Marijuana Reform Party

The Marijuana Reform Party (abbreviated MRP)[1] was a progressive minor political party in the U.S. state of New York dedicated to the legalization of cannabis.[2] Founded in 1997, the Marijuana Reform Party ran a candidate for Governor of New York and other statewide offices in 1998 and 2002.[3]

Marijuana Reform Party
IdeologyCannabis legalization

Finding that the ability of the Marijuana Reform Party to submit petitions containing enough signatures to run candidates in statewide elections demonstrated that it enjoyed a modicum of support in the New York State electorate, in 2004 a federal appeals court ordered the New York state board of elections to recognize the Marijuana Reform Party, allow voters to enroll in it, and to tabulate and make available lists of voters enrolled in the party.[citation needed]

The Marijuana Reform Party was one of several minor parties that fulfilled a role almost unique to New York State politics. New York law allows electoral fusion — a candidate can be the nominee of multiple parties and aggregate the votes received on all the different ballot lines. Several other states allow fusion, but only in New York is it commonly practiced. In fact, since each party is listed with its own line on New York ballots, multiple nominations mean that a candidate's name can be listed several times on the ballot.

Gubernatorial ticketsEdit

  • 1998 – Thomas K. Leighton and Jeffrey C. Wright[4]
  • 2002 – Thomas K. Leighton and Thomas J. Hillgardner[5]

Election resultsEdit

Results in New York City electionsEdit

Year Office Candidate Popular Votes Percentage
1997 Manhattan Borough President Thomas Leighton 6,235 3.0%[6]
2001 Manhattan Borough President Garry Goodrow 7,322 1.9%[7]
2001 New York City Mayor Thomas Leighton 2,563 0.2%[7]
2001 New York City Comptroller Tracy Blevins 17,340 1.2%[7]
2001 New York City Public Advocate Chris Launois 21,721 1.5%[7]

Results in New York State electionsEdit

Year Office Candidate Popular Votes Percentage
1998 New York Governor Thomas Leighton 24,788 0.50%[8]
1998 New York Comptroller Dean Venezia 39,423 0.79%[9]
2002 New York Governor Thomas Leighton 21,977 0.47%[10]

Results in federal electionsEdit

Year Office Candidate Popular Votes Percentage
1998 United States Senator Corinne Kurtz 34,281 0.69%[11]

Competition with the Green PartyEdit

In 1998, gubernatorial candidate Tom Leighton accused the Green Party of New York of trying to have him removed several times from the November ballot by "challenging the validity of his petition signatures".[12] The Board of Elections rejected the claim lodged by Richard Hirsh of the Green Party. Both parties, which appeal to liberal voters, competed for 50,000 votes required for an automatic ballot line on future ballots.[12] After both parties failed to obtain enough votes to gain a place on local and statewide ballots, Leighton stated that he had "no plans to try again next time."[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Key to Party Abbreviations". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. 2001. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  2. ^ Siegel, Joel (May 26, 1998). "Pol is taking a pot show gov wanna-be has inhaled". Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. Retrieved November 13, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Burnt Out". New York Press. Manhattan Media. December 28, 2004. Retrieved November 13, 2009. Note: Text may be scrambled, but can be copied.
  4. ^ Ruscitti, Frank (November 3, 2008). "Reefer Madness". The Village Voice. Village Voice Media. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "Marijuana Reform Party Candidates To Appear On New York State Ballot". National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. September 20, 2002. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "The 1997 Elections: Results". The New York Times. November 5, 1997.
  7. ^ a b c d "Election Results Summary: 2001 General Election" (PDF). New York City Board of Elections. November 6, 2001.
  8. ^ "Governor Election Returns 1998" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. November 3, 1998.
  9. ^ "Comptroller Election Returns 1998" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. November 3, 1998.
  10. ^ "Governor Election Returns 2002" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. November 5, 2002.
  11. ^ "United States Senator Election Returns 1998" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. November 3, 1998.
  12. ^ a b Bonanos, Christopher (September 28, 1998). "Politics: Marijuana Party Accuses Green Party of Weed-Whacking". New York. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  13. ^ Worth, Robert (November 7, 2002). "The 2002 Elections: Smaller Parties; Liberal Party and Others Fall Short of Votes to Stay on Ballot". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 13, 2009.