Judge: MMJ businesses can donate to Illinois political causes

A federal judge struck down an Illinois law barring medical marijuana businesses and canna-centric political action committees from donating to political campaigns, a decision that could give the state’s MJ industry a bigger say in local elections.

U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee ruled Friday that a state law preventing MMJ businesses from donating to Illinois political action committees and candidates is unconstitutional, saying it violates First Amendment free speech rights, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

In his decision, Judge Lee said MMJ companies have as much right as any other business to make political contributions, according to The News-Gazette of Champaign, Illinois.

The judge struck down a 3½-year-old law passed by the Illinois General Assembly on the same day the state approved medical marijuana, according to the Sun-Times.

Two Libertarian candidates challenged the ban on political donations in 2015. They told the court they supported medical cannabis and were seeking financial help for their campaigns from licensed MMJ businesses.