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Legal Marijuana Now Party

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Legal Marijuana Now Party
ChairpersonRudy Reyes
Founded1998; 26 years ago (1998)
Preceded byIndependent Grassroots Party (1996–1997)
NewspaperFreedom Gazette
IdeologyCannabis legalization
Colors  Green, gold, red
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
0 / 50
State Upper House Seats
0 / 1,972
State Lower House Seats
0 / 5,411
Legal Marijuana Now Party sign assortment, circa 2016—2024

The Legal Marijuana Now Party (LMN) is a political third party in the United States. The party's platform includes abolishing the Drug Enforcement Administration and legalizing hemp and marijuana.[1] As of 2024, the party has ballot access in Minnesota and Nebraska.

The Legal Marijuana Now Party was established in Minnesota in 1998 to oppose marijuana prohibition. In 1996, the Grassroots Party of Minnesota split, with some former members forming the Independent Grassroots Party. By 1998, members of the Independent Grassroots Party formed the Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party.[2] In the 2010s the party began expansion attempts to other states, gaining presidential election ballot access in Iowa for the 2016 election by petition.[3] The party continues expansion in the 2020s, gaining ballot access in Nebraska as the Nebraska Legal Marijuana NOW Party in 2021.[4]



The Minnesota Grassroots Party was formed in 1986 as a response to Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs.[5][2] In 1996 the party split, with some former members forming the Independent Grassroots Party for one election cycle.[2]

Early Minnesota party (1998–2014)

In 1998, members of the Independent Grassroots Party formed the Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now political party.[2] The party's name, according to Yippie Oliver Steinberg, a Grassroots Party founder, is attributed Dan Vacek saying "call it the Legal Marijuana Now Party and then every vote we get will be a referendum. Every vote we get will be indisputable evidence that there’s a voter that wants legal marijuana."[2][6]

Expansion to other states

Nebraska expansion

The Nebraska Legal Marijuana NOW Party petitioned to be recognized as a major political party. 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.[7] 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, verifying only 4,353 signatures and falling short of the 5,397 needed.[8] After failing to make it onto Nebraska ballots in 2016, the party began circulating petitions for 2020 ballot access for a Nebraska Legal Marijuana NOW Party in September, 2016.[9] The party planned to collect 15,000 signatures for their second attempt at gaining ballot access.[10]

State party activity


Legal Marijuana Now Party at the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul, April 20, 2016

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.[11]

Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now nominated candidates by petition to appear on the ballot for the November 6, 2018 election.[12] Their candidate for State Auditor, Michael Ford, received 5.3% of the vote qualifying the party to be an official major party in the state. This gave Legal Marijuana Now candidates ballot access without having to petition.[13]

In 2020, the Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now candidate for United States Senator received 190,154 votes, more than any other such third-party candidate in the U.S.[14] 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.[15] A St. Cloud Times analysis of votes cast in the 2020 general election in Minnesota found that Legal Marijuana Now candidates might have helped DFL candidates in swing districts, by pulling a larger number of votes from Republican candidates.[16]

Paula Overby was nominated by Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party, in 2022, to run for U.S. Representative from the 2nd congressional district. Overby, an information technology director, had previously been nominated by Legal Marijuana Now for the 2nd district, in 2020, after candidate Adam Weeks' untimely death. Overby's platform included marijuana legalization and universal Medicare.[17][18][19] On October 5, 2022, Overby died during recovery in a hospital following emergency surgery for a heart valve condition.[20] Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon stated that Overby's name would remain on the ballot, and the election would go ahead as scheduled.[21] Without remedy for replacing their deceased nominee, under state law, Legal Marijuana Now Party encouraged supporters to cast their votes for Overby. The dead candidate won 10,728 votes in the race.[22]

Scholars have credited the work of Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now with motivating the state Democratic Party to prioritize cannabis legalization, in 2023.[23][24]


Nebraska Legal Marijuana NOW supporter with cannabis peace flag at rally in Omaha, April 20, 2018

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.[4]

Nebraska Legal Marijuana NOW Party ran more candidates for statewide offices, in 2022, than the Nebraska Democratic Party recruited.[25] Larry Bolinger was nominated by Legal Marijuana NOW to run for Nebraska Attorney General in 2022. Bolinger, who previously had run for a seat on the Alliance Planning Commission, focused his campaign on legalization of marijuana and expanding drug courts.[26][27]

In the 2022 race, Bolinger received 188,648 votes, more than 30 percent, the highest percentage for a statewide Nebraska candidate running outside the two major parties in 86 years, when independent George Norris was reelected to U.S. Senate, in 1936.[28] Bolinger was one of the top three third party vote-getters in the United States in 2022.[29]

U.S. presidential candidates

In 2016, Legal Marijuana Now placed their presidential candidates, Dan Vacek and Mark Elworth, on the ballot in two states, Iowa[3] and Minnesota,[30] and as a write-in candidate nationwide.

