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Chicago-based marijuana giant part of federal pay-to-play investigation

A Chicago-based marijuana cultivator and dispenser that has rapidly grown into one of the nation’s biggest pot firms is under federal investigation for possible pay-to-play violations during its push for coveted state licenses, sources said.

Investigators have been scrutinizing campaign donations and other steps Green Thumb Industries took as it sought to secure growing and distribution licenses in Illinois and several other states, sources told the Chicago Tribune.

No charges have been filed as part of the investigation.

A company spokeswoman said Green Thumb Industries was not aware of any probe.

“Green Thumb takes compliance very seriously and operates with the highest standards of ethical business conduct,” spokeswoman Linda Marsicano said in an emailed statement. “We are not aware of any such investigation.”

The investigation is the first Chicago-based federal inquiry to come to light in what’s been called the “green wave” of marijuana decriminalization, which has led to an unprecedented scramble for licenses and financial backing, as well as accusations that the spoils have disproportionately gone to the rich and well connected.

Founded in 2014, Green Thumb Industries, also known as GTI, was one of a handful of companies to secure the state’s first licenses to grow medicinal marijuana in Illinois after it was legalized eight years ago. [Read More @ The Chicago Tribune]

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