Minnesota DFL challenges Legal Marijuana Now Party status, allege law violations

Claiming that the Legal Marijuana Now political party didn’t hold the required number of conventions in 2022, while failing to maintain a party infrastructure required by law, the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), is challenging whether it should maintain a major political party in Minnesota.

The Minnesota DFL has filed a petition with the state Supreme Court seeking a declaration that the Legal Marijuana Now Party has not met the requirements to continue to qualify on an election ballot for major party status.

In Minnesota, a political party is required to hold a convention in 2022 for every congressional district and at least 45 counties or legislative districts, as well as, have an executive committee consisting of a chair and officers for each district while obtaining "sufficient support from the voters in prior elections."

According to a press release, the DFL alleges that the Legal Marijuana Now Party has previously filed for two major party status certifications that were rejected by the Secretary of State’s Office.

Following the rejections, Legal Marijuana Now claimed to have held 76 conventions – all on the same day – and within a one-hour window on June 8, 2023, according to the allegations.

In 2022, Legal Marijuana Now fielded 12 candidates for office, which makes the claims "incredulous" according to the DFL allegations.

"The Legal Marijuana Now Party very clearly did not meet the requirements to qualify for major party status," said DFL Chairman Ken Martin in a statement. "Every major party is expected to demonstrate that they are a serious organization by building their party and engaging voters in dozens of districts across Minnesota. The Minnesota DFL and the Minnesota GOP are the only two political parties that meet that threshold. But fortunately, there is a major political party for legalization supporters – the party that actually legalized cannabis."

During the 2023 legislative session, recreational marijuana was legalized in Minnesota – a session that had full legislative control by the DFL for the first time in a decade.

According to the Legal Marijuana Now party site, in the 1960s and 1970s, the Youth International Party (or "Yippies") ran candidates for public office to promote the ideals of the hippie subculture. 

In 1986, the Grassroots Party was founded in Minnesota, while also active in Iowa and Vermont, again running candidates for public office.

The Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party gained major-party status in Minnesota in 2018, but then lost it after the 2022 election. The Legal Marijuana Now Party is a branch of the Minnesota Grassroots Party that was established in 1998.

On its official Facebook page, on Wednesday, Legal Marijuana Now MN wrote, "VOTE in the Legal Marijuana Now! Party presidential nomination primary on Tuesday, March 5."

The Legal Marijuana Now Party stands united against the federal prohibition of marijuana. We did our due diligence and worked closely with the Minnesota Secretary of State Office to comply with the rule changes recently passed to use specifically to target our party, our success and silence the voices of the thousands of Americans who have voted for us," said Dennis Schuller, Legal Marijuana Now Chairman in a statement to FOX 9. "I feel sad that the the un-democratic party has chosen this path and I am confident about the information we have provided the state."