Marijuana laws seem to change in the blink of an eye. Earlier today, Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope announced that the petition for a referendum on Lansing City Council’s September 2017 medical marijuana ordinance did not contain enough valid signatures. We previously outlined the confusing mess of Lansing’s medical marijuana facility licensing status. When we left off, the Lansing City Clerk was in the process of reviewing the signatures for the petition for referendum. The Lansing City Clerk has now finished his review and discovered a number of problems with the signatures, such as signatures by individuals who are not registered to vote in the City of Lansing, and individuals who signed the petition multiple times.
All told, the City Clerk determined that there were only 3,899 valid signatures. Lansing’s City Charter requires the petition to contain signatures by at least 5% of the registered voters of the City. Lansing currently has 80,503 registered voters. This means that the required number of valid signatures for a petition for a referendum is approximately 4,025. So, the referendum fell short by about 126 signatures. The organizers for the referendum have 10 days to submit 126 additional valid signatures for the referendum to move forward.
At this time, Lansing City Council’s September 2017 ordinance regarding medical marijuana facilities is now back in effect. Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope has indicated that his office will begin accepting applications for licenses for all facilities except provisioning centers on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.
Keep in mind that if 126 additional valid signatures for the referendum petition are submitted by October 30, 2017 that the September 2017 ordinance would be suspended again. As of now, Lansing City Council has a public hearing scheduled for October 30, 2017 to discuss revising a 2011 ordinance regarding medical marijuana facilities. Grewal Law PLLC will continue to follow this issue closely and will keep you updated.
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.