Several members of Minnesota’s Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party are pushing to change its name to the Constitutional Liberty Party, a direct response to allegations that conservatives recruited marijuana candidates to act as spoilers to Democrats in 2020.
A resolution was passed Wednesday to hold a special meeting to rename the party. But its chair and founder said he doesn’t plan to call such a session.
“This is, I think, a tempest in a teapot,” Oliver Steinberg said. “The Grassroots Party has been around since 1986. Its mission is not over, and it has a constructive role to play in this very critical election year.”
The party’s internal turmoil has emerged ahead of the state’s candidate filing period for 2022 and as some pro-marijuana activists are grappling with allegations that their party was used as a spoiler in several critical legislative and congressional swing races in the election two years ago.
In eight of those races, Steinberg said he believes conservatives recruited candidates to file for office under one of Minnesota’s two major pro-legal marijuana parties. To win major party status, a candidate from that party must win at least 5% of the vote in a statewide race.
In several of those close races, Democrats said the marijuana party pulled enough votes from their candidates to hand Republicans victory. Minnesota’s DFL Party and top Democrats also support legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults.
Candidates running under the banner of the proposed Constitutional Liberty Party could flip that strategy, likely pulling votes from Republican candidates instead of Democrats.