Court removes marijuana question from ballot due to "technical issues"
Up until two days ago, Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Joseph believed voters would have the opportunity on Nov. 2 to decide if the city would allow more recreational marijuana dispensaries to open.
An anonymous group called "3 Is Enough" disputed the ballot language and took that fight to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Joesph received word Monday that voters won't have their say, after all.
"I'm not sure how I felt about the ballot measure," Joseph said. "But I guess I'm frustrated that there's not going to be a vote."
The Court of Appeals ordered Mount Pleasant City Clerk Heather Bouck to decertify a petition presented by "Safer Mount Pleasant" that called for an increase in the number of marijuana facilities from three to 10. The group certified the ballot language with Bouck on Aug 10.
Three days later, a complaint was filed by "3 Is Enough" - a group formed to oppose the petition. The group claimed the petition was not valid because it "did not meet requirements" – the petition did not include the congressional district of the voters who signed it and was missing a required statement ("Circulator - Do not sign or date certificate until after circulating the petition.").
On Aug. 31, Isabella County Trial Court Judge Mark Duthie rejected "3 Is Enough's" request to decertify the petition on the grounds that the request was made too close to the date the ballot had to be finalized. That Friday, Duthie denied a request by "3 Is Enough's" attorneys to revisit his decision, which they appealed.
The appeals court overturned Duthie's ruling Monday.
In her defense, Bouck countered that she only had to reject the petition if it did not have the required number of signatures. The court of appeals, however, ruled that she also was required to ensure the ballot language was valid.
The ordinance to limit the number of marijuana businesses in Mount Pleasant to three was passed in 2019. Applications were reviewed by an ad hoc committee of city officials who made recommendations to the commission on which businesses to approve. Two licenses went to Michigan-based Lume Cannabis Co., a marijuana retailer with 15 locations statewide. Lume has not yet opened any stores in Mount Pleasant.
The other license was awarded to House of Fire. It opened Jars Cannabis in January.