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Pot proposal group takes case to Michigan Supreme Court

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — A group proposing to legalize recreational marijuana is asking the Michigan Supreme Court for last-minute help getting on the Nov. 8 ballot.

MI Legalize on Friday filed a motion for immediate consideration with the state’s highest court, requesting an expedited order for a full canvass of the estimated 354,000 voter signatures it submitted to the state, including at least 138,000 assumed to be invalid because they were collected outside of a 180-day period.

Attorneys for the ballot committee argue the state’s 1986 policy for proving the validity of older signatures was “legally, logistically, and financially impossible to comply with.” They’re asking the Michigan Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional.

The Board of State Canvassers did not approve a requested policy update and later concluded the group did not collect the 252,523 valid signatures required to make the ballot.

Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borello last week dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by MI Legalize. The group intends to appeal that decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals but is asking the state Supreme Court to step in now.

MI Legalize faces steep odds to make the November ballot, including a crunched timeline. The Michigan Constitution gives the Legislature 40 days to review citizen initiated legislation like the marijuana proposal, but ballot language is typically finalized by Sept. 9, and the state is required to send out absentee ballots by Sept. 24.

Declaring the MI Legalize petition insufficient without considering the validity of its older signatures “is false and unfair and unlawful, and imperils the very essence of our cherished constitutional system of self-governance,” attorneys wrote.


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