Michigan Marijuana Initiative Loses Court Case

Michigan Marijuana Initiative Loses Court Case

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MI Legalize, the organizer behind an effort to legalize recreational marijuana in the state of Michigan, has suffered another setback in court. On Aug. 23, 2016, the Michigan Court of Claims upheld a previous decision by the State Board of Canvassers to prohibit a recreational legalization initiative from appearing on the ballot in November.

Although the organization had collected more than 354,000 signatures, exceeding the required 252,000 signatures required to qualify for the ballot, state election officials contended that more than 200,000 of the signatures were out of date.

Michigan law requires that signatures for ballot initiatives be no older than 180 days in order to qualify for the ballot.

In its lawsuit, MI legalize argued that the 180-day rule was unfair and unconstitutional, and that it had provided election officials with a way to verify that the signatures were valid; however, the court ruled in favor of the Board of Canvassers, even though MI Legalize made arguments that Judge Stephen Borrello considered “compelling,” according to The Detroit News.

“As our Supreme Court recognized, the purity of elections is an important state interest that is furthered by the rebuttable presumption that signatures more than 180 days old are stale and void,” Borrello wrote.

Despite this setback, organizers behind the measure remain undeterred and plan on appealing to the Michigan Supreme Court, which would have to issue a ruling on the case before Sept. 24, 2016, the expected mailing date of local ballots to overseas members of the military.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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