Legal Marijuana Now Party
|Political position||Democratic socialism|
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the United States
Legal Marijuana Now is a political third party in the United States established in 1998 to oppose drug prohibition. The party shares many of the progressive values of the Farmer-Labor Party but with an emphasis on marijuana/hemp legalization issues.
Legal Marijuana Now is a social democratic party that is anti-war, pro-labor and supports the rights of all minority groups. The Legal Marijuana Now Party promotes wise environmental stewardship, and denounces corporate personhood.
- 1 Platform
- 2 Mascot
- 3 Name
- 4 Ideology
- 5 Structure and composition
- 6 U.S. presidential candidates
- 7 History
- 8 Iowa history
- 9 Minnesota history
- 10 Nebraska history
- 11 New Jersey history
- 12 Publications
- 13 Further reading
- 14 References
- 15 External links
United States Bill of Rights
The permanent platform of the Legal Marijuana Now party is the Bill of Rights. All Legal Marijuana Now candidates would end marijuana/hemp prohibition, thus re-legalizing cannabis for all its uses.
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. 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.
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."
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.
A panda wearing a cannabis-leaf shirt is an alternate mascot of the Legal Marijuana Now Party.
The party logo consists of a raised fist, superimposed with the cannabis leaf mascot and the name of the party, Legal Marijuana Now.
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.
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.
—Bob Marley (1945-1981)
The Legal Marijuana Now Party pledge
- Legalize homegrown cannabis
- Erase past marijuana convictions
- Ban employment drug testing
- Abolish the Drug Enforcement Administration
Philosophy of the Legal Marijuana Now Party
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."
Structure and composition
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.
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.
State and local chapters
Legal Marijuana Now Party has state chapters in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. And Congressional District chapters in Saint Paul and Omaha.
U.S. presidential candidates
Legal Marijuana Now Party results in presidential elections
|Year||Candidate||VP candidate||Ballot access||Popular votes||Percentage||National rank|
Dan Vacek of Minnesota
Mark Elworth of Nebraska
|IA, MN||13,537||0.01%||10th of 31|
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. 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.
1998 election results in Minnesota
|1998||United States Representative, District 4||Dan Vacek||5,839||2.40%|
Iowa Legal Marijuana Now Party placed their presidential candidates on the 2016 ballot by petitioning the state. 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 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Results in Minnesota state elections
|2014||Minnesota Attorney General||Dan Vacek||57,604||2.99%|
|2016||Minnesota State Senator, District 35||Zachary Phelps||180||4.10%|
|2016||Minnesota State Senator, District 60||Martin Super||8,861||21.78%|
|2018||Minnesota State Auditor||Michael Ford||133,913||5.28%|
|2019||Minnesota State Senator, District 11||John Birrenbach||298||1.91%|
Results in federal elections in Minnesota
|2016||United States Representative, District 4||Susan Pendergast Sindt||27,152||7.71%|
|2016||United States Representative, District 5||Dennis Schuller||30,759||8.50%|
|2018||United States Senator||Dennis Schuller||66,236||2.55%|
|2018||United States Senator||Sarah Wellington||95,614||3.70%|
|2018||United States Representative, District 4||Susan Pendergast Sindt||13,776||4.19%|
The Nebraska Legal Marijuana Now Party 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.
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.
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.  Elworth said the group will collect double the number of signatures they submitted in 2016, in order to ensure their success. As of September, 2017, Elworth told a television reporter that Legal Marijuana Now Party had gathered signatures of 10,000 registered Nebraska voters.
New Jersey history
The New Jersey Legalize Marijuana Party was established in 1998 by Edward Forchion to protest cannabis prohibition. Forchion ran for US Representative in 1998, Camden County Freeholder in 1999, New Jersey Governor in 2005, and US Senator in 2006. 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.
Results in New Jersey state elections
|1999||NJ General Assembly 8||Edward Forchion||659||1.2%|
|2005||NJ Governor||Edward Forchion||9,137||0.4%|
|2011||NJ General Assembly 8||Edward Forchion||1,653||1.9%|
Results in federal elections in New Jersey
|1998||US Representative 1||Edward Forchion||1,257||1.0%|
|2000||US Representative 1||Edward Forchion||1,959||0.9%|
|2006||US Senator||Edward Forchion||11,593||0.5%|
|2012||US Representative 3||Edward Forchion||1,956||0.6%|
|2014||US Representative 12||Don Dezarn||1,330||0.9%|
|2016||US Representative 12||Edward Forchion||6,094||2.1%|
Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party's e-newsletter, Freedom Gazette, is published quarterly. The Freedom Gazette is edited by Dan Vacek.
- Simons, Abby (November 5, 2014) Minors Lead on Marijuana Star Tribune
- Gettman, Jon (February 9, 2016) Minnesota Maverick Pushes Legalization Platform in Special Election High Times
- Pluhacek, Zach (September 14, 2016) Marijuana groups already petitioning for 2018 ballot Lincoln Journal Star
- Bierschbach, Briana (November 7, 2018) Minnesota poised to get two new major pot parties Minnesota Public Radio
- Legal Marijuana Now Party Gains Traction WCCO-TV, November 7, 2018
- Pugmire, Tim (September 25, 2019). "New political parties try to organize around support for legal marijuana". Minnesota Public Radio.
- Brash, Jim (April 20, 2016). "Q & A with the Legal Marijuana Now Party of Minnesota". The North Star.
