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MI Legalize challenges 180-day signature rule

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2008.

The campaign trying to legalize marijuana in Michigan has filed a lawsuit challenging the state's six-month time limit to gather petition signatures.

The MI Legalize drive is still trying to either get the Legislature to adopt a law or place the question on the November ballot after its petitions were rejected by a state elections board last week because too many signatures were too old under the 180-day rule. 

M-I Legalize attorney Jeff Hank says what the state’s doing is not allowed.

“There are clear violations of the First Amendment,” he said. “There are clear violations of Michigan’s constitution.”

The lawsuit says, under the state constitution, the time limit for collecting signatures is the four-year period between gubernatorial elections.

The 180-rule for collecting petition signatures has been in place since the 1980s. But Governor Rick Snyder also signed a law last week to make clear that signatures more than six months old won’t be counted. The legal action also challenges that law.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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