To: Pioneer Press
I disagree with Joe Repya's opinion piece about the governor's race ("Pick a governor from the 2 major parties," Oct. 27). A vote for any one of the seven candidates is worth just as much as a vote for any other.
Minor parties, often stigmatized as "spoilers," can scarcely be accused of spoiling an election already fatally contaminated by a flood of secret, unaccountable corporate spending — the botulism of American politics.
On the contrary, minor parties ask to be measured by the merit of their ideas, not their moneybags. Historically, the role of small parties is to popularize radical or controversial proposals, rejuvenating a two-party system stuck in stalemate or stagnation.
That's why I'm voting for Grassroots nominee Chris Wright, who advocates cannabis regulation and taxation. The failed policy of "reefer madness," just like alcohol prohibition, has led to crime, corruption, loss of revenue, curtailment of liberty and general disrespect for all laws — without suppressing the behavior it seeks to prohibit. And as with the repeal of Prohibition, perhaps the most persuasive argument for re-legalizing cannabis would be its potential revenue stream to help balance state and local budgets, instead of, as we're currently doing, channeling profits to criminals. And cannabis reform could create productive jobs by restoring industrial hemp cultivation — producing fuel, fiber, food, paper and plastic products.
Minnesota's multi-party heritage is reflected in the name of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the more recent prominence of the Ross Perot-Jesse Ventura Reform/Independence manifestation. We still need minor parties. As long as politicians remain afraid of common-sense reform of our cannabis laws — even rejecting a very limited medical marijuana bill — then a vote for the Grassroots candidates remains our best way to promote three vital goals: economic recovery, energy independence and improved public safety.
Oliver Steinberg, St. Paul
The writer is a volunteer for the Wright campaign.