Lansing marijuana activists have failed in their efforts to secure a referendum on Lansing City Council’s September 2017 medical marijuana ordinance. The activist group known as “Let Lansing Vote” sought to repeal or secure a city-wide vote on Lansing City Council’s September 2017 ordinance regarding medical marijuana facilities. The September 2017 ordinance was met with criticism from the group in part because it capped the maximum number of provisioning center (dispensary) licenses in the City of Lansing at 25.
Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope previously announced that the referendum petition did not contain enough valid signatures and gave “Let Lansing Vote” 10 days to submit additional signatures. The group submitted additional signatures within 10 days, but they still fell short of the threshold needed for the referendum to move forward.
Lansing’s City Charter requires a referendum petition to contain signatures by at least 5% of the registered voters of the City. The City Clerk indicated that the group needed to submit 4,006 valid signatures to proceed forward with the referendum. Even after considering and reviewing the additional signatures submitted, “Let Lansing Vote” only secured 3,980 signatures—which put them 26 signatures short of the required 5% threshold. Barring a lawsuit for a recount or other action, this officially means that the referendum sought by “Let Lansing Vote” has failed.
Practically speaking, this means that the application process for medical marijuana facilities in Lansing will proceed forward uninterrupted. Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope’s office began accepting applications for licenses for all facilities except provisioning centers on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. and will continue to do so.
For those interested in applying for a provisioning center license in Lansing, Lansing’s ordinance provides for a 30-day window to submit applications to be decided and scored by the Lansing City Clerk, who will then issue a maximum of 20 conditional licenses, which will be conditioned on receiving licensure from the State of Michigan. After the first batch of 20 provisioning center licenses, the City Clerk has the authority to issue an additional 5 provisioning center licenses based on an assessment of Lansing’s needs. The City Clerk’s office has indicated that the 30-day window to apply for provisioning center licenses will “definitely not start” until after the November 7th election.
Grewal Law PLLC will continue to follow this issue and all Michigan medical marijuana issues closely. If you are interested in learning more about Michigan medical marijuana law or in pursuing a license to operate a medical marijuana facility, contact the experienced legal team at Grewal Law PLLC today.
An associate attorney with Grewal Law PLLC in Okemos, Michigan, John Fraser focuses on general litigation, criminal defense, cannabis law, and appellate law. John is also an adjunct professor of law at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School where he teaches a course on Medical Marijuana and the Law.