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Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party is a political third party in the U.S. state of Minnesota created in 1986 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][3][4]

Other Grassroots parties have previously operated in the U.S. states of Iowa and Vermont, but are no longer active.


United States Bill of Rights

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


Early history

The Grassroots Party was established in Minnesota in 1986, by Derrick Grimmer, Tim Davis, Chris Wright and Oliver Steinberg, as an independent political party that focused on marijuana legalization. Derrick Grimmer, Ph.D., ran for Minnesota Attorney General in 1986. Grimmer received 16,394 votes.[5]

In 1990, Ross Culverhouse, a computer programmer and Vietnam veteran was the Grassroots gubernatorial candidate. Culverhouse received 17,176 votes. Will Shetterly, a science-fiction writer and actor, ran for governor of Minnesota in 1994. He placed third out of six candidates.[6]

The Grassroots Party of Minnesota (GRP) ran a full slate of statewide candidates in 1994 and won more votes than all other third parties in Minnesota combined.[7][8]

Russell Bentley, a party candidate for US Senate in 1990 and US Congress in 1992 and GRP board member, was arrested on marijuana smuggling charges in 1996. Bentley was sentenced to five years in federal prison.[9]

In 2000, the party nominated David Daniels, an African American playwright/performance artist from Minneapolis, as candidate for the United States Senate. Daniels had a very small campaign budget and was only invited to speak at some events broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio and Twin Cities Public Television. On election day, Daniels received 21,447 votes.[10][11][12]

In 2002, Grassroots Party co-founder and candidate, Tim Davis, joined the Green Party. Davis returned to the Grassroots Party and ran for United States Senator in 2012.

Results in Minnesota state elections 1986–1998

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
1986 MN Attorney General Derrick Grimmer 16,394[5] 1.17%
1990 MN Governor Ross Culverhouse 17,176[13] 0.96%
1990 MN Secretary of State Candice Sjostrom 43,812[13] 2.48%
1990 MN Treasurer Colleen Bonniwell 84,919[13] 4.94%
1990 MN Senator 58 Eric Anderson 1,797[13] 7.88%
1990 MN Representative 59B Tim Davis 755[13] 5.56%
1990 MN Representative 60A Spencer Orman 477[13] 7.29%
1992 MN Senator 59 Dale Wilkinson 2,179[14] 7.05%
1994 MN Governor Will Shetterly 20,785[7] 1.20%
1994 MN Secretary of State Dale Wilkinson 54,009[7] 3.12%
1994 MN Attorney General Dean Amundson 69,776[7] 4.17%
1994 MN Auditor Steven Anderson 80,811[7] 4.79%
1994 MN Treasurer Colleen Bonniwell 84,486[7] 5.20%
1998 MN Governor Chris Wright 1,727[15] 0.10%
1998 MN Representative 59A Dale Wilkinson 1,270[15] 9.66%

Results in federal elections 1988–2000

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
1988 US Senator Derrick Grimmer 9,016[16] 0.43%
1988 US Representative 5 Chris Wright 268[16] 0.11%
1990 US Senator Russell Bentley 29,820[13] 1.65%
1992 US Representative 3 Dwight Fellman 9,164[14] 2.91%
1992 US Representative 4 Dan Vacek 4,418[14] 1.59%
1992 US Representative 5 Russell Bentley 6,786[14] 2.24%
1994 US Senator Candice Sjostrom 15,920[7] 0.90%
1994 US Representative 4 Dan Vacek 6,211[7] 2.94%
1996 US Senator Tim Davis 14,139[17] 6.48%
1996 US Representative 4 Phil Willkie 3,615[17] 1.41%
1996 US Representative 5 Erika Anderson 13,102[17] 5.33%
2000 US Senator David Daniels 21,447[12] 0.89%[12]

U.S. Presidential candidates

Jack Herer (1939-2010), author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp & The Marijuana Conspiracy, was the Grassroots presidential candidate in 1988[16] and 1992.[18]

Grassroots Party ran candidates in every presidential election from 1988 to 2000.[16][18][19][20]

In 1996 the Grassroots Party of Minnesota nominated Dennis Peron in the presidential election. In 2000, the Grassroots Party of Vermont nominated Denny Lane as its presidential candidate. In 2012, the Grassroots Party nominated Minnesota businessman Jim Carlson as its presidential candidate.[21][22]

