edit]

The name of the party is from the Yippie chant, “What do we want?” “Legal marijuana.” “When do we want it?” “Now!”[4]

The name Legal Marijuana Now was chosen so that the message is clear and every vote would be counted as an unmistakable vote to legalize marijuana.[12]

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[13]
  • Erase past marijuana convictions[13]
  • Ban employment drug testing[13]
  • Abolish the Drug Enforcement Administration[3]

Philosophy of the Legal Marijuana Now Party[edit]

The Legal Marijuana Now Party philosophy is from the Bible.[14] 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.”[14]

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.[5][9]

Leadership[edit]

All decisions on important organizational and financial subjects must be reached by a 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 an annual convention held in January.[8]

State and local chapters[edit]

Legal Marijuana Now Party has state chapters in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. And Congressional District chapters in Saint Paul and Omaha.[2]

U.S. presidential candidates[edit]

In 2016, Legal Marijuana Now placed their presidential candidates on the ballot in two states, Iowa[15] and Minnesota.[16] 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[17][18] 13,537[3] 0.01%[3] 10th of 31[19]

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.[20] 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 Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now political party.[2]

1998 election results in Minnesota[edit]

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
1998 United States Representative, District 4 Dan Vacek 5,839[21] 2.40%

Iowa history[edit]

Iowa Legal Marijuana Now Party placed their presidential candidates on the 2016 ballot by petitioning the state.[15] 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 2024.

Minnesota history[edit]

Legal Marijuana Now Party at the Minnesota State Capitol on April 20, 2016

According to the Legal Marijuana Now Party of Minnesota, the right to grow a garden is protected by the Minnesota Constitution.[13]

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.[22]

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.[23][24][25]

Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now 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.

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.[2][4]

Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now nominated candidates by petition to appear on the ballot for the November 6, 2018 election.[26][27] Their candidate for State Auditor, Michael Ford, who is African-American, received 133,913 votes or 5.28%, qualifying Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party to be an official major party in the state, which gives Legal Marijuana Now candidates ballot access without the task of having to petition.[27]

The Legal Marijuana Now Party placed a candidate, John “Sparky” Birrenbach, of Pine City on the ballot in the Minnesota State Senate District 11 Special Election, in February 2019.[28]

In 2020, Legal Marijuana Now candidate Adam Weeks who was on the ballot in Minnesota's 2nd congressional district where Democratic Representative Angie Craig was seeking re-election in a close race, died four weeks before the November 3 election, throwing the election into chaos because a Minnesota state law said that if a major party candidate died during an election campaign, a special election would be held. Federal judges ruled that the election should go ahead, despite state law,[29][30] so the name of the candidate, Paula Overby, who was nominated by Legal Marijuana Now Party to replace Weeks, was not on the ballot.[31] State Legal Marijuana Now Party leaders encouraged their supporters to cast their votes for Weeks, in memoriam, and the dead candidate received 5.83% of votes in the three-way race.[32]

During the 2020 election campaign, Democratic Party leaders said that the Legal Marijuana Now Party made it harder for Democratic candidates to win in Minnesota.[30] But a St. Cloud Times analysis of votes cast in the November 3, 2020, election found that the marijuana candidates took at least as many, if not more, votes from Republican candidates than they took from Democratic candidates.[33]

Nebraska history[edit]

Legal Marijuana NOW Certificate of New Political Party in the state of Nebraska

The Nebraska Legal Marijuana NOW Party petitioned to be recognized as a major political party. That earned candidates inclusion in the official state voters guide. To make the ballot, Legal Marijuana NOW Party needed 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 needed to have a certain number of signatures from each of the state’s three congressional districts.[5]

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.[34]

After failing to make it onto Nebraska ballots in 2016, party organizer Mark Elworth began circulating petitions for 2020 ballot access for a Nebraska Legal Marijuana NOW Party in September, 2016.[35] [36] Elworth said the group planned to collect double the number of signatures they submitted in 2016, in order to ensure their success. In September, 2017, Elworth told a television reporter that Legal Marijuana NOW Party had gathered signatures of 10,000 registered Nebraska voters.[37][38][39]

On April 21, 2021, Legal Marijuana NOW gained official recognition as a state political party in Nebraska, earning the party ballot access for their candidates, and allowing Legal Marijuana NOW Party to register voters.[40][41]

New Jersey history[edit]

The New Jersey Legalize Marijuana Party was established in 1998 by Edward Forchion to protest cannabis prohibition.[42][43] Forchion ran for US Representative in 1998, Camden County Freeholder in 1999, New Jersey Governor in 2005, and US Senator in 2006.[44][45] In 2014 Don Dezarn ran for US Representative in New Jersey’s 12th congressional district as the Legalize Marijuana candidate. Forchion filed a lawsuit in an attempt to get onto the ballot in 2014 for New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district, but a judge dismissed the lawsuit. Forchion ran for US Representative for New Jersey’s 12th congressional district in 2016.[46][47]

