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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Candidates Call Ban On Pot Contributions 'Bizarre,' Sue State


A pair of Libertarian political candidates are suing the state of Illinois. The state's medical marijuana law prohibits campaign donations from companies that grow or dispense cannabis.

Benjamin Barr is a lawyer with the Pillar of Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He says he filed the lawsuit because his clients favor legalization of drugs and should be able to seek support from like-minded businesses.

"They're third parties. They have new ideas. They're disrupting the status quo. And what's most important to them right now? To be able to associate and to be able to get funding, so that they're able to speak to people in Illinois, and they're able to share their message," Barr said.

Barr says it's "bizarre" Illinois excluded just one industry from political participation, especially when drug makers and tobacco companies are free to give.

The sponsor of the medical marijuana law was Democratic Representative Lou Lang of Skokie. He says he only included the ban to win support from reluctant colleagues and would rather it was not a part of the law.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office, which usually defends state laws in court, would only say it's reviewing the case.

The Libertarian candidates who brought the lawsuit are Claire Ball of Addison, who says she's running for comptroller, and Scott Schluter of Marion, who says he's running for state representative.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.