Marijuana Legalization Vote Burned by MI Supreme Court
The Michigan Supreme Court has decided against hearing arguments from MILegalize in regards to their invalidated marijuana legalization ballot initiative. So the big question is -- what happens now?
For a minute there, it was looking like Michigan had a very good shot at becoming the next state to legalize recreational marijuana. That was until Michigan lawmakers decided to fast-track a new law that was put on the books for the sole purpose of killing our chances to vote on legal weed and anti-fracking this November. Now, both ballot initiatives appear to be high and dry.
Once the bill was signed into law, it put a hard and fast time frame on the collection of signatures for a ballot initiative. There was always a time-frame on this, but there was a process to refresh older signatures that was eliminated under the new law, one that rendered both the anti-fracking and recreational marijuana ballot initiatives useless. MILegalize vowed to appeal their case to the Michigan Supreme Court, which they tried to do, and, sadly, failed.
Wednesday afternoon (9/7/17), the Michigan Supreme Court officially denied the appeal, saying that it would not hear arguments on the matter. This is technically not the last legal recourse that can be taken by MILegalize, as they are now considering an appeal via the U.S. Supreme Court, but as long-time marijuana opponent, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette implied in response to the ruling -- there is likely not enough time to re-validate the signatures before the November election anyway. He's probably not wrong there, no matter what SCOTUS says.
The new law that invalidated the signatures was passed after they had been turned in, which seems borderline unconstitutional. Imagine that you followed the letter of the law on a ballot initiative, submitted it, and then they changed the rules. If they can change the rules in their favor in the fourth quarter, how will you ever win? Spoiler Alert -- you won't.
Rick Snyder said the new law was signed to "ensure the issues that make the ballot are the ones that matter most to Michiganders." Isn't 53% considered "most of" anymore? Because that's the percentage of Michiganders support that support legalization. I suppose they're just too busy working on things that matter in Lansing. You know, like not fixing the Flint water crisis, or making sure that people can bring their dogs on restaurant patios. For real -- that dog thing is a 100% real bill that just passed the Michigan Senate 32-4. I can see the commercials now:
"Michigan Lawmakers... Legislation that Matters.... Dogs at Restaurants... Pure Michigan."