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Michigan Court Knocks Legalization Measure Off the Ballot

August 24, 2016
Close-up detail of a signature form with a ballpoint pen
A Michigan effort to put adult-use cannabis legalization on November’s ballot suffered a huge setback Wednesday when the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that MI Legalize, the group behind the legalization effort, failed to submit enough valid signatures to put the measure before voters.

MI Legalize submitted 354,000 signatures — well over the 252,000 required — but the court agreed with a State Board of Canvassers decision from June that declared that “more than 200,000 were collected more than 180 days before the petition was submitted” to the Secretary of State. Under state law, signatures must be gathered within a 180-period.

The MI Legalize lawsuit contended that the 180-day requirement was unconstitutional and unfair. The court disagreed, and granted summary disposition of the case to the defendants — Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Elections Bureau Director Chris Thomas, and the state Board of Canvassers.

This isn’t the end of the road for the campaign. One higher court may hear MI Legalize’s appeal.

“We’re disappointed, but we always figured this would go to the state Supreme Court — and that’s where we’re headed,” MI Legalize chairman Jeff Hank told the Detroit Free Press, adding the group will file an emergency appeal.