The Legal Marijuana Now Party will no longer be recognized as a major political party in Minnesota after the state Supreme Court ruled Friday that it failed to meet legal requirements to maintain that status.

The unanimous ruling from the court directs the secretary of state's office to "take all appropriate actions necessary" to make sure the Legal Marijuana Now Party is not considered a major party on state ballots in this year's August primary and November general elections. Two justices did not participate in the ruling.

In February, the state DFL Party petitioned directly to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Legal Marijuana Now Party failed to comply with state law when filing its certification for major party status. DFL-led changes to election law enacted last spring raised the bar for qualifying as a major party.

The court found that the party "failed to satisfy the requirements" by not maintaining a state central committee subject to control of a party convention, as required by law.

"Major party status comes with major party responsibilities, and only the Minnesota DFL and Minnesota GOP have consistently met that standard," DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said in a statement about the ruling.

The Legal Marijuana Now Party, which has been a major party in Minnesota since 2018, wrote in a statement it plans to appeal Friday's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which party officials believe "will likely find Minnesota's DFL-written election law to be unconstitutional."

Under the state Supreme Court ruling, the Legal Marijuana Now Party must instead try to qualify to participate in Minnesota elections as a minor party. There are benefits that come with major party status, including automatic ballot access, campaign subsidies under the state's income tax checkoff and the ability to submit candidates in the state's presidential primary election.

District Court Judge Edward Wahl, acting as a referee in the case, also recently sided with the DFL, finding that the Legal Marijuana Now Party did not establish committees or meet leadership requirements under the law. It also didn't conduct "any convention for Minnesota's eight congressional districts and at least 45 Minnesota state legislative districts or counties."

Some of the requirements have been in statute for years, but changes made last session required political parties to report leadership committees and conventions to the secretary of state's office.

Previously, a party could achieve major party status by having at least one statewide candidate on the general election ballot who received at least 5% of the vote. In addition to adding other requirements, Democrats raised the threshold to 8% of the vote in elections starting this fall.

The Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Now Party also lost major party status in the state after failing to get 5% of the vote in a statewide race in either the 2020 or 2022 elections.

Democrats have been critical of both marijuana parties, alleging that Republicans recruited candidates to run under marijuana party banners in past elections, siphoning enough votes from DFL candidates to hand Republicans victory in key races. During the last session, Democrats also legalized marijuana for adults, saying DFLers are the ones who support major drug reforms.

State election officials had asked the court to rule by mid-May to give state local election administrators enough time to understand their requirements for the state's August primary and November general elections.

After Friday's ruling, the secretary of state's office said the Legal Marijuana Now Party will need to file a notice that it met the requirements to be listed as a minor political party, which requires 2,000 signatures for statewide races.

Congressional candidate Anthony Walsh, who is running as a Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate in Minnesota's Third District, said in a statement that he already planned to collect signatures to get on the ballot.

For every contest but the presidential race, the signatures must be collected during the candidate filing period between May 21 and June 4.