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Minnesota’s Marijuana Party Failed To Meet Requirements For Major Political Party Status, State Supreme Court Rules



“If the Legal Marijuana Now Party wants to run candidates for office, they can still get on the ballot using the same process available to other third parties,”

By Michelle Griffith, Minnesota Reformer

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the Legal Marijuana Now Party has failed to meet the state’s requirements to qualify as a major political party. The court has ordered Secretary of State Steve Simon to prohibit the pot party’s candidates from appearing on the 2024 primary and general election ballots using the benefits associated with major party status, most significantly automatic ballot access.

The Supreme Court in a per curiam opinion—meaning in the name of the court rather than specific justices—ruled that the Legal Marijuana Now Party did not maintain a state central committee controlled by a state convention, a provision in new election laws passed by the Minnesota Legislature last year.

The state’s high court ruling comes after Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in February asked the court to yank the Legal Marijuana Now Party’s major party status, alleging the party hasn’t met the new requirements.

Major party status confers significant advantages over minor parties, especially ballot access, negating the need for the expensive and onerous process of collecting signatures to appear on the ballot.

“We’re pleased that the Supreme Court has recognized that the Legal Marijuana Party did not satisfy the statutory requirements to be treated as a major party. If the Legal Marijuana Now Party wants to run candidates for office, they can still get on the ballot using the same process available to other third parties,” said DFL Party Chair Ken Martin in a statement. “Major party status comes with major party responsibilities, and only the Minnesota DFL and Minnesota GOP have consistently met that standard.”


Prior to Friday’s ruling, the Supreme Court appointed a district judge to determine whether the Legal Marijuana Now Party met the requirements laid out in the new law. The judge recommended that the Supreme Court revoke major party status for the August primary and November general elections.

Republicans in the last few years have seemed to collude with pot party candidates in an effort to siphon votes away from Democratic candidates in close congressional and legislative races, enraging some Democrats.

The Legal Marijuana Now Party argued before the Supreme Court that the new election laws infringed on the party’s First Amendment rights, but the justices rejected their argument.

“The [Legal Marijuana Now Party] only makes broad assertions about the burdens on its associational rights and fails to argue or otherwise demonstrate how any of the purported burdens imposed upon it are specifically caused by the requirements,” the Supreme Court wrote in its ruling.

Simon, the court ruled, must now “take all appropriate actions necessary to reflect that the Legal Marijuana Now Party is not a major political party in Minnesota for purposes of the state primary election in August 2024 and the state general election in November 2024.”

He also must prohibit Legal Marijuana Now Party candidates from appearing on the ballot using major party procedures, and he has to consider whether the pot party has met requirements to be a minor political party, the court ruled.

Supreme Court Associate Justices Margaret Chutich and Karl Procaccini recused themselves from the case.

The Legislature legalized cannabis last year.

This story was first published by Minnesota Reformer.

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Photo elements courtesy of rawpixel and Philip Steffan.

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