Publications[edit]

Freedom Gazette Number 2, January–March 2016

Freedom Gazette[edit]

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

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barfield, Lukas (April 26, 2021). "Legal Marijuana Now Becomes Official Political Party in Nebraska". Ganjapreneur. “The voters of Nebraska have experienced many failed referendum petitions in the past and are currently witnessing a gridlocked Unicameral,” said Krystal Gabel, Legal Marijuana NOW’s National Party Chair. “The process of obtaining ballot access with the LMN petition breaks a decades-long political stalemate with the State of Nebraska on the issue of cannabis.”
  2. ^ a b c d Bloch, Emily (October 2, 2019). "Alternatives to the Two Major Political Parties, Explained". Teen Vogue.
  3. ^ a b c Gettman, Jon (February 9, 2016). "Pot Matters: Minnesota Maverick Pushes Legalization Platform in Special Election". High Times.
  4. ^ a b c Stoddard, Martha (July 23, 2016). "Marijuana party seeks spot on ballot for presidential race". Omaha World-Herald.
  5. ^ a b Gemma, Peter B. (October 19, 2016). "Interview with Dan Vacek, Legal Marijuana Now Presidential Nominee". Independent Political Report.
  6. ^ Summers, Brandon (June 19, 2020). "Elworth leaving Democrats for Legal Marijuana Now Party". The Grand Island Independent. Elworth served before as 2016 vice presidential candidate for the LMN Party and achieved 10th place in the general election. “I wanted to help the Democrats out this time, but they were unable to give me any support at all,” he said. “I was all gung ho to win this race for them.” Elworth touted his record as a marijuana activist and third party candidate. He has also run as a Libertarian candidate and has supported the Green Party. “I consider myself pretty moderate on a lot of issues,” he said. “I’m a little conservative on money issues. I’m more liberal on social issues. I’m a constitutionalist. I believe in people’s rights and equal rights for everybody.” He added, “I’m not a true Democrat, but I’m not a Republican either.”
  7. ^ a b Puniewska, Magdalena (June 4, 2018). "Inside the Strict, Unspoken Dress Code for Women Political Candidates: Women running for office are pushing boundaries, but their clothes can't". Racked.com.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ First used in the Schuller for US senate campaign 2018 the first aired public broadcast was associated with the party and broadcast in full on October 26, 2018 by Edward De La Hunt on northern Minnesota's radio station powerhouse KPRM 870AM & 97.5FM, KAAK 1570AM
  10. ^ Harvieux, Vincent (May 3, 2018). "Joint Ops: Why Minnesota has two pro-marijuana parties". Perfect Duluth Day.
  11. ^ a b c d "Weg met Trump en Clinton, stem Legal Marijuana Now!". Rolling Stoned. October 19, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Attorney General candidate Dan Vacek's October 30th address to the Saint Paul NAACP". facebook.com/LMN.USA. October 31, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Hanson, Alex (August 25, 2016). "Weekly politics wrap-up: Ballot access in Iowa". Iowa State Daily.
  14. ^ Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (August 24, 2016). "Don't like Trump or Clinton? You have choices". Pioneer Press.
  15. ^ "2016 General Election Canvass Summary" (PDF). Iowa Secretary of State. November 2016.
  16. ^ "Minnesota State Canvassing Report: 2016 General Election" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. November 29, 2016.
  17. ^ Wachtler, Mark (November 15, 2016). "2016 Presidential Vote Totals for all 31 Candidates". Opposition News.
  18. ^ Bickford, Bob (October 7, 1998). "1996 Presidential Election Results by State". Ballot Access News.
  19. ^ Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1998). "Minnesota Election Results 1998, p. 43" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  20. ^ Condon, Patrick (June 21, 2014). "Pot activists light up Minnesota ballot". Star Tribune.
  21. ^ "Minnesota's major & minor political parties: Secretary of State". Minnesota Secretary of State.
  22. ^ "Independence Party demoted to minor-party status". mprnews.org. Associated Press. December 31, 2014.
  23. ^ Du, Susan (July 19, 2017). "Reefer Riches: What Minnesota could learn about recreational marijuana". City Pages.
  24. ^ Jones, Hannah (August 30, 2018). "The Minnesota State Fair's weed activists are kindly waiting for you to realize they're right". City Pages.
  25. ^ a b Octavio, Miguel; Tarala, Kassidy (January 15, 2019). "Midterms boost influence of pro-cannabis political parties". University of Minnesota.
  26. ^ Van Oot, Torey (January 8, 2019). "Field set for Minnesota's special Senate election to fill Tony Lourey's seat". Star Tribune.
  27. ^ "Marijuana Party Candidate's Death Is No Reason to Pause Election". Bloomberg Law. October 23, 2020.
