Let Lansing Vote officials set to battle to get marijuana ordinance on ballot

A court-hearing scheduled for Wednesday may clear the air on if more than two-dozen medical marijuana shops in Lansing will continue operations or be forced to close.

The group Let Lansing Vote is suing city clerk Chris Swope, claiming he threw out valid signatures they needed to put their referendum on an upcoming ballot. This is in an effort to not accept the new medical marijuana ordinances voted on by the city council last September and have the people of Lansing vote on the matter instead.

One of the most critical pieces of the new Lansing marijuana ordinance is a cap of medical marijuana provisioning centers within city limits placed at 25. There are at least 50 or more of these centers in the Lansing area, so if the lawsuit is thrown out the number of pot shops will dramatically decline. Some say this will cause a ripple effect of things like people losing employment, vacant buildings, and black market sales.

The city has said errors were made by people collecting the signatures, forcing them to throw out otherwise valid signatures. This is an argument supporters of the lawsuit say will be proven wrong in court.

“If it’s a legal decision, we will win,” says Jerren Osmar, spokesperson for Let Lansing Vote. “There’s no legal argument for us to be kept off the ballot.”

If Let Lansing Vote wins its lawsuit and eventually is awarded enough valid signatures, it would potentially cause the Lansing city council to freeze or repeal it’s recently passed medical marijuana ordinance, or Lansing voters could  see a medical marijuana ballot question later this year.

All calls to city clerk Chris Swope for comment about Wednesday’s hearing were not returned.

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