The Michigan Court of Claims has ruled against MI Legalize in their bid to get a marijuana-legalization question on the ballot, the Detroit Free Press reports. The court agreed with the State Board of Canvassers that more than 200,000 petition signatures were collected outside of the 180-day window — a violation of state law.
The group argued that the 180-day requirement was unconstitutional, unfair and that the 200,000 signatures were valid. Jeff Hank, a Lansing-based lawyer and chairman of MI Legalize, plans an emergency appeal of the ruling. If the appeal fails, he plans on filing an appeal on First Amendment constitutional grounds in the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We’re disappointed but we always figured this would go to the state Supreme Court — and that’s where we’re headed,” he said in the report.
However, some advocates, along with state election law experts, believe this is the end of the line for the measure in 2016. The “stale” ballot rule is decades old and Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed a bill codifying the 180-day window in June.
“These were very well-intentioned people, good-hearted but very naive — they really needed much more money and much sooner to pull this off,” activist Tim Beck said.
If all forms of appeal fail, the earliest another measure could be put to voters is 2018.