Marijuana plants.
user A7nubis / flickr -

LANSING, Mich. - Marijuana won't be on Michigan's statewide ballot in November.

The state appeals court and the Michigan Supreme Court each turned down appeals Wednesday by a group trying to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

A group called the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee submitted 354,000 signatures, apparently enough to get marijuana on the ballot. But the Board of State Canvassers said more than 200,000 were collected outside a 180-day period, a decision that left the group short of enough names.

Marijuana plants.
user A7nubis / flickr -

If it has roots and leaves, in Michigan, it’s a plant. That’s the legal definition now that the Michigan Court of Appeals has made a ruling in a medical marijuana case.


Lorenzo Ventura was challenging charges that he exceeded the number of plants he was legally allowed under Michigan’s medical marijuana law. He was convicted and sentenced to two years of probation and 120 hours of community service.


The law adopted eight years by voters ago does not provide a definition. The dictionary did not offer any guidance in this instance.


The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason uses bumper stickers to spread their message.
First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason / Facebook

The First Amendment guarantees us the freedom to practice whatever religion we choose.

For Jeremy Hall, that religion centers around cannabis. 

Hall is a marijuana caregiver and an ordained minister. He's also the founder of a new church in South Lansing.

It's The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason.


A group of medical marijuana patients has filed a class-action lawsuit against Michigan State Police crime labs and Oakland County.

The lawsuit filed earlier this week says crime labs are testing marijuana in oil and edible form then reporting it as synthetic, even if it isn't.

Defense attorney Michael Komorn says this practice has resulted in the wrongful arrest and detention of people who should have only been charged with misdemeanors.

A pro-marijuana group is going to cA pro-marijuana group is going to court to get a question onto the November ballot.ourt in order to get a petition onto the November ballot.
Flickr user Global Panorama / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0


MI Legalize, a group trying to legalize marijuana in the state, is making the court its battleground. The group is hoping to get the question of marijuana legalization on the November ballot.

A state elections board shut down the group's petition, because it failed to get the signatures within the 180-day limit. Now the group is suing to get its question on the ballot.

Jeff Hank, executive director and general counsel of MI Legalize, joined us to discuss his group’s litigation.


Marijuana plant.

The campaign trying to legalize marijuana in Michigan has filed a lawsuit challenging the state's six-month time limit to gather petition signatures.

The MI Legalize drive is still trying to either get the Legislature to adopt a law or place the question on the November ballot after its petitions were rejected by a state elections board last week because too many signatures were too old under the 180-day rule. 

M-I Legalize attorney Jeff Hank says what the state’s doing is not allowed.

The group that’s trying to legalize marijuana in Michigan is telling the state: See you in court.

And the outcome of the challenge could have a huge impact on politics, law-making, and future elections in Michigan.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry discusses legislation to bail out Detroit Public Schools, a grassroots campaign to legalize marijuana, and takeaways from last week's Mackinac Policy Conference.

Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Supporters of legalizing marijuana in Michigan dropped off more than 350,000 petition signatures at the Secretary of State’s office today. That would be enough to put the issue on the November ballot.  

But there is a question whether the signatures were gathered within the time allowed.

“Michigan law allows you to petition beyond 180 days,” says Jeffery Hank, executive director of MI Legalize. “The current law just deals with how do you verify those signatures that are beyond 180 days.  We believe we have done everything we could to try to do that.”

flickr user Heath Alseike /

How high is too high to drive in Michigan?

With more and more physicians prescribing medical marijuana for chronic pain and other conditions, it's a question that needs to be answered.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The future is cloudy for groups fighting to get those marijuana and anti-fracking proposals on the November ballot in Michigan.

The House last week gave final approval to Senate Bill 776, which sets a strict 180-day window for groups to collect signatures on ballot initiatives and constitutional amendment petitions. 

Marijuana plant.

2016 could bring major changes to the way Michigan treats marijuana.

There are three campaigns hoping to put legalization of recreational marijuana on the November ballot. Two of those groups – who appear to be raising significant money and have been collecting signatures for months – would tax and regulate marijuana for personal use for people 21 and older.

Marijuana plant.

Michigan election officials have approved the format of a petition for a third marijuana-related ballot initiative.

The initiative would amend the Michigan Constitution to legalize cannabis for personal, recreational, commercial, agricultural and other uses. The definition of use includes growing, manufacturing, delivery, and consumption.

"What we are calling for is full repeal of cannabis prohibition across the state," said Timothy Locke, lead organizer of the petition effort for Abrogate Prohibition Michigan.