Rudy Reyes was nominated by the Legal Marijuana Now Party, in 2020, to run for Vice-president of the United States, but the campaign was postponed until 2024.[31]

Electoral history

Minnesota federal and statewide office electoral history


Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
1998 U.S. Representative, MN-04 Dan Vacek 5,839[32] 2.40%
2014 Minnesota Attorney General Dan Vacek 57,604[33] 2.99%
2016 U.S. Representative, MN-04 Susan Pendergast Sindt 27,152[34] 7.71%
2016 U.S. Representative, MN-05 Dennis Schuller 30,759[34] 8.50%


Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
2018 U.S. Senator Dennis Schuller 66,236[35] 2.55%
2018 U.S. Senator (special) Sarah Wellington 95,614[35] 3.70%
2018 U.S. Representative, MN-04 Susan Pendergast Sindt 13,776[36] 4.19%
2018 Minnesota State Auditor Michael Ford 133,913[37] 5.28%
2020 U.S. Senator Kevin O’Connor 190,154[38] 5.92%
2020 U.S. Representative, MN-02 Adam Charles Weeks 24,751[39] 5.83%
2020 U.S. Representative, MN-05 Michael Moore 29,537[40] 9.54%
2020 U.S. Representative, MN-07 Slater Johnson 37,979[41] 4.87%
2022 U.S. Representative, MN-01 (special) Richard Reisdorf 1,545 1.30%
2022 U.S. Representative, MN-01 Richard Reisdorf 6,389 2.15%
2022 U.S. Representative, MN-02 Paula Overby 10,728 3.30%
2022 U.S. Representative, MN-07 Travis "Bull" Johnson 16,421 5.37%
2022 Minnesota Governor James McCaskel 29,346 1.17%
2022 Minnesota State Auditor Tim Davis 87,386 3.55%

Nebraska federal and statewide office electoral history

Year Office Candidate Popular votes Percentage
2022 U.S. Representative, NE-03 Mark Elworth Jr. 13,015 5.90%
2022 Nebraska Attorney General Larry Bolinger 188,648 30.27%
2022 Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts L. Leroy Lopez 120,986 19.32%

2016 U.S. presidential election

Year Candidate VP candidate Ballot access Popular votes Percentage National rank

Dan Vacek of Minnesota

Mark Elworth of Nebraska
IA, MN[42][34] 13,537[1] 0.01%[1] 10th of 31[43]


The Legal Marijuana Now Party's platform centers around marijuana legalization, including hemp legalization.[1] The party has advocated legalizing the home cultivation of marijuana and expunging past cannabis convictions.[44] It has also advocated broader anti-drug prohibition policies including abolishing the Drug Enforcement Administration and banning employee drug testing.[1][44]

The party defines its platform as the United States Bill of Rights in its constitution.[45][46]

Structure and composition

Legal Marijuana Now Party mascot, Marvelous Cannabis Leaf, as drawn by Andy Schuler on April 20, 2015


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.[7][47]


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 June.[45]

Krystal Gabel, of Nebraska, was appointed to national Legal Marijuana Now Party chairperson in 2021 through 2023.[48] Rudy Reyes became party chairperson in 2024.

