Two political parties pushing for the legalization of marijuana across Minnesota are likely to be granted major-party status after a successful midterm election.
Both the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis (GLC) Party and the Legal Marijuana Now (LMN) Party earned more than five percent of the vote in at least one statewide race, crossing the minimum threshold to obtain major-party status.
In the Minnesota attorney general’s race, GLC candidate Noah Johnson garnered 5.71 percent of the vote, likely benefiting from a highly controversial race that left many Minnesotans dissatisfied with both major candidates. Johnson, however, asked his supporters to back Keith Ellison in the race just days before the midterms.
“It’s an unusual thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do. Like me, Keith Ellison supports the legalization of marijuana,” Johnson said while trashing Republican Doug Wardlow as a “bully and a bigot.”
In the Minnesota state auditor’s race, LMN candidate Michael Ford received 5.29 percent of the vote, making both pro-legalization parties eligible for major-party status. The new status won’t be official until all election results are reviewed to confirm that each party received at least one vote in all 87 Minnesota counties, which preliminary results show occurred.
GLC argues on its website that Minnesota is the only state in the country that includes an amendment in its constitution stating that “any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden, occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefore.”
GLC also calls for an end to the “prohibition” of marijuana, saying it is the “New Jim Crow,” since it has “created a new racial caste system.”
“Drug prohibition is authoritarianism, which fosters dehumanizing intolerance of minority groups exploiting every type of fear with the promise of security while destroying it completely,” GLC’s website states. “The War on Drugs has made it a laudable civic duty to extinguish civil liberties, one inalienable right after another.”
LMN offers more specific policy positions on its party website, calling for the legalization of “homegrown cannabis,” the erasure of “past marijuana convictions,” banning “employment drug testing,” and abolishing the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Prohibition endangers safety by fostering corruption, curtailing civil liberties, and perpetuating racism,” LMN states. “The Legal Marijuana Now Party believes legalization would bring jobs and money into the economy.”
As major parties, the two will be granted automatic placement on ballots, can qualify for state subsidies, and will be much more likely to qualify for debates, MPR News reports.
According to WCCO, the two parties plan to work together to draft a model legislation that could be used by the Democratic-controlled state House to pass legalization in the state. They also have the support of Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz, who spoke favorably of legalizing marijuana while on the campaign trail.
“I support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use by developing a system of taxation, guaranteeing that it is Minnesota grown, and expunging the records of Minnesotans convicted of marijuana crimes,” he tweeted in August.
I support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use by developing a system of taxation, guaranteeing that it is Minnesota grown, and expunging the records of Minnesotans convicted of marijuana crimes. #mngov #OneMinnesota
— Tim Walz (@Tim_Walz) August 10, 2018
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