When Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2015, it also banned licensed medical marijuana businesses from making political contributions.
The Liberty Justice Center and the Pillar of Law Institute filed a lawsuit challenging the ban on behalf of two Libertarian Party candidates for office who wanted to solicit donations from those businesses, Claire Ball and Scott Schluter.
In March 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that the ban violated the First Amendment. Judge John Z. Lee concluded that the State failed to justify banning contributions from medical cannabis industry while not banning contributions from any other regulated industry.
“The First Amendment prohibits the government from using campaign finance rules to give some groups a political advantage over others,” said Liberty Justice Center senior attorney Jacob Huebert after the decision was issued. “The Court’s decision rightly applied that rule to strike down Illinois’ unfair, unconstitutional discrimination against certain legal businesses and the candidates they support.”