State and local chapters

State Chapter Name Status Party activity start Ballot access Ballot access dates
Minnesota Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party Active 1998 Yes 1998, 2014–present
Nebraska Nebraska Legal Marijuana NOW Party Active 2016 Yes 2021–present
Iowa Unknown 2016 No 2016 (presidential)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Bloch, Emily (October 2, 2019). "Alternatives to the Two Major Political Parties, Explained". Teen Vogue.
  2. ^ a b c d e Harvieux, Vincent (May 3, 2018). "Joint Ops: Why Minnesota has two pro-marijuana parties". Perfect Duluth Day.
  3. ^ a b Hanson, Alex (August 25, 2016). "Weekly politics wrap-up: Ballot access in Iowa". Iowa State Daily. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "'Legal Marijuana NOW' now recognized as a party in Nebraska". Associated Press. April 21, 2021.
  5. ^ Condon, Patrick (21 June 2014). "Pot activists light up Minnesota ballot". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2022. (subscription required)
  6. ^ a b Stoddard, Martha (July 23, 2016). "Marijuana party seeks spot on ballot for presidential race". Omaha World-Herald. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. (subscription required)
  7. ^ "Marijuana Party petition drive fails to result in ballot placement". Lincoln Journal Star. Associated Press. August 5, 2016. Archived from the original on 17 April 2022. (subscription required)
  8. ^ Pluhacek, Zach (September 14, 2016). "Marijuana groups already petitioning for 2018 ballot". Lincoln Journal Star. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016.(subscription required)
  9. ^ Jordan, Spike (May 12, 2017). "Legalize Marijuana Now advocates petition to get pro-marijuana third-party on the ballot". Scottsbluff Star Herald. Archived from the original on 7 July 2022. (subscription required)
  10. ^ Du, Susan (July 19, 2017). "Reefer Riches: What Minnesota could learn about recreational marijuana". City Pages. Archived from the original on July 21, 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  11. ^ Jones, Hannah (August 30, 2018). "The Minnesota State Fair's weed activists are kindly waiting for you to realize they're right". City Pages. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  12. ^ Octavio, Miguel; Tarala, Kassidy (January 15, 2019). "Midterms boost influence of pro-cannabis political parties". University of Minnesota. Archived from the original on 24 October 2019.
  13. ^ Beaudoin, Dave G. (January 29, 2021). "77 third-party candidates received more votes than the winner's margin of victory in 2020". Ballotpedia.
  14. ^ Van Berkel, Jessie; Bierschbach, Briana (November 5, 2020). "Marijuana candidates shake up Minnesota races". Star Tribune.
  15. ^ Hertel, Nora G. (November 14, 2020). "Republican voters choose legal marijuana party candidates in tight legislative races". St. Cloud Times.
  16. ^ Johnson, Brett (July 31, 2020). "Paula Overby: DFL candidate for US Senate". KTNF.
  17. ^ Johnson, Tad (July 8, 2022). "Two additional candidates complicate 2nd District race". Sun This Week. Overby would have taken the place of Legal Marijuana Now Party 2nd District candidate Adam Weeks in 2020 had a special election been allowed.
  18. ^ "This Minnesota county will decide one of the most competitive House races". Politico. July 12, 2022. Overby's platform of marijuana and "Medicare for All" may rouse more liberal voters.
  19. ^ "Paula Overby, Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate in 2nd District, dies". Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  20. ^ "Minnesota Secretary Of State - Office Statement on Congressional District 2 Election". Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  21. ^ Bornhoft, William (November 9, 2022). "Dead Candidate Won Nearly 11K Votes In MN, Unofficial Results Show". Patch Media.
  22. ^ Labovitch, William (November 27, 2022). "How Minnesota got to marijuana legalization politically". Star Tribune.
  23. ^ Brooks, Jennifer (May 10, 2023). "After law, what's next for state's pot parties? When you fight for a cause, sometimes you win". Star Tribune.
  24. ^ Swanson, Ian (March 16, 2022). "2022 campaign shows Nebraska has two weak political parties". Nebraska Examiner.
  25. ^ Walton, Don (July 12, 2021). "Legal Marijuana Now Party supports attorney general candidate". Lincoln Journal Star. Bolinger received 3,389 votes in the 2020 Republican congressional primary race. The newly formed Legal Marijuana Now Party qualified earlier this year for ballot access in Nebraska.
  26. ^ Carlson, Scott (July 15, 2021). "Legal Marijuana Now chairman to run for Nebraska AG". North Platte Post. At age 52, Bolinger earned a Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, majoring in Political Science and Minor in Criminology with a concentration in government affairs and civic engagement. Bolinger has served on several local commissions, including the Alliance Planning Commission.
  27. ^ Winger, Richard (January 24, 2023). "Legal Marijuana Now Candidate in 2022 Polled Highest Share of Vote in a Statewide Nebraska Race for a Non-Major Party Nominee Since 1936". Ballot Access News.
  28. ^ Winger, Richard (November 16, 2022). "Three Statewide Minor Party Candidates Exceeded 30% of the Vote in November 2022". Ballot Access News.
  29. ^ Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (August 24, 2016). "Don't like Trump or Clinton? You have choices". Pioneer Press.
  30. ^ "Vice Presidential Candidates from Third Parties in the United States: Rudy Reyes, 2020 VP Legal Marijuana Now Party". Third Party Second Bananas. July 23, 2019.
  31. ^ Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1998). "Minnesota Election Results 1998, p. 43" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  32. ^ "2014 Election Results Minnesota Attorney General". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2014.
  33. ^ a b c "Minnesota State Canvassing Report: 2016 General Election" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. November 29, 2016.
  34. ^ a b "2018 Election Results United States Senator". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2018.
  35. ^ "2018 Election Results United States Representative District 4". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2018.
  36. ^ "2018 Election Results Minnesota State Auditor". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2018.
  37. ^ "2020 Results for US Senator".
  38. ^ "2020 Results for US Representative District 2".
  39. ^ "2020 Results for US Representative District 5".
  40. ^ "2020 Results for US Representative District 7".
  41. ^ "2016 General Election Canvass Summary" (PDF). Iowa Secretary of State. November 2016.
  42. ^ Wachtler, Mark (November 15, 2016). "2016 Presidential Vote Totals for all 31 Candidates". Opposition News. Archived from the original on 6 December 2016.
  43. ^ a b "Weg met Trump en Clinton, stem Legal Marijuana Now!". Rolling Stoned (in Dutch). October 19, 2016.
  44. ^ Callaghan, Peter (June 21, 2023). "Melons, rutabagas, marijuana? Minnesota Constitution's protection on peddling farm goods gets another look". MinnPost.
  45. ^ 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".
  46. ^ 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."

External links

This page was last edited on 28 April 2024, at 08:00
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