WUOMFM

marijuana legalization

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state has asked a court to dismiss a legal challenge filed by the campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan.

The MILegalize campaign wants a court to order state elections officials to count petition signatures regardless of how long ago they were collected. The state is defending a rule that says signatures more than 180 days old can’t be counted, unless a campaign goes through the onerous process of making sure each signer is a registered voter.

 

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.

GUEST

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.

Marijuana plants
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A state elections board has rejected petitions filed by the campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan. The action by the Board of State Canvassers tees up a court battle over time limits for petition drives to gather signatures.

  

Thomas Lavigne is an attorney with MI Legalize. He says a requirement that petition campaigns collect signatures within a 180-day period violates the state constitution. He says the framers did not envision this sort of barrier.

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.


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.

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.”

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

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. 

flickr user Eljoja / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

There could be a legal showdown looming between state elections officials and the ballot campaign to legalize marijuana.

The MI Legalize campaign wants the state to count signatures that are more than 180 days old. Right now, those signatures are presumed to be outdated and invalid unless the campaign can prove the signer is still a registered voter. But that’s very hard to do without access to the state’s electronic voter database. It requires getting an affidavit from every voter, or looking at records kept by local clerks.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new poll suggests a majority of Michigan voters would support the legalization and taxation of marijuana. 

The poll was commissioned by Michigan NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana.  It was the fourth poll performed by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA on legalizing marijuana in Michigan. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are pushing to require that all signatures for a statewide ballot initiative be collected within a six-month period.

  The move could stymie pro-marijuana and anti-fracking activists from potentially receiving more time thanks to improved technology.

  Legislation approved along party lines by the Republican-controlled Senate would mandate that a voter signature for a constitutional amendment or initiated bill not count if it's written more than 180 days before the petition is filed. The bill is pending in the House.

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The MILegalize Board of Directors announced today that their campaign has collected over 240,000 signatures to legalize cannabis in Michigan. In order to qualify for the November 2016 general election ballot, the petition hopes to collect another 50,000 to comfortably reach the 252,000 required valid signatures.  

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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 http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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.”

USFWS

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
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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.

This political cartoon was printed in 1812 in reaction to the newly drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts Legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry.
Elkanah Tisdale / Boston Centinel, 1812

Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants conducted a poll of 600 likely voters from Aug. 4-8 about how they felt financially, possible changes in redistricting, and the potential legalization of recreational marijuana.

In terms of those saying they're better off, Jeff Williams, CEO of Public Sector Consultants says things look relatively "rosy" for Michigan. More than half say they're "about the same," and around a quarter of them say they're "better off."

A button promoting marijuana legalization.
Danny Birchall / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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.

marijuana
flickr user Dank Depot / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

marijuana bud
Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Attorneys specializing in marijuana law now have their own division within the State Bar of Michigan.

The state Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals have had to rule on several cannabis issues since voters approved medical marijuana in 2008.

The chair of the new division says it will make it easier to attorneys to keep track of Michigan’s complex and ever-evolving medical marijuana law. 

Jake Neher / MPRN

The race is on to legalize marijuana in Michigan in 2016.

At least three groups are working to put the question in front of voters. But money will play a big role in deciding which of those groups actually makes the ballot.

Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

A campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan started collecting signatures on Thursday at a rally in front of the state Capitol.

Organizers with the group MILegalize admit it will be a challenge to raise the money needed to collect enough signatures. But they’re optimistic.

Marijuana citations going unpaid in Grand Rapids

Jun 22, 2015
Marijuana plant.
user Coleen Whitfield / flickr

The city of Grand Rapids has failed to collect more than $100,000 in fines for marijuana use over the past three years.

In 2012, the city voted to decriminalize the drug. This made possession and use of marijuana a civil infraction, akin to being charged with a speeding ticket or traffic violation.

Yet while collection rates for most civil infractions are high, marijuana tickets are often ignored.

Marijuana plant.
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 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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.

Pages