Minnesota’s Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party lost its major party status after it failed to have a statewide candidate garner 5% of the vote in the past two general elections, the Star Tribune reports. The 5% threshold is required for parties to maintain the major party status.
Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party candidates had run in last week’s election in the governor and state auditor races, but both drew less than 2% of the vote, the report says. Steve Patterson has sought the governorship on the party line, while Will Finn ran for auditor.
The other pro-cannabis party, Legal Marijuana Now, still has its major party status because its U.S. Senate candidate, Kevin O’Connor, received nearly 6% of the vote in 2020, allowing the party to maintain the designation for four years.
Grassroots–Legalize Cannabis Party Chairman Oliver Steinberg told the Star Tribune that the major party designation “is the worst thing that happened to the cannabis parties” because it opened up the party to having “bogus” candidates, often Republican-aligned, to run under the party’s banner.
In an October 29 update posted to the party’s website, Steinberg wrote that the party was “established in 1986” and “sabotaged in 2022” and that the party did not want people to vote for Patterson or Matt Huff, who ran for lieutenant governor.
“Patterson stated that his intention was to hijack the party’s nomination,” Steinberg wrote. “He has no background as a cannabis activist, has never supported or donated to the party, and refused an opportunity to let the Party’s endorsed candidate – a disabled military veteran – obtain a place on the ballot.”
According to a statement by the party in August, its endorsed candidate, Kevin “NeSe” Shores was kept off the ballot.
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