Cannabis political parties
In 2013, the Drug Law Reform Party successfully registered with the Australian Electoral Commission, with over 500 members as required. Although the party represented the liberalisation of drug laws in general, cannabis was a primary focus. The party officially deregistered on 31 July 2017.
In the 1970s, J.J. McRoach ran for parliament as candidate for the Australian Marijuana Party. He had an advertising campaign funded by an anonymous dealer. His party came fourth in the elections. In 1986 Nick Brash ran for the "Marijuana Party" for the Kiama NSW by-election against ALP heavy-weight Bob "Bobo" Harrison. Then in 1987 Nick Brash ran in the Heathcote NSW by-election with 13 other candidates including the infamous Rex "Buckets" Jackson. This campaign was partly funded by the late John Marsden, solicitor and outspoken civil libertarian. In the 1988 NSW State Election he joined Macciza Macpherson in running for the Legislative Council Soon after, the electoral laws were changed requiring all political parties to prove a membership of 500 enrolled voters, an impossible task for the Marijuana Party. The independent HEMP Legalise Marijuana party continues to run in the upper house in South Australian state elections, with their best result being in 1997 when they received 1.7% of the vote, beating relatively popular parties such as the SA Greens and the SA branch of the National Party of Australia. The Party was founded in 1993 and has a constitution, which describes an organisation with the aim of endorsing candidates to contest elections to the Federal Parliament of Australia.
More recently, the HEMP Party (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) was first registered in 2000, and then de-registered in 2006 under Schedule 3 of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006. During that time candidates stood in state and federal elections. Since that time it has been difficult to prove a membership of 500, as members contacted by the AEC (Australian Electoral Commission) sometimes disavowed membership, or had changed address without notifying the Party or the AEC.
Several applications later the AEC has assessed the party as meeting the test of being a political party under s4 of the Electoral Act. On 17 June 2010 the delegate determined that the party's application had passed its initial consideration for registration and the application was advertised for public objection on 23 June 2010. The issue of writs on 19 July 2010 for the federal elections meant that no further action could be taken on this application until the final return of all outstanding writs on 17 September 2010. No objections to the registration of the HEMP Party were received. The AEC assessed the party's application against the technical requirements in s126(2) of the Electoral Act. The application meets the technical requirements in s126(2). The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the HEMP Party should therefore be registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
In Brazil, the Cannabista Brazilian Cannabic Party manifesto was launched in August 2019. The page is seen as a continuation of the Brazilian Anti-Prohibitionist Movement, to work at the federal level. The Brazilian Cannabic Party has adopted a policy of legalizing marijuana as its main objective.
In Canada, the Marijuana Party of Canada was launched by Marc-Boris St-Maurice in February 2000. The party is seen as a follow up to the Québécois Bloc pot, in order to work at the federal level. There are also other party organizations at the provincial level. The Liberal Party of Canada adopted a pot legalization policy at their recent party convention.
The Saskatchewan Marijuana Party functions in a politically independent fashion, and does not hold any formal association to any other political organizations federally or provincially. On April 20 of 2006, the party submitted their petition of registration to elections Saskatchewan. The petition was successful and the party was fully registered as a political party in the province of Saskatchewan as of June 7, 2006.
The party leader is currently Nathan Holowaty. Nathan Holowaty has referred to himself as a socially responsible libertarian and believes in the full scale legalization of cannabis. Nathan has a degree in political studies from the University of Saskatchewan.
In Quebec, the Québécois Bloc pot, created by Marc-Boris St-Maurice, ran their first election campaign in 1998. In February 2000, the party launched the Marijuana Party of Canada which ran 73 candidates in the 2000 federal election. Bloc pot is now the provincial counterpart of the Marijuana Party of Canada.
Political Parties in Folketinget, which is the Danish parliament, who wantsto legalize cannabis:
Liberal Alliance are in favor of cannabis legalization. This is the case for both medical and recreational. "I want a state regulated sale of cannabis, like the state regulates alcohol and cigarettes. That way, we have a better control of which drugs are on the market, and that they aren't sold to kids." - Christina Egelund.
Alternativet are in factor of cannabis legalization. This is the case for both medical and recreational. "This is a great way to take a stand against criminal gangs, decriminalize normal Danes and to secure that there aren't any dangerous chemicals added." - Josephine Fock.
Socialist People's Party are in factor of a regulated legalization of cannabis. "Today, some people smoke way too much cannabis and get problems, but we doesn't help them by punishing them, when they in reality need help. We should treat cannabis like alcohol, and focus on the one's, who get addicted." - Lisbeth Bech Poulsen.
