A federal judge in Chicago has ruled that an Illinois campaign law banning medical marijuana businesses from contributing funds to political interests is a breech of the constitution, according to a report from the Cook County Record.
Last week, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee ruled against an Illinois statute that prevented members of the Libertarian Party from securing campaign finances from the medical marijuana sector during their race for office in 2016. The judge said, “By singling out medical cannabis organizations,” the law “appears to reflect precisely such a content or viewpoint preference.”
In short, the judge found the three and a half year old law violates the right to free speech.
“Surely the First Amendment does not give the government free rein to selectively impose contribution restrictions in a manner that discriminates based on content or viewpoint,” Lee wrote in his opinion.
Rather than impose an all out ban, Lee said the state would have been better suited to toss medical marijuana businesses under a 2009 law limiting political contributions to $5,000 from individuals and $10,000 from the corporate sector.
But, so far, the defendants cannot even support the argument for how the ban is supposed to prevent sleazy elections.
“Defendants have not explained why these broadly applicable contribution limits are insufficient to prevent the risk of corruption in the medical cannabis industry, much less why an outright ban on contributions from industry members is appropriate,” Lee said.
The verdict comes after a court case involving Libertarians Claire Ball and Scott Schluter challenged the law back in 2015 in hopes of securing campaign funds from the medical marijuana industry in the future. The lawsuit claimed the nuts-and-bolts of the campaign law went against the grain of the First Amendment and the right to free speech. Both candidates say they will run for office again, reports the Chicago Sun Times.