Lobbying In New York City & New York State

If you live in New York City, there are a number of ways you can help. If you live in New York, but outside the city, there are things for you to do that are described below after the NY City section.

New York City residents please help by doing the following.

(1) Write a letter to Council Member Christine Quinn, who is the Chair of the City Council Health Committee. In your letter you should express your concerns about medical marijuana and ask her to put the issue and the Marijuana Reform Party’s proposed resolution on the agenda of the Health Committee. Letters should be addressed to:

Council Member Christine Quinn
224 West 30th Street
Suite #1206
New York, NY 10001

(2) Write a letter to you local representative in the Council asking them what their position on medical marijuana is and if they would support the Marijuana Reform Party’s proposed resolution. To find out who your City Council representative is, click here.

If you want to write even more letters, you can also write to certain key members of the Health Committee, asking them to support our resolution. Contact the MRP to find out which Committee members to whom you should send these additional letters. Continue reading


Is Workplace Drug Testing Effective?

Official MRP Position Statement on Workplace Drug Testing

It is the position of the Marijuana Reform Party that workplace drug testing done without specific cause, be it pre- or post-employment, is an ineffective and harmful approach to workplace substance abuse issues. We are completely opposed to this practice. We will seek to undermine it by providing workers with detailed information on how the tests work and with strategies for evading or defeating them. Our opposition to drug testing is absolutely not an endorsement for drug use on the job. We believe that the problem of workplace substance abuse is better addressed by other approaches, such as Employee Assistance Programs and employee run safety programs.


Drug testing was introduced on a mass scale through the policies of the Reagan and Bush Administrations. Both administrations supported widespread implementation of workplace drug testing as a solution to a supposed epidemic of workplace drug abuse and resulting safety risks to other workers and the public. Proponents of drug testing argue that drug testing also improves business productivity. Are these beliefs valid? What does the social science research on the effectiveness of drug testing have to say?

A major investigation by the federally funded National Research Council in 1994 reviewed hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on the subject. The study concluded that there was not now, nor ever had been, an epidemic of drug abuse in the workplace.1

This same study found that the only drug consistently implicated in workplace accidents was alcohol, for which most companies do not test. Furthermore, the NRC found that there was little evidence to support the contention that drug testing was an effective means to address workplace safety and productivity problems.

The research evidence is clear: Workplace substance abuse is too small a problem to justify suspicionless testing of millions of American workers. Drug testing, particularly pre-employment testing (the most common form) is an ineffective business practice in terms of improving safety and productivity. Furthermore, because of the great emphasis put on drug testing, other approaches, which might be more effective, are never considered. Continue reading


History of Marijuana Reform Party of New York

The Marijuana Reform Party of New York evolved from Thomas Leighton’s campaign for Borough President of Manhattan (NYC) in 1997. Running on the ballot line “Marijuana Greens” Leighton got 3% of the vote with a total campaign budget of $500.00. Coming in third, Leighton bested four other candidates from established third parties, a result that disconcerted many media and political observers.

Encouraged by these results the small campaign team decided to build on the unexpected success. Since New York State does not allow citizens to conduct ballot initiatives it was decided that the next best thing would be to form a “single-issue” political party, dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition. We resolved to run Leighton again, as a candidate for Governor, hoping to draw the 50,000 needed votes to become an official state-certified party in New York. Continue reading


Statement on Marijuana Policy

Official Position Statement on Marijuana

The main goal of marijuana policy

The main goal of any state or local marijuana policy should be to protect the health of individual users, the people around them and society as a whole. Priority should be given to vulnerable groups and to young people in particular. A second major principle of marijuana policy should be the suppression of drug-related nuisance and the maintenance of public order. Disorderly or dangerous conduct by marijuana users or resulting from the operation of marijuana retail establishments, would not be made allowable by ending prohibition.

The present policy of zero-tolerance prohibition of marijuana purports to seek these same goals. However, the economic reality of a prohibition-created black market fundamentally contradicts the goals of protecting health and public order. Taken as a whole, the health risks of even regular, heavy marijuana use do not, by themselves, justify a policy of criminal prohibition.  Such a policy is inconsistent with the wide ranging freedom of choice Americans enjoy in other areas of human behavior (including many that are just as and often more harmful than marijuana use). Prohibition contributes significantly to marijuana’s harmfulness and undermines public order by fostering distrust between the generations, disrespect for the law, corruption among law enforcement and government and the creation of an unstable and unregulated black market.

A basic assumption of a policy that allows for the legal distribution and use of marijuana by adults is the separation of markets in marijuana from those in more dangerous drugs. While the large majority of marijuana users do not go on to become users of other drugs, those that do are often introduced to those substances in a black market where all drugs are sold side by side. By removing marijuana from the black market, users are distanced from those substances. Marijuana would become more of a “terminus” drug, rather than a “gateway” drug with such a policy. Given that marijuana use is largely concentrated among younger Americans, separation of markets is an important policy step in protecting youth from the more dangerous and addictive drugs. Continue reading


Why Build a Marijuana Reform Party?

The Marijuana Reform Party of New York (MRP) was established to provide a vehicle for political action for New Yorkers who support medical marijuana and for those who want to end the criminal prohibition of marijuana. While citizens in many states are conducting successful ballot initiatives to bring about change, the constitution of New York State does not permit that form of democracy. However, New York offers unique opportunities for small, minor political parties. A political party, focused on the marijuana issue, will allow us to affect policy and apply pressure for legislative reform.

New York’s election law is different from all the other 49 states. As a result, minor political parties have a long history of playing a crucial role in elections. The state election law not only allows candidates to be placed on the ballot simultaneously by different political parties, but it also allows the votes received from different ballot lines to be added together cumulatively to reach a total vote. By simply cross-endorsing candidates from other parties (usually either the Republican or Democrat), minor parties often provide crucial votes to one of the two leading candidates.

Instead of becoming just a “spoiler,” in New York, a small party can make a direct, verifiable difference in an election by providing an extra margin of votes to certain candidates, thereby affecting the results of an election. For example, in 1944 the Liberal Party helped FDR win in New York. Before Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor, the Liberal Party usually endorsed Democrats. However, in 1993 the Liberal Party endorsed Rudy Giuliani and he defeated Mayor DInkins by the margin of votes he received on the Liberal Party line. Moreover, minor party ballot lines recently also helped elect Senators Schumer and Clinton and Michael Bloomberg, the new Mayor of New York City. Continue reading