The efforts of Michigan activist group MILegalize seem to have finally come to an end as the Supreme Court has decided not to hear their case – pretty much ensuring that residents will not get the chance to vote on an initiative that would have allowed the use of marijuana by adults 21 and older. The group has been working tirelessly since last fall in hopes of getting their initiative on the ballot – and now they will have to start all over before the next election if they still want to give voters that opportunity.
When MILegalize started to collect signatures, they did so knowing that not all of their signatures would be collected within the designated 180 day window – however a loophole in the old legislature would have allowed them to verify “stale” signatures, provided that voters were still registered to the same place. Unfortunately, a bill passed earlier this year makes that 180 day window much more strict – and that caused them to lose well over half of their collected signatures.
Out of the 354,000 that were submitted, at least 252,000 would have been required for them to get the initiative on the ballot – and around 200,000 of them were deemed invalid for not complying with the 180 day signature gathering period. This automatically disqualified them – but the group’s attorney headed straight to the Michigan Court of Claims, who said that they had no legal obligation to accept the stale signatures. Then Hank filed with the Court of Appeals, who also sided against them – and finally the Supreme Court, who has decided not to hear the case at all.
“The application for leave to appeal is considered, and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court,” an order bearing the names of the seven Supreme Court justices issued on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 7, reads.
It’s unfortunate to see that after all the time put in, Michigan will still not get the chance to join multiple other states voting on recreational marijuana – however, this may just be a driving force to come back in full swing before the next election. Even though they did not collect enough signatures within the time frame, they still got enough – meaning there is clearly the right amount of support to get the issue on the ballot. They will just need a better strategy to ensure signatures are collected within that short 180 days the next time around.