Troy Holden / flickr

The Michigan Supreme Court has let stand an amendment to the Grand Rapids city charter that decriminalizes marijuana.

The amendment was approved by Grand Rapids voters in 2012. It makes possession of or sharing marijuana a civil infraction punishable by fines ranging from $25 to $100 with no jail time.

It also makes marijuana cases a low police priority, and forbids city law enforcement officials from referring marijuana cases to the Kent County prosecutor’s office.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Later today, the Board of State Canvassers will consider changing a rule that would give more time to a marijuana legalization petition.

Jeff Hank leads the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee. He wants the Board of Canvassers to ease a 180-day limit for petition signatures.

“We want to make sure we submit accurate, not fraudulent … signatures,” says Hank, “and in order to do that, we’re going to need a little bit more time.”

 There’s been lots of debate over the past few days about the political wisdom of going ahead in Michigan with a couple of ballot campaigns after similar efforts suffered big defeats last week in Houston and Ohio.

OH to MI? Apples to oranges


Ohio voters resoundingly rejected a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana on Tuesday.  But that’s not deterring a similar campaign in Michigan.

Failure of the proposed constitutional amendment follows an expensive campaign, a legal fight over its ballot wording, and an investigation into the proposal's petition signatures.

Marijuana plant.

Regular marijuana use is increasing nationwide, and in Michigan, more people are going to jail for it.

Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2008. Proposals for the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana have been voted on in 21 Michigan cities since 2011, with 15 communities approving them.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More and more college students are using marijuana on a daily basis.

The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future program has been studying the drug habits of college students for 35 years. 

Its latest report finds nearly 6% of college students use marijuana daily. That’s the highest percentage since 1980. Rates of frequent marijuana use are also higher. 

A button promoting marijuana legalization.
Danny Birchall / Flickr -

Everything you ever wanted to know about marijuana in Michigan was discussed this week on Stateside.

From the politics - to the business - to the potential downsides.

We sat down with reporters, business owners, and law enforcement to learn more about the topic.

Here's a quick rundown of what we covered:

flickr user bobdoran /

We’ve reviewed the movements pushing for marijuana legalization in Michigan, we’ve taken a look at how legal pot has treated Colorado, and we’ve heard the viewpoint of a medical marijuana caregiver in Ann Arbor.

Today, we get the law enforcement perspective.

flickr user Dank Depot /

More than 50% of Michigan voters say in recent polls that they support marijuana legalization.

Two groups hope to put legalization proposals on the November 2016 ballot.

flickr user Eljoja /

When it comes to the issue of marijuana – to legalize or not to legalize – Michigan seems to be about where Colorado was not too long ago.

Colorado had over a decade to experiment with medical marijuana before legalizing its recreational use in November 2012, which Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus tells us gave the state ample opportunity to figure out how marijuana can fit into the political and business landscape.

“Medical marijuana was huge. The state then decided, hey, we need to regulate this thing,” he says.

Marijuana plants.
user A7nubis / flickr -

Getting high in Michigan has certainly changed over the past few years.

Voters legalized marijuana for medical purposes in Michigan in 2008. Soon, it could be legal just for fun.

A number of groups seeking to legalize cannabis in Michigan are working to put ballot proposals on the 2016 ballot.

Michigan drivers have become all too familiar with the dreaded pothole.
flickr user Michael Gil /

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss another road funding plan, proposed changes for medical marijuana cardholders, and body cameras.

Marijuana plant.

State lawmakers are considering taxing and tracking medical marijuana in Michigan.

Bill sponsors are expected to tack those and other changes onto bills that would create new protections for dispensaries and patients who use non-smokable forms of cannabis.

A state House panel on Tuesday also took up a new bill that would track cannabis from seed to sale.

Michigan voters may see marijuana on the ballot in 2016
user Coleen Whitfield / flickr

Two Michigan groups hoping to legalize marijuana in Michigan can begin collecting signatures to put the question on the 2016 ballot after a state elections board signed off on the groups' petition language.

flickr user bobdoran /

A couple of groups hoping to legalize marijuana in 2016 have a green light to move forward.

A state elections board signed off on each group’s petition language Thursday. They can now begin collecting signatures.

Legally grown marijuana in Colorado.
Brett Levin /

As state lawmakers search for ways to come up with the money needed to fix Michigan’s battered and bumpy roads, one state representative tossed out this idea: Legalize and tax marijuana, and then put that new revenue to work.

State Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, joins us today to talk about this idea.