  28. ^ a b Van Berkel, Jessie; Bierschbach, Briana (November 5, 2020). "Marijuana candidates shake up Minnesota races". Star Tribune.
  29. ^ Associated Press (October 6, 2020). "Legal Marijuana Now Party Names New 2nd District Candidate Following Death Of Adam Weeks". CBS Minnesota.
  30. ^ "2020 Results for US Representative District 2". electionresults.sos.state.mn.us.
  31. ^ Hertel, Nora G. (November 14, 2020). "Republican voters choose legal marijuana party candidates in tight legislative races". St. Cloud Times.
  32. ^ "Marijuana Party petition drive fails to result in ballot placement". Lincoln Journal Star. Associated Press. August 5, 2016.
  33. ^ Pluhacek, Zach (September 14, 2016). "Marijuana groups already petitioning for 2018 ballot". Lincoln Journal Star.
  34. ^ Jordan, Spike (May 12, 2017). "Legalize Marijuana Now advocates petition to get pro-marijuana third-party on the ballot". Scottsbluff Star Herald.
  35. ^ Chitwood, Joe (July 12, 2017). "Pro-pot party petition drive reaches North Platte". North Platte Bulletin.
  36. ^ Ozaki, Andrew (September 29, 2017). "Medical marijuana advocates petition to form Nebraska political party". KETV 7 ABC News.
  37. ^ Krohe, Kalin (April 4, 2018). "Krystal Gabel For Governor And Legal Marijuana Now Petition Signing In Scottsbluff". Panhandle Post.
  38. ^ "'Legal Marijuana NOW' now recognized as a party in Nebraska". Associated Press. April 21, 2021.
  39. ^ Garcia, Justin (May 3, 2021). "Legal Marijuana NOW party makes pitch to area voters". Star-Herald. Legal Marijuana NOW is more than a pipe dream. As of April 21, the party gained ballot recognition, the first step in becoming a major political party in Nebraska. Once achieved, LMN would have the same ballot access as Democrats and Republicans in Nebraska. That means they could run candidates without having to write in names on a ballot. About 1 in 3 Americans live in an area where marijuana is legal in 2021 after New Jersey, Arizona and Montana passed measures to legalize adult-use marijuana. Despite the namesake policy position of LMN, Gabel said the party’s goals are raising voter turnout and running pro-marijuana candidates. But securing LMN as a permanent fixture on Nebraska ballots must come first. “We have party ballot access for four years. In that time frame, we have to get 10,000 registered voters to become a permanent fixture on the ballot for upcoming elections,” Gabel told the Star-Herald as passing drivers honked their car horns in support. That process is moving smoothly so far, she said. In fact, Gabel said her party is running several candidates at multiple levels of government. From the U.S. Congress to local sheriffs, Gabel said no office is too big or too small for an LMN candidate. “If you can change your local attitude and be very accepting of pot — and in Nebraska, specifically — a place like Kearney could actually (decriminalize) on their own,” she said. Gabel said decriminalization of marijuana is a good first step to the ultimate goal of full legalization. “No more cops knocking on people’s doors, no more fear of getting pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, and then they give you a pot ticket instead,” she said. While legal marijuana is often associated with blue states like California, Gabel said some of the party’s strongest support comes from Nebraska’s deep-red Third District. Gabel attributed the support to a general feeling of disenfranchisement in rural Nebraska. When her party was trying to collect the 6,800 signatures needed to get on the ballot, Gabel said people in the Third District were an easy sell. “It was four years getting signatures out of Omaha. That’s really the sticky point,” Gabel said, adding that fear of losing votes drives Omaha Democrats away from LMN. In western Nebraska, Gabel said Republican voters feel underserved and are more willing to consider what LMN has to offer.
  40. ^ Valania, Jonathan (May 29, 2002). "Smokey and the Bandit". Philadelphia Weekly.
  41. ^ Kindbud, Seymour (2012). Dr. Kindbud's Weed-O-Pedia: Prime Nuggets of Marijuana Facts and Stoner Trivia. Cider Mill Press. ISBN 9781604332681.
  42. ^ Couloumbis, Angela (July 9, 1999). "A campaign of marijuana smoking: A Camden County freeholder board candidate inhales and gets himself arrested". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  43. ^ Holliday, Eileen (October 14, 2000). "Forchion Crusading To Legalize Marijuana". Gloucester County Times.
  44. ^ Cavaliere, Victoria (June 12, 2014). "NJ Democrats try to boot Legalize Marijuana Party candidate off the ballot". Reuters via The Raw Story.
  45. ^ Davis, Mike (July 29, 2014). "Marijuana activist 'N.J. Weedman' must raise $3,500 if he hopes to appear on Congressional ballot". NJ.com.

External links[edit]