It appears that Michigan voters may have just lost their opportunity to decide whether the state should legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Reports indicate that a proposed ballot measure supported by MILegalize has been rejected by election officials because more than a hundred thousand signatures were collected well past the 180-day window allotted for these types of campaigns.
Although MILegalize turned in nearly 350,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office last week, Governor Rick Snyder recently signed a bill clarifying an old law that requires ballot measures to secure the necessary signatures within 180-days.
For MILegalize, that window closed in December 2015.
Organizers say the Bureau of Election’s decision to dismiss the initiative came as no surprise, but they plan to challenge it in court in hopes of being granted permission to move on to the next phase of their campaign.
“The Bureau gave the expected response- but the speed of the decision really creates an advantage for us,” said Jeff Hank, chairman for MILegalize. “The Board meets on Thursday, and the Staff Report is on their agenda for that meeting. This gives MILegalize the greatest amount of time to litigate before the ballot deadline. The process could have stretched out through the summer.”
Regardless of this setback for the most promising effort to end prohibition throughout the state of Michigan in 2016, supporters say they feel confident that the campaign will be back on track very soon.
“Michigan citizens should have the opportunity to vote for the MILegalize proposal in November,” said Hank. “Rest assured MILegalize is prepared for these challenges and will fight for the rights of every Michigan voter… We will prevail,” he concluded.