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No Marijuana Measure on November Ballot—Federal Judge Rejects Bid to Halt Michigan Election Process

Cannabis Law Blog

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No Marijuana Measure on November Ballot—Federal Judge Rejects Bid to Halt Michigan Election Process

As we reported last week, two signers of MI Legalize’s petitions filed suit in federal court asking for a temporary restraining order to halt the printing of ballots without including the MI Legalize adult use marijuana measure in the November 2016 election. On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker, a recent appointee of President Obama, held a hearing and denied their motion in a two-sentence order. News media are reporting that during the hearing, Judge Parker focused much of her attention on the petition signers delaying bringing the suit until literally the day before ballots went to the printer. 

With the rejection of this motion, it is finally indisputable what most dispassionate observers saw as certain some time ago—there will be no adult use measure on this year’s ballot  (in fact, there will be no statewide ballot measures at all on the 2016 ballot). The next steps in the MI Legalize fight for the ballot now appear to consist of a Hail Mary attempt at the U.S. Supreme Court and continued litigation in Judge Parker’s court that could conceivably lead to placement on the 2018 ballot. But that effort must be regarded as an extremely long shot and, ironically, by waiting to file suit until the Michigan courts had rejected all of MI Legalize’s claims, the Plaintiffs in the case have given the State a basis to argue that only the U.S. Supreme Court, and not Judge Parker, has any possible jurisdiction to hear what amounts to an attempt to relitigate and challenge the state court decisions. Most likely, the next step before Judge Parker will be a hearing on a motion to dismiss the case in its entirety.

Check back in with the Cannabis Law Blog for more coverage of the MI Legalize story and other developments in cannabis law in Michigan and elsewhere.