AG Barr’s ‘personal dislike’ of marijuana inspired ‘improper’ cannabis antitrust investigations: DOJ whistleblower

AG Barr’s ‘personal dislike’ of marijuana inspired ‘improper’ cannabis antitrust investigations: DOJ whistleblower
Image via Screengrab.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has made it abundantly clear that he opposes the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. And CNN reports that John Elias, a Department of Justice whistleblower, is expected to testify, on June 24, that Barr “improperly went after cannabis suppliers because of his personal feelings about the industry.”


Elias, a career DOJ employee, is — according to CNN’s Caroline Kelly— expected to discuss “Barr’s perceived motivations behind” the DOJ’s “multiple investigations into mergers in the cannabis industry.”

Elias has alleged, “Rejecting the analysis of career staff, Attorney General Barr ordered the (DOJ’s) antitrust division to issue second request subpoenas. The rationale for doing so centered not on an antitrust analysis, but because he did not like the nature of their underlying business.”

According to Kelly, “Elias also suggests that multiple people in the (antitrust) division were aware of Barr’s anti-cannabis inclinations — and that in many cases, the mergers were documented by department staff as appearing ‘unlikely to raise significant competitive concerns.’”

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

Barr has made no secret of his anti-marijuana views. In April 2019, the U.S. attorney general testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee and asserted, “Personally, I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana. But if there is not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can, you know, make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law — so (that) we’re not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law.”

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Happy Holidays!