Campaign To Legalize Marijuana Takes Hit, Looks to Michigan Supreme Court for Final Say

Rick Pluta/MPRN

Jeffrey Hank

The future is hazy for the campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan. But the group’s leader says the campaign is not yet up in smoke.

A state Court of Claims judge handed the MI Legalize campaign a setback this week. The judge rejected the the group’s request to place the question on the November ballot.

The campaign wants to force state elections officials to count signatures that were collected outside the established 180-day window for gathering signatures.

Now, attorney and MI Legalize chair Jeffrey Hank says the campaign will take its fight to the Michigan Supreme Court.

No one’s disputing that we submitted enough valid signatures,” says Hank. The question is whether the state should count the signatures gathered outside the 180-day window. 

We like to joke that we’d actually be the most popular thing on the ballot this year,” says Hank. “It’s a real grassroots group, no pun intended. We’re going to litigate this as far as we can go.”

Hank says the bill was designed to be a social justice and economic measure that Michigan residents from both parties could get behind.

They put in regulations to address the two biggest concerns around the proposal - driving under the influence and access to minors. But he says the group wants voters to be aware that those problems are already occurring without legalized marijuana.

Our law wasn’t intended to be perfect and solve the world’s problems,” says Hank. “It was intended to move us 95 of the 100 steps forward.”

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above. Rick Pluta, the Michigan Public Radio Network’s state Capitol bureau chief, also joins the program to put the issue in a larger political perspective.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

This post is a part of 2016 Elections: Issues & Candidates.

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