- Bloch, Emily (October 2, 2019). "Alternatives to the Two Major Political Parties, Explained". Teen Vogue.
- Gettman, Jon (February 9, 2016). "Pot Matters: Minnesota Maverick Pushes Legalization Platform in Special Election". High Times.
- Stoddard, Martha (July 23, 2016). "Marijuana party seeks spot on ballot for presidential race". Omaha World-Herald.
- Gemma, Peter B. (October 19, 2016). "Interview with Dan Vacek, Legal Marijuana Now Presidential Nominee". Independent Political Report.
- "Legal Marijuana Now Party Constitution". legalcannabisnow.org. November 26, 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- Harvieux, Vincent (May 3, 2018). "Joint Ops: Why Minnesota has two pro-marijuana parties". Perfect Duluth Day.
- "Weg met Trump en Clinton, stem Legal Marijuana Now!". Rolling Stoned. October 19, 2016.
- "Attorney General candidate Dan Vacek's October 30th address to the Saint Paul NAACP". facebook.com/LMN.USA. October 31, 2014.
- Hanson, Alex (August 25, 2016). "Weekly politics wrap-up: Ballot access in Iowa". Iowa State Daily.
- Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (August 24, 2016). "Don't like Trump or Clinton? You have choices". Pioneer Press.
- "2016 General Election Canvass Summary" (PDF). Iowa Secretary of State. November 2016.
- "Minnesota State Canvassing Report: 2016 General Election" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. November 29, 2016.
- Wachtler, Mark (November 15, 2016). "2016 Presidential Vote Totals for all 31 Candidates". Opposition News.
- Bickford, Bob (October 7, 1998). "1996 Presidential Election Results by State". Ballot Access News.
- Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1998). "Minnesota Election Results 1998, p. 43" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
- Condon, Patrick (June 21, 2014). "Pot activists light up Minnesota ballot". Star Tribune.
- "Minnesota's major & minor political parties: Secretary of State". Minnesota Secretary of State.
- Associated Press (December 31, 2014). "Independence Party demoted to minor-party status". mprnews.org.
- Du, Susan (July 19, 2017). "Reefer Riches: What Minnesota could learn about recreational marijuana". City Pages.
- Jones, Hannah (August 30, 2018). "The Minnesota State Fair's weed activists are kindly waiting for you to realize they're right". City Pages.
- Octavio, Miguel; Tarala, Kassidy (January 15, 2019). "Midterms boost influence of pro-cannabis political parties". University of Minnesota.
- Van Oot, Torey (January 8, 2019). "Field set for Minnesota's special Senate election to fill Tony Lourey's seat". Star Tribune.
- "2014 Election Results Minnesota Attorney General". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2014.
- "2016 Results Minnesota Special Election, District 35". Minnesota Secretary of State. February 2016.
- "2018 Election Results Minnesota State Auditor". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2018.
- "2019 Results Minnesota Minnesota Special Election, District 11". Minnesota Secretary of State. February 2019.
- "2018 Election Results United States Senator". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2018.
- "2018 Election Results United States Representative District 4". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2018.
- Associated Press (August 5, 2016). "Marijuana Party petition drive fails to result in ballot placement". Lincoln Journal Star.
- Pluhacek, Zach (September 14, 2016). "Marijuana groups already petitioning for 2018 ballot". Lincoln Journal Star.
- Jordan, Spike (May 12, 2017). "Legalize Marijuana Now advocates petition to get pro-marijuana third-party on the ballot". Scottsbluff Star Herald.
- Chitwood, Joe (July 12, 2017). "Pro-pot party petition drive reaches North Platte". North Platte Bulletin.
- Ozaki, Andrew (September 29, 2017). "Medical marijuana advocates petition to form Nebraska political party". KETV 7 ABC News.
- Krohe, Kalin (April 4, 2018). "Krystal Gabel For Governor And Legal Marijuana Now Petition Signing In Scottsbluff". Panhandle Post.
- Valania, Jonathan (May 29, 2002). "Smokey and the Bandit". Philadelphia Weekly.
- Kindbud, Seymour (2012). "Dr. Kindbud's Weed-O-Pedia: Prime Nuggets of Marijuana Facts and Stoner Trivia". Cider Mill Press. ISBN 9781604332681.
- Couloumbis, Angela (July 9, 1999). "A campaign of marijuana smoking: A Camden County freeholder board candidate inhales and gets himself arrested". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Holliday, Eileen (October 14, 2000). "Forchion Crusading To Legalize Marijuana". Gloucester County Times.
- Cavaliere, Victoria (June 12, 2014). "NJ Democrats try to boot Legalize Marijuana Party candidate off the ballot". Reuters via The Raw Story.
- Davis, Mike (July 29, 2014). "Marijuana activist 'N.J. Weedman' must raise $3,500 if he hopes to appear on Congressional ballot". NJ.com.
- "Official List Candidate Returns for House of Representatives For November 1998 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 1, 1998.
- "Official List Candidate Returns for House of Representatives For November 2000 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. April 17, 2008.
- "Official List Candidate Returns for House of Representatives For November 2012 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. January 22, 2013.
- "Official List Candidates for House of Representatives 11/4/2014 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 2, 2014.
- "Official List Candidates for House of Representatives 11/08/2016 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 6, 2016.
- Legal Marijuana Now Party (United States)
- Iowa Legal Marijuana Now Party
- Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party
- Nebraska Legal Marijuana Now Party
- New Jersey Legalize Marijuana Party
- Wisconsin Legal Marijuana Now Party