Results in presidential elections

Year Candidate VP candidate Ballot access Popular votes Percentage

Jack Herer
Dana Beal MN 1,949[16] 0.00%
Jack Herer and Dana Beal. 1989 Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest in Madison Wisconsin.jpg

Jack Herer
Derrick Grimmer MN, IA 3,875[18] 0.00%
1996 Dennis Peron Arlin Troutt MN, VT[19] 5,378[19] 0.01%
2000 Denny Lane Dale Wilkinson VT 1,044[23] 0.00%
2012 Jim Carlson George McMahon MN 3,149 0.00%

The Independent Grassroots Party

In Minnesota in 1996 the 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.[19] Dan Vacek was the Independent Grassroots candidate for US Representative (MN District 4).[17] In 1998, members of the Independent Grassroots Party established the Legal Marijuana Now political party.[4][24]


The Legalize Cannabis political party

In 2010, Grassroots candidate Chris Wright was on the ballot in the governor's election.

In 2014, Grassroots Party of Minnesota changed its name to Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party.[25] In the 2014 race for Governor, Wright received 31,259 votes.[26] 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, the results of which earned the group major-party status in Minnesota.[1][27][28]

Results in Minnesota state elections

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
2010 MN Governor Chris Wright 7,516 0.36%[29]
2014 MN Auditor Judith Schwartzbacker 55,132 2.87%
2014 MN Governor Chris Wright 31,259 1.58%[26]
2018 MN Governor Chris Wright 68,664 2.65%[30]
2018 MN Attorney General Noah Johnson 145,744 5.71%[31]

Results in federal elections

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
2012 US Senator Tim Davis 30,532 1.07%


In 2016, musician and martial artist Marvin Sotelo ran for U.S. House of Representatives in California's 40th congressional district as a Grassroots Party candidate. In California the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election. Sotelo did not make it onto the ballot.[32]


Derrick Grimmer, Ph.D., a founding member of the Grassroots Party, moved from Minnesota to Iowa in 1988 and formed the Grassroots Party of Iowa. Grimmer ran for Iowa State Treasurer in 1990 and received 15,745 votes and he ran for U.S. House of Representatives (IA District 3) in 1994 and received 2,282 votes.[33][34]

Results in Iowa state elections

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
1990 IA Treasurer Derrick Grimmer 15,745[33] 1.76%
1990 IA Secretary of Agriculture Richard Bychowski 16,138[33] 1.80%

Results in federal elections

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
1994 US Representative 3 Derrick Grimmer 2,282[34] 1.18%
1994 US Representative 4 William Oviatt 803[34] 0.38%


The Vermont Grassroots Party formed in 1994. In 1994, Vermont Grassroots ran candidates for U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Auditor of Accounts, and Attorney General.[35]

In 1996 Vermont Grassroots ran another slate of candidates including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Representative, Attorney General, Auditor of Accounts, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State.

Three Vermont Grassroots candidates won five percent or more of the popular vote in the 1996 election, qualifying the Grassroots Party for "major party" status in Vermont.[36][37]

In 1998 Vermont Grassroots ran a slate of candidates including gubernatorial candidate Joel Williams who received 3,305 votes (1.5%) and U.S. Senate candidate Bob Melamede who received 2,459 votes (1.1%). Matthew Mulligan received 3,464 votes (1.6%) for U.S. Representative; Randy Bushey got 12,312 votes (6%) for State Treasurer; Steven Saetta got 6,345 votes (3%) for Auditor of Accounts; Dennis "Denny" Lane received 8,347 votes (3.9%) for Secretary of State and Sandy "Wells" Ward got 17,954 votes (8.8%) for Attorney General.[38]

In 2000 the Vermont Grassroots Party ran a slate of candidates with Ward leading the ticket as candidate for Attorney General, receiving 38,713 votes, or 14.7% of the popular vote.[23]

Again, in 2002, Vermont Grassroots fielded a full statewide ticket and this time Teresa Bouchard led the way as candidate for State Treasurer with 10,757 votes (4.8%).[39]

In 2002 one of the state leaders, Joel Williams, became a member of the Libertarian Party of Vermont.

