Lawsuit dropped

The Let Lansing Vote ballot committee has dropped its lawsuit against the city of Lansing. City officials and officials from the organization confirm the move, which happened Wednesday in the courtroom of Ingham County Circuit Court Judge James Jamo.

“They did,” texted Lansing City Attorney Jim Smiertka in response to an inquiry by Lansing’s Online News last night. “There was no settlement. This was done in open court.”

Jarren Osmar, a spokesman for the group, declined to comment.

Let Lansing Vote circulated petitions that would have placed the approval of a controversial medical marijuana licensing ordinance on the November ballot. But City Clerk Chris Swope refused to certify the petitions, claiming that many of them were invalid because a petition gatherer had put their city as St. Louis, Missouri without a county. St. Louis is not located in any county in Missouri and state election officials said that the petitions from that gatherer should have been valid.

But Swope refused to approve the petitions so the group sued in Ingham County Circuit Court.

Had they been successful, the ordinance, which took over two years to usher through the legislative process, would have been suspended. That in turn would have frozen the issuance of local licensing and impacted potential state licensing decisions.

If voters had supported the measure, it would have resulted in the elimination of the city’s ordinance, and as a result stopped cold the growth of the medical marijuana industry in Lansing. State law requires that before a state license can be issued, applicants must show approval from the local government. In addition, had the measure made the ballot, and been approved, the city would have been prevented from taking up the issue for two years.

Lansing City Councilwoman Patricia Spitzely, who was president of the legislative body last year when the city approved the controversial medical marijuana licensing ordinance, said she was “ecstatic” at the decision by the group to withdraw the suit.

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