The city of Oak Park, Michigan, is slowing down the approval process for petitions submitted to place marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2014, says the leader of the Safer Michigan Coalition, so they're being sued.
"We filed suit today against the city of Oak Park," said Tim Beck, leader of the Coalition, "and our attorney is none other than Mark Brewer, former Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party." Beck's comments came during an interview on the May 22nd broadcast of the Planet Green Trees Radio Show, which was celebrating their 200th weekly episode.
The two sides will meet in court on Friday, May 30, at 9 am, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Pontiac.
The Oak Park petition team had filed the petitions bearing 1800 citizen signatures on April 27, far enough in advance to place their issue on the August primary ballot, but delays from the city could push that vote back into the general election in November. Oak Park cites a failure to respond to their request for language approval by Michigan's Attorney General, Bill Schuette.
Beck was confident that his group's lawsuit would prevail. "These people will be defeated in court," he said, in reference to attorneys representing the city.
This summer could feature petition drives to relax marijuana laws in as many as twelve or thirteen cities in Michigan, and nearly all of those efforts are related to the Safer Michigan Coalition's work.
"We're always working and we're very excited about August and of course, November and what we're doing."
Also on the PGT's 200th broadcast was Lansing attorney Jeffrey Hank, who leads the effort to legalize marijuana possession for adults 21 and over in the city of East Lansing in 2014. Hank captained a petition drive for legalization during 2013 in the larger city of Lansing and won. Lansing is the state capital; East Lansing is the home of the Big Ten school Michigan State University.
The Safer Michigan Coalition led three successful efforts to legalize marijuana in three cities during 2013. Hank's effort in Lansing was matched in Ferndale and Jackson; in 2012, 5 Michigan cities reformed their marijuana laws, four of them initiated by the Safer Michigan team.
The 2013 Ferndale team returned in 2014, too. After submitting completed petitions in Oak Park and Hazel Park, those petition drive organizers indicated they would target the city of Berkley next. Jackson's 2013 team leaders included Roger Maufort, who is a candidate for Jackson County Commissioner this year, and Steven Sharpe, whose citizen advocacy has helped push two pro-hemp bills through the Michigan House with one unanimous- and one almost-unanimous- floor votes on May 22nd.