CHICAGO, IL – Pillar of Law Institute attorneys filed for summary judgment in the case Ball v. Madigan today in Illinois federal court, asking the court to overturn a state law that prohibits medical cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries from making contributions to candidates for state offices.
“This case is simple: almost any company in Illinois can contribute up to $10,800 to each candidate for any state office during an election,” said Benjamin Barr, Pillar attorney and lead counsel in the case. “Medical marijuana grow operations and dispensaries, however, are completely banned from contributing. It’s baseless censorship.”
The plaintiffs in the case are Claire Ball, a Libertarian candidate who is running for the office of comptroller in the 2016 election and Scott Schluter, a Libertarian candidate who is running for state representative. They are both prohibited under the law from accepting contributions from medical marijuana organizations.
“New political candidates need to be able to fundraise to have effective campaigns,” said Barr. “But Illinois ensures that one set of new voices—those supporting medical marijuana legalization—are denied that right. Under the First Amendment, limiting some from meaningful political participation cannot stand.”
The summary judgment motion argues that before a law may target a specific industry with more burdensome campaign finance regulations, lawmakers must establish a record that shows a legitimate concern with corruption or its appearance from that particular industry. Otherwise, the law violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“There is no legislative record behind the contribution prohibition in the Illinois medical marijuana law,” said Barr. “In fact, after we filed this case the law’s sponsor stated that the restriction was put in the law just to make sure the law passed. That may survive political scrutiny, but it shouldn’t survive constitutional scrutiny.”
The Illinois Attorney General has until June 29 to respond to Pillar’s motion.