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Was Barr’s Marijuana Antitrust Investigation Really Illegal?

Last month, U.S. Attorney General William Barr came under fire after a U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) whistleblower revealed that he directed investigations into ten proposed marijuana industry mergers. In the weeks since, dozens of House members have introduced a resolution calling for a possible impeachment inquiry into Barr as he “abused the power of his office” to improperly investigate marijuana businesses and allegedly engaged in other unlawful conduct. The operative word here is “improperly.”

Antitrust laws are designed to protect trade and commerce from abusive practices, such as price-fixing, restraints, price discrimination, and monopolization. The principal federal antitrust laws have been in place for a long time, particularly the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, passed and later amended since the 1890s. The key issue now is whether Barr’s investigations into alleged antitrust violations truly represent an abuse of power and warrant impeachment – or is that an overreaction?

Marijuana is unequivocally a Schedule I, controlled substance and illegal under federal law. In our highly politicized world, and with a Presidential election looming in November, every action of every official in the Trump Administration will be thoroughly scrutinized – if not sensationalized. Various federal agencies and departments falling under the purview of the Executive Branch have been perhaps more politically charged than ever; or at least more blatantly polarized.  This does not sit well with most Americans or with many of the Administration’s political opponents.  [Read more at Forbes]

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