Federal Court Rejects Ohio Marijuana Activists’ Challenge Over 2020 Decriminalization Initiatives

MJ moment

A federal court on Wednesday ruled that a lawsuit from Ohio marijuana activists concerning proposed decriminalization measures they wanted to place on local 2020 ballots across the state could not proceed despite their repeated attempts to seek petitioning relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. The case before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit proved unsuccessful, with judges deciding that the challenge was no longer relevant because last year’s election has passed and the case was therefore moot. “Without a time machine, we cannot go back and place plaintiffs’ initiatives on the 2020 ballot,” the panel said, referring to the 2020 lawsuit from the Sensible Movement Coalition (SMC) that sought to force officials to allow electronic signature gathering and make other changes to rules to accommodate the decriminalization campaigns in the early part of the pandemic. A federal judge did rule in the group’s favor last year, but the appellate court subsequently shot it down. The U.S. Supreme Court also declined to take up the case following an appeal. Because SMC’s complaint was directly connected with the 2020 election, the appellate judges said the plaintiffs can’t “get any of the relief they asked for.” “We need not restate the facts at length,” they said. “The short of it is this: Plaintiffs are three Ohio voters. They regularly circulate petitions to get initiatives on local and statewide ballots. For the 2020 election cycle, plaintiffs hoped to place initiatives on municipal ballots to decriminalize marijuana.” “Plaintiffs sought specific relief. They challenged Ohio’s ballot-access laws as applied to the unique circumstances existing during the 2020 election,” the judges wrote. “But because of intervening events—the passing of the election and the rescission of Ohio’s stay-at-home orders and emergency declaration—we cannot give plaintiffs what they ask for.” SMC has pushed back against the…

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Source : Federal Court Rejects Ohio Marijuana Activists’ Challenge Over 2020 Decriminalization Initiatives

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