Oct. 20 2017 08:30 AM

New Lansing ordinance in effect after clerk rules against petition

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FRIDAY, Oct. 20 — Lansing’s new medical marijuana ordinance has taken effect after City Clerk Chris Swope ruled against a petition drive to put it on the ballot.

Swope found too few valid signatures were turned in by opponents of the new ordinance, which caps dispensaries in the city at 25. A survey by City Pulse last spring found about 60 dispensaries. The effective date was delayed until Swope could determine if the petition had enough valid signatures.

"Many of the signatures were found invalid for various reasons,” a press release said. “including: out-of-state circulators who failed to complete the circulator certificates correctly, individual signers who are not registered to vote in the City, individual signers who listed addresses outside of the City of Lansing, and voters who signed the petition multiple times.”

“Since the submitted petitions did not contain a sufficient number of valid signatures, the new Ordinance is now in effect per the City Charter,” said the release. “Therefore, applications for Safety Compliance, Processor Facility, Secure Transporter, and Grower Facility licenses will be accepted on Tuesday, October 24 and a draft copy of the scoring criteria for selecting provisioning centers will be available next week for public feedback. The Provisioning Center application acceptance period will not be set until the scoring criteria are finalized to ensure a fair process for each applicant.”

Swope said the petition had 3,899 valid signatures. The City Charter requires valid signatures equal of 5 percent of the number of registered voters, which totals 80,503, 5 percent of which is 4,025.

“I look forward to moving this process forward,” Swope said. “For the medical marijuana licenses that do not have to be scored, we can move quickly to reduce possible disruption in access and create jobs in the City. For the provisioning centers, we want to be quick, but more importantly, we want to get it right.”

Advocates have 10 additional days to file additional signatures, the release said.

“We collected over 6500 signatures in less than 12 days,” said Sarah Galey, spokesperson for Let Lansing Vote, the group behind the ballot initiative. “We are confident we will have the additional signatures needed within the ten day window. We will also be reviewing the previously submitted petitions.”

It also said that the City Attorney’s Office found that the petition’s language could be determined “improper” but that Swope “concluded that those legal concerns were not a compelling enough reason for him to disqualify the petition."