Marijuana Reform Party
The Marijuana Reform Party (abbreviated MRP) was a progressive minor political party in the U.S. state of New York dedicated to the legalization of cannabis. Founded in 1997, the Marijuana Reform Party ran a candidate for Governor of New York and other statewide offices in 1998 and 2002.
Finding that the ability of the Marijuana Reform Party to submit petitions containing enough signatures to run candidates in statewide elections demonstrated that it enjoyed a modicum of support in the New York State electorate, in 2004 a federal appeals court ordered the New York state board of elections to recognize the Marijuana Reform Party, allow voters to enroll in it, and to tabulate and make available lists of voters enrolled in the party.
The Marijuana Reform Party was one of several minor parties that fulfilled a role almost unique to New York State politics. New York law allows electoral fusion — a candidate can be the nominee of multiple parties and aggregate the votes received on all the different ballot lines. Several other states allow fusion, but only in New York is it commonly practiced. In fact, since each party is listed with its own line on New York ballots, multiple nominations mean that a candidate's name can be listed several times on the ballot.
Competition with the Green Party
In 1998, gubernatorial candidate Tom Leighton accused the Green Party of New York of trying to have him removed several times from the November ballot by "challenging the validity of his petition signatures". The Board of Elections rejected the claim lodged by Richard Hirsh of the Green Party. Both parties, which appeal to liberal voters, competed for 50,000 votes required for an automatic ballot line on future ballots. After both parties failed to obtain enough votes to gain a place on local and statewide ballots, Leighton stated that he had "no plans to try again next time."
Medical Marijuana Legalization in the New York State
In January 2014, Andrew Cuomo (D) the Governor of New York announced the measures to make medical marijuana available for the treatment of cancer and glaucoma. On July 5, 2014, New York became the 23rd state to allow the medical use of marijuana as the Governor signed the Compassionate Care Act.
- 1998 – Thomas K. Leighton and Jeffrey C. Wright
- 2002 – Thomas K. Leighton and Thomas J. Hillgardner
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