The Grassroots Party of Vermont fielded candidates representing a mixture of liberal and libertarian views for over a decade. The Vermont Grassroots Party dissolved in 2004.

Results in Vermont state elections

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
1994 VT Governor Dennis Lane 2,118 1.0%[35]
1994 VT Auditor Pamela Zarra Redden 7,239 3.7%[35]
1994 VT Attorney General Ted Talcott 7,062 3.5%[35]
1996 VT Governor Dennis Lane 3,667 1.4%[36]
1996 VT Lt. Governor Bill Coleman 5,296 2.1%[36]
1996 VT Treasurer Randy Bushey 16,671 7.0%[36]
1996 VT Secretary of State Jimmy De Pierro 17,283 7.4%[36]
1996 VT Auditor James Sweet 11,134 4.7%[36]
1996 VT Attorney General Tom Kingston 14,443 6.1%[36]
1998 VT Governor Joel Williams 3,305 1.5%[38]
1998 VT Lt. Governor Bill Coleman 3,913 1.8%[38]
1998 VT Treasurer Randy Bushey 12,312 6.2%[38]
1998 VT Secretary of State Dennis Lane 8,347 4.0%[38]
1998 VT Auditor Steven Saetta 6,345 3.1%[38]
1998 VT Attorney General Sandy Ward 17,954 8.9%[38]
2000 VT Governor Joel Williams 1,359 0.5%[23]
2000 VT Lt. Governor Tom Beer 8,776 3.1%[23]
2000 VT Attorney General Sandy Ward 39,713 14.7%[23]
2002 VT Governor Patricia Hejny 771 0.4%[39]
2002 VT Lt. Governor Sally Ann Jones 4,310 1.9%[39]
2002 VT Treasurer Claude Bouchard 10,757 4.8%[39]
2002 VT Secretary of State Tina Thompson 7,166 3.2%[39]
2002 VT Auditor Lynn Appleby 8,172 3.7%[39]
2002 VT Attorney General Mann Ward 6,307 2.8%[39]

Results in federal elections

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
1994 US Senator Bob Melamede 1,416 0.7%[35]
1994 US Representative Jack Rogers 2,664 1.3%[35]
1996 US Representative Robert Melamede 1,350 0.5%[36]
1998 US Senator Bob Melamede 2,459 1.1%[38]
1998 US Representative Matthew Mulligan 3,464 1.6%[38]
2000 US Senator Billy Greer 4,889 1.7%[23]
2000 US Representative Jack Rogers 4,799 1.7%[23]
2002 US Representative Fawn Skinner 2,344 1.0%[39]


The Canvas, Winter 1994
The Canvas, Winter 1994

The Canvas

The Canvas, the newsletter of the Grassroots Party of Minnesota, was published quarterly from 1991 until 1998. It reached a circulation of 5,000 printed copies.

The name of The Canvas was inspired by Webster's Dictionary definition of the word, which literally means "hempen."

The Canvas newsletter was designed and edited by Dan Vacek (from 1992–1993 The Canvas was co-edited by Roger Gibian). In 1994, Will Shetterly edited and produced The Canvas for several issues. The last two issues of the newsletter were edited by Steven Anderson.