After the incident at Freetown Christiania, where the police destroyed all the stalls, and cleared them of cannabis, the Danish Social Liberal Party have chanced stance on this issue. They now want a 3-year trial, where you can buy state regulated cannabis across the country.
Red-Green Alliance wants to legalize cannabis sold and produced by the state. "It will secure that criminals can't make money off the import, nor make money off the illegal sale of cannabis. The money, the state makes off the sale, shall be used on information, treatment for the addicts and welfare benefits, instead of giving the money to the criminals" - Rune Lund.
The Hampepartiet was formed in 2001.
As of 2015, there have been ongoing attempts for the establishment of the Cannabis Party of Greece, but they haven't resulted in the creation of a registered political party yet.
In Ireland, there were attempts to establish a Cannabis legalisation Party however the government have so far refused to allow any such parties to be registered. A number of individuals including journalist Olaf Tyaransen and Phoenix Park festival organiser Ubi Dwyer have stood in various elections (national, Local and European) as independent candidates on a legalise cannabis platform. The only success to date has been the election of Luke 'Ming' Flanagan to The Dáil in the 2011 General Election although it is generally accepted that Flannigan's success was also mainly due to his stance on other political issues.
In New Zealand, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party ran for the first time in 1996. They have never had any Members of Parliament, but have averaged around 1% of the popular vote - one fifth of what is necessary to gain MPs under New Zealand's proportional representation system. A former member, Nándor Tánczos, was an MP as part of the New Zealand Green Party (1999–2008). (He was also New Zealand's first ever Rastafarian Member of Parliament). The party had candidates in the 2008 general election.
The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has said that if it forms a government in the 2017 election it will legalise cannabis. 'Under its proposal, people would be able to legally grow and possess marijuana for personal use'. The party would also 'urgently amend the law so sick people using medicinal marijuana were not penalised'.
In Spain, the Partido Cannabis participated in the 2004 Spanish general election, by standing candidates for seats in the Cortes in three provinces, (Valencia, Alicante and Valladolid). They scored between 0.35% and 1.11% of votes cast.
The nationally registered political party Iqela Lentsango: The Dagga Party of South Africa is South Africa's first and foremost Cannabis legalization group. This group are also activists and supporters of people arrested, charged and/or imprisoned for the possession of dagga (the South Africa word for Cannabis) and related charges.
Also deserving of mention is Dr. Mario Oriani-Ambrosini. A Member of Parliament in South Africa, he was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently began lobbying for the legalization of Medical Marijuana. He went so far as to address the entire Parliament sitting in Cape Town with an impassioned plea for the Members of Parliament to consider the legalization of Medical Marijuana. He died shortly after this but thanks to him and other activists, South Africa seems to be heading in the direction of eventually legalizing Cannabis for medical use.
In the United Kingdom, the Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA), registered as a political party from 1999 to 2006, with Alun Buffry as its leader-for-the-purpose-of-registration-only, fielding candidates in elections to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and to local government councils. The LCA de-registered itself as a political party, and continues to work as a pressure group.
The party drew inspiration from the performances of Howard Marks and Buster Nolan as independent legalise cannabis candidates in the 1997 general election. (Howard Marks stood in four different constituencies of the House of Commons.) The LCC, Legalise Cannabis Campaign, founded in the late 60s acted as a pressure group throughout the 1970s and 80s and provided a seedbed of support for these later political manifestations.
By the time of the 2001 general election the party had experience of campaigns in two House of Commons by-elections and various local government elections. In the general election the party contested 13 constituencies and their share of the vote ranged from 1.1% to 2.5%.
In January 2004, cannabis prohibition in the UK was relaxed. Cannabis had been a class B substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It became a class C substance, and many people saw this change as virtual 'decriminalisation'. It was a long way short of full legalisation. It has recently returned to a class B substance.
The LCA contested 21 constituencies in the 2005 general election. Their share of the vote ranged from 0.6% to 1.8%, falling significantly from its previous levels, presumably because reclassification of cannabis had made the case for legalisation less pressing.
The de-registered, Legalise Cannabis Alliance, adopted a new identity as CLEAR - Cannabis Law Reform, in 2011. Upon this identity change there was also a change of policy, spokespersons, logo, emblems, fliers and aims. CLEAR was a registered political party from 2011–2013. The organisation now works as a lobby group.
Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol (CISTA) was a political party founded in 2015. In the 2015 General Election they campaigned for a Royal Commission to review the UK's drug laws relating to cannabis. CISTA is for harm reduction. The party was deregistered by the Electoral Commission on 3 November 2016.
