In Illinois, Marijuana Businesses (Unlike other Industries) are not Allowed to Make Campaign Contributions
Medical marijuana is now legal in Illinois, but unlike other business owners, those who own dispensaries and grow pot can’t contribute to political campaigns.
This prohibition, which is unique among states that have adopted medical marijuana laws, is being challenged in court by two Libertarian candidates running for office. Claire Ball and Scott Schluter sued (pdf) Attorney General Lisa Madigan and eight members of the Illinois Board of Elections in federal court, claiming the state’s prohibition on medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries from making campaign contributions violates their First Amendment rights. Their rights are infringed, they say, because the ban prevents them from soliciting campaign donations from those who support their policies to decriminalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Accepting campaign contributions from medical cannabis cultivators can result in fines ranging between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the office a candidate is seeking. Ball and Schluter are running for comptroller and state representative, respectively.
Illinois enacted the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program in 2014, legalizing medical marijuana. But the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries didn’t open until this month.
To Learn More:
Pols Seek End to Pot Dispensary Donation Ban (by Jack Bouboushian, Courthouse News Service)
Libertarian Candidates Sue Over Prohibition of Campaign Contributions from Medical Marijuana Industry (by Mark Fitton, Reboot Illinois)
Claire Ball and Scott Schluter v. Lisa M. Madigan, et al (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois) (pdf)
Marijuana Industry Begs to be Taxed (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Only Conservative Republicans Still Oppose Legalizing Marijuana (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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