The Crimson White
October 28, 2005
Loretta Nall is a 31-year-old wife and mother of two. She's an Alabama native with a confessed history of drug use.
And now Nall, president of the U.S. Marijuana Party, wants to be Alabama's governor.
She said she favors prison reform, states' rights, abolition of gun control and a checkbox-style government along with the obvious drug policy reform.
Nall said she decided to run in a conservative state such as Alabama because the state is dying for change.
"Cops are teaching kindergarteners it's alright to pee in a cup on demand," she said.
Six days after writing a letter to The Birmingham News urging Alabamians who wanted drug policy reform to join together to enact change in November 2002, Nall was arrested.
That's when she decided she wanted to have a bigger influence in the state. At first, Nall said her decision to run for governor was kind of a joke.
"It was like, 'Gee, I'll run for governor.' Just a remark, you know?," she said.
Nall, however, officially declared her candidacy in late September.
She said she has high hopes for the upcoming election. "I'm an eternal optimist, and I actually think I'll win," Nall said. "Yes, I know everyone thinks I'm a lunatic."
Nall said college students should be interested in one part of her platform: working to get rid of a provision of the Higher Education Act that blocks federal financial aid for students with prior drug convictions.
"It doesn't make any sense to me to block aid to students with convictions since higher education is proven to help correct those that may be on a path toward a life of crime," Nall said.
Greg Ostendorf, a UA freshman majoring in telecommunication and film, said he thinks it is such issues that make Nall appealing to college students.
"Her running here is going to bring more interest to college-age kids, and that's been lacking in previous elections," Ostendorf said. "Older people, though, that have been voting for longer won't take her seriously."
Nall said she has a decent chance in the state because of the uniqueness of her platform. She said there's a difference between her platform and Gov. Bob Riley's pushes for a "Biblically-inspired tax cut" and former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore's push to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings.
However, Nall said a lot of her platform is actually not that far from the beaten path followed by many Alabama politicians.
"If you pay attention to what I'm saying my platform is actually equally, if not more, conservative than the Republicans," Nall said.
Some UA students said they still have a hard time thinking Nall could pull out a win, however.
Mike Rashid, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said he doubts Nall stands a legitimate chance in Alabama.
"I'd say it's really good for the state to have more diversity in the elections, though," Rashid said.
Katie Thompson, a junior majoring in interior design, said she doesn't think Nall could win, "but anything other than ultra-conservatives running is great."
Christina McDonald, a freshman majoring in elementary education, said she hasn't ever heard of the Marijuana Party before, but said Nall's party didn't really matter to her that much.
"As long as she does what she needs to do for the state of Alabama, then I'm fine with her," McDonald said.