In Illinois, Marijuana Businesses (Unlike other Industries) are not Allowed to Make Campaign Contributions

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
(photo: Jimmy Anderson via Getty Images)

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.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


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)

Who’s Funding the Anti-Marijuana Movement? Private Prisons, Prison Guards, Police and Alcohol, Beer and Pharmaceutical Companies (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Marijuana Industry Begs to be Taxed (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Only Conservative Republicans Still Oppose Legalizing Marijuana (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


peoplel123 10 months ago
Why don't you reporters post the truth about illinios medical marijuana program and the law makers who run it they discriminate against health care just like the Nazi You can't discriminate against health if your free and doing right just because you have a record doesn't mean that your garbage and your only human and should be treated that way All business owners who think they are going to make money need to think twice about their investments Idph are denying people who have one of the qualifying conditions are being denied the right to medical treatment they should be worried about their investments Illinois discriminate against health care and fingerprinting should be removed it against human rights all when it time to vote for them the should not get the support of the people Illinois has chance to make millions but with lawmaker who discriminate against health care need to resign Illinois will not make money and any investors should pull out before the lose money and Idph shouldn't be put in charge of approvals we need to change who we pick to speak for us Illinois should fire those who discriminate against health care and the representative who say they care should resign or proved it Illinois is the worst state to help people with heath care When it comes to health care we are all equal rep Lou lang pretends to care for all felons who are free and working hard to stay that way and are in need of heath care we are all equal we can not say that felons with qualifying conditions can't get medical treatment is very wrong in so many ways we need leaders who can do something about it now not in four years or step aside and quit and let better men or women who have are best interest at heart if we let this happen what next they will they you you can't get health because of your color of skin who does that sound like and what is that my question to the lawmakers if you pledge to care for the people as you say you do then stand up and change the fingerprints requirements and show the people that they come first its our constitutional rights and our rights as humans so prove to us that the state of Illinois is a state that is free and not corrupt we the people ask for this change what is this world coming to if we stand here saying who gets treatment or who doesn't so lawmakers please change the your policy you can't let days pass and cont. Showing the people of Illinois and other state that this is what the united states has come to discrimination hatred for fellow humans we are not animals

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