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Court fight looms over marijuana ballot drive

Jun 7, 2016

Credit Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

The state Elections Bureau says the petition drive to legalize marijuana in Michigan has failed to gather enough signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

The bureau rejected many of the signatures because they were gathered outside a 180-day window for collecting names of registered voters. The bureau’s recommendation will be voted on Thursday by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers.

Fred Woodhams  is spokesman for the elections bureau. He says many of the signatures turned in were gathered outside the 180-day window for collecting names of registered voters.

“Half the signatures were outside that window and could not be counted,” Woodhams said.

The M-I Legalize campaign says those signatures should be counted. Jeff Hank of M-I Legalize says court is the next stop if the signatures are rejected.

“We’re certainly going to fight hard for the rights of every Michigan voter to have a chance in November to vote on this,” Hank said.

Hank says the 180-day requirement is tough to meet, and means only deep-pocketed special interests will be able to run successful petition campaigns.

Governor Rick Snyder also signed a bill to cement the 180-day requirement in state law.