See also


  1. ^ a b Featherly, Kevin (August 3, 2018). "Weed backer hopes to smoke competition in AG race". Minnesota Lawyer.
  2. ^ Kahn, Aron (October 1987). "Marijuana backers keep issue burning / Controversy still alive". Star Tribune. "When we're handing out leaflets, some people will mutter, 'Get a job,' like we're subclass citizens," Grimmer said. "They typecast us. They judge people by the coloration of their thoughts." Grimmer, who holds a doctorate in physics, has a job, thank you. He is a research scientist at 3M. "The reason why we are in our present mess with respect to drug prohibition is that people do not analyze the situation rationally," said Grimmer, who ran for Minnesota attorney general last year under the aegis of the Grass Roots Party.
  3. ^ Gilyard, Burl (July 5, 1995). "Doobie Brothers: Grassroots Party members grapple with their budding political clout". Twin Cities Reader.
  4. ^ a b Harvieux, Vincent (May 3, 2018). "Joint Ops: Why Minnesota has two pro-marijuana parties". Perfect Duluth Day.
  5. ^ a b Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1986). "Minnesota Election Results 1986, p. 27" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  6. ^ Shetterly, Will (2008-08-08). "Will Shetterly: Biography".
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1994). "Minnesota Election Results 1994, pp. 27-36" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  8. ^ Brauer, David (November 26, 1994). "In Minnesota, Joint Return Takes On A New Meaning". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ King, Karisa (August 10, 1996). "Accused drug dealer sentenced to five years in prison". The Brownsville Herald.
  10. ^ "Hopefuls from small parties advocate big ideas". Star Tribune. Associated Press. October 17, 2000. The third-party candidates running for the U.S. Senate may suffer from low visibility and virtually nonexistent campaign budgets, but a debate among those candidates Monday night showed they are not lacking in big and bold ideas. Their proposals ranged from ending the war on drugs to remaking society into one that is controlled by workers and farmers. The 30-minute debate, sponsored by the Minnesota Citizens' Forum and broadcast on Twin Cities Public Television.
  11. ^ Associated Press (October 22, 2000). "Bold ideas advanced by minor parties". Star Tribune. Playwright and performance artist David Daniels wonders why two of his productions were shut down because of marijuana smoking in the audience.
  12. ^ a b c "Minnesota Secretary of State, 2000 US Senate Election Results". 2000-11-07. Archived from the original on 2012-11-10.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1990). "Minnesota Election Results 1990, pp. 28-50" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  14. ^ a b c d Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1992). "Minnesota Election Results 1992, pp. 37-51" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  15. ^ a b Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1998). "Minnesota Election Results 1998, pp. 30-172" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  16. ^ a b c d e Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1988). "Minnesota Election Results 1988, p. 18" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  17. ^ a b c d Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1996). "Minnesota Election Results 1996, pp. 34-40" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  18. ^ a b c Klein, Patricia A. (June 1993). "Federal Elections 92: Election Results for the U.S. President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, p. 9" (PDF). Federal Election Commission.
  19. ^ a b c d Bickford, Bob (October 7, 1998). "1996 Presidential Election Results by State". Ballot Access News.
  20. ^ "2000 Official Presidential General Election Results". Federal Election Commission. December 2001.
  21. ^ KBJR-TV (June 29, 2012) "Duluth Head Shop Owner Continues Presidential Bid"[dead link], MSNBC. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  22. ^ "Grassroots Party Nominates a Presidential Ticket", Ballot Access News. July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g Secretary of State of Vermont (2000). "Election Results Archive: 2000 General Election". Vermont Elections Database.
  24. ^ Winger, Richard (June 15, 2014). "Minnesota Candidate Filing Closes". Ballot Access News.
  25. ^ a b "2014 MN Governor Election Results". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 4, 2014.
  26. ^ Featherly, Kevin (June 14, 2018). "Pro-pot AG candidate's got high hopes: Noah Johnson, the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis candidate for attorney general, is a 29-year-old Minneapolis attorney who got accepted to the state bar just a month ago". Minnesota Lawyer.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "2010 MN Governor Election Results". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2, 2010.
  29. ^ "MN Election Results".
  30. ^ "MN Election Results".
  31. ^ Toole, Edwardo (September 14, 2015). "Satanist Runs For Congress". CNN.
  32. ^ a b c Iowa Secretary of State (November 1990). "1990 General Election: Official Canvass Summary" (PDF). Iowa Election Results Archive.
  33. ^ a b c Iowa Secretary of State (November 1994). "1994 General Election: Official Canvass Summary, p. 4" (PDF). Iowa Election Results Archive.
  34. ^ a b c d e f Secretary of State of Vermont (1994). "Election Results Archive: 1994 General Election". Vermont Elections Database.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h Secretary of State of Vermont (1996). "Election Results Archive: 1996 General Election". Vermont Elections Database.
  36. ^ Tuman, Joseph S. (2008). "The Players in the Process". Political Communication in American Campaigns, p. 19. SAGE Publishing. ISBN 978-1-412-90945-7.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i Secretary of State of Vermont (1998). "Election Results Archive: 1998 General Election". Vermont Elections Database.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h Secretary of State of Vermont (2002). "Election Results Archive: 2002 General Election". Vermont Elections Database.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 March 2021, at 07:24
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