While there was hope that Michigan voters would get decide this November on the legalization of a recreational cannabis trade, there have been some major setbacks that will likely prevent this from happening – at least for now.
A Michigan judge dismissed a lawsuit this week intended to reinstate thousands of signatures for the MILegalize campaign. Judge Stephen Borrello of the Michigan Court of Claims said that he would not entertain the complaint filed by the pro-marijuana reform organization because there is nothing written in the language of the law that obligates the state to consider the signatures collected outside the 180-day window.
“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 in his decision, referencing a three-decade-old precedent by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Although MILegalize recently submitted enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the state Board of Elections disqualified 200,000 of them because they were gathered after the 180-day timeframe. This rule was tightened up back in June when Governor Rick Snyder signed a new law intended to repair the loophole in the statute that had been allowing supporters of voter initiatives to extend their signature collecting campaigns beyond the allotted deadline.
But since MILegalize was well into its signature collecting process at the time the update policy hit the books, the group is planning to file an emergency appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, there does not appear to be much hope that the group’s last-ditch effort to earn on spot in the ballot this November will be met with much success. That because city clerks are down to the wire for giving final approval to absentee ballots, which are expected to be sent out sometime by the third week of September.
If MILegalize fails to convince the state’s highest court that it deserves to move forward, Michigan voters will likely be forced to wait until 2018 to determine if the state should bring down the scourge of prohibition.