Michigan Marijuana Legalization Vote U.S. Supreme Court Filing In The Works


A U.S. Supreme Court filing is in the works by MI Legalize, the group attempting to bring a vote on recreational marijuana use in Michigan, according to an attorney representing the group.

Jeffrey Hank said the group plans to file a request for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case either today or next Monday.

“It’s in the works but cannot be rushed,” Hank said by email Thursday. “The Supreme Court has real arcane rules for how a petition for certiorari has to be formatted.”

The group, which was attempting to place a ballot question on Michigan’s November general election, said they plan to take their argument – that the 345,000 petition signatures the group turned in this year are valid – to the highest court.

“…we have enough valid signatures, and we simply want them counted, and if found to be sufficient – which they should be, then place the initiative on the ballot,” Hank said. “The courts totally ignored that we proved the signatures were not stale using the state’s own database, the qualified voter file, and also totally ignored that the 1986 board of canvassers policy is impossible to comply with.”

The group is wants voters to decide if recreational marijuana use in Michigan should be legal for those age 21 and older.

Hank gave MLive documents he said he obtained by Freedom of Information Act Request that show communications between some Michigan county clerks and the Michigan Bureau of Elections. The documents include advice from the state telling clerks that they are neither obligated nor prohibited from verifying each petition signature with records of registered voters.

“The state is saying we have to comply with it, yet at the same time telling clerks they don’t have to help us comply?” Hank said. “An impossible to comply with policy cannot fairly be the basis for denying the first amendment and other rights of Michigan voters and keeping the question off the ballot.”

“How’s that for fairness or justice?” he said, adding, “It’s frustrating because people think we did something wrong when we didn’t.

MI Legalize turned in 354,000 signatures, more than the 252,523 valid signatures required, but the Board of State Canvassers determined that not enough of those signatures were valid because some were collected outside of a 180-day signature window.

Wanting to avoid the difficult process in place of validating signatures through county clerks, organizers unsuccessfully attempted to get the Board of State Canvassers to establish an easier method of validating old signatures.

After MI Legalize turned in its signatures, the legislature changed Michigan law to limit the signature collection period to a strict 180 days. MI Legalize filed a lawsuit against the state shortly after, claiming the signatures should be counted.

Michigan’s Court of Claims ruled the state had no obligation to accept the signatures, prompting appeals in the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court.

Both courts declined this week to hear arguments in the case.

Attorney General Bill Schuette represents the state in the case. In a response to MI Legalize’s recent Court of Appeals filing this week, Schuette said MI Legalize’s arguments are “moot,” since, even if they could use all their signatures, there is not enough time before the Nov. 8 general election to challenge the validity of the signatures.

The court filings are came up against a deadline for changes to be made to ballots, which are being printed this week.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Michigan Marijuana Legalization Vote U.S. Supreme Court Filing In The Works
Author: Brad Devereaux
Contact: MLive
Photo Credit: Samantha Madar
Website: MLive