Five floors up: The Tipline for 24 June 2020

A DOJ attorney plans to testify today that the agency conducted in-depth investigations into 10 cannabis mergers because of the attorney general’s “personal dislike of the industry”. In his prepared remarks to the House Judiciary Committee, John Elias said political leadership at the agency continuously overruled recommendations from career staff that these mergers appeared unlikely to raise competitive concerns. According to Elias, assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim acknowledged these probes “were motivated by the fact that the cannabis industry is unpopular ‘on the fifth floor’” – allegedly a reference to Attorney General William Barr. In response, the DOJ says Elias has not presented any evidence to support his allegations and that the agency’s office of professional responsibility “determined that the Division acted reasonably and appropriately” in investigating the marijuana industry.

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