Active cannabis political parties in the United States include the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party, the Legal Marijuana Now Party, the Legalize Marijuana Party, and the United States Marijuana Party.
History of Cannabis Political Parties Across the U.S.
The Youth International Party, formed in 1967 to advance the counterculture of the 1960s, often ran candidates for public office. The Yippie flag is a five-pointed star superimposed with a cannabis leaf.
- The Grassroots Party was founded in Minnesota in 1986 and ran numerous candidates for state and federal offices. The party was active in Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont. Grassroots Party ran candidates in every presidential election from 1988 to 2000.
- The Legal Marijuana Now Party was established in Minnesota in 1998.
- In 1998, an independent candidate, Edward Forchion, ran for Congress from New Jersey as the Legalize Marijuana Party candidate. Since then, Forchion has run several times for a number of offices, under that banner.
- The Marijuana Reform Party was established in New York, in 1998, and ran Gubernatorial candidates there in both 1998 and 2002.
- The United States Marijuana Party, organized in 2002, promotes electoral involvement by marijuana legalization supporters. In 2012, the group endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson for President.
- The Anti-prohibition Party ran candidates for office in New York State for one election cycle in 2010.
- In 2010 and 2012, independent candidate Cris Ericson was on the ballot for multiple offices in Vermont under the label of U.S. Marijuana.
- The Grassroots political party changed its name in 2014 to Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party.
- In 2016, the Legal Marijuana Now Party placed their presidential candidates onto the ballot in two states.
U.S. States with active cannabis political parties
- Drug Law Reform Australia Voluntary Deregistration. Accessed via the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) (official website). Retrieved 7 June 2018.
- McRoach, J. J; Australian Marijuana Party (1979), A dozen dopey yarns : tales from the pot prohibition, Australian Marijuana Party, ISBN 978-0-908200-00-9
- "Help End Marijuana Prohibition: HEMP Party". Australianhempparty.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- Greens propose full legalisation of cannabis. The Guardian. Author - Paul Karp. Published 16 April 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
- Greens want to legalise cannabis for all adults. The Sydney Morning Herald. Author - Eryk Bagshaw. Published 16 April 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
- Greens announce plan to legalise cannabis to take it 'out of the hands of criminals and dealers'. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Authors - Matthew Doran and Lucy Barbour. Published 17 April 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
- See The Saskatchewan Marijuana Party Archived 2008-02-25 at the Wayback Machine
- Legal cannabis in NZ? Green Party offers green light to pot smokers. Stuff (NZ). Last updated 9 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
- Drug Law Reform Policy. The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (official website). Retrieved 13 December 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2014-03-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol [De-registered 03/11/16]. The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- Liberal Democrats call for a legalised cannabis market. Liberal Democrats (official website). Published 12 March 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Green Party | Caroline Allen: UK drugs legislation 'is failing us all'". www.greenparty.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
- "Scotland can support people addicted to drugs:". Scottish Greens. 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
- Steinberg, Oliver (October 3, 2016). "Third- or even fourth-party candidates can play key roles". Star Tribune.
- Reston, James Jr. (1991). "Collision at Home Plate: The Lives of Pete Rose and Bart Giamatti, p. 78". University of Nebraska Press.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Minnesota Secretary of State (November 1988). "Minnesota Election Results 1988, p. 18" (PDF). Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
- Klein, Patricia A. (June 1993). "Federal Elections 92: Election Results for the U.S. President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, p. 9" (PDF). Federal Election Commission.
- Bickford, Bob (October 7, 1998). "1996 Presidential Election Results by State". Ballot Access News.
- "2000 Official Presidential General Election Results". Federal Election Commission. December 2001.
- Brash, Jim (April 20, 2016). "Q & A with the Legal Marijuana Now Party of Minnesota". The North Star.
- Shea, Kevin (April 30, 2016). "NJ Weedman's long, strange trip as marijuana advocate". NJ.com.
- Worth, Robert (November 7, 2002). "The 2002 Elections: Smaller Parties". The New York Times.
- Franklin, Terry (October 5, 2010). "Pro-Cannabis Candidates in the Northeast". Shadow Proof.
- Winger, Richard (June 15, 2014). "Minnesota Candidate Filing Closes". Ballot Access News.
- Hanson, Alex (August 25, 2016). "Weekly politics wrap-up: Ballot access in Iowa". Iowa State Daily.
- Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. (August 24, 2016). "Don't like Trump or Clinton? You have choices". Pioneer Press.
- Jordan, Spike (May 12, 2017). "Legalize Marijuana Now advocates petition to get pro-marijuana third-party on the ballot". Scottsbluff Star Herald.