Whistleblower Says Bill Barr Targeted Cannabis Industry for Antitrust Probes

A Department of Justice whistleblower is expected to testify today that U.S. Attorney General William Barr targeted cannabis companies with antitrust investigations because of his own personal animus toward the drug.

A copy of the testimony — which paints an unsettling picture of a highly politicized Justice Department — claims marijuana businesses accounted for 29% of the Antitrust Division’s merger investigations. 

“Regardless of whether these companies are complying with the Controlled Substances Act, the investigations I will describe are not investigations of potential violations of federal drug law,” John Elias, acting chief of staff for the assistant attorney general, will say. “An appropriations rider restricts the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana usage in states that have legalized it.”

“Personal dislike of the industry is not a proper basis upon which to ground an antitrust investigation,” Elias will add.

One of the investigations Elias will cite is the MedMen-PharmaCann merger probe that ended last year. The merger was delayed because of the probe and MedMen's stock price took a nose dive.

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