Although the federal government seems to have turned a blind eye to the legalization of the medical and even recreational use of cannabis in certain states, they have not relinquished their duty to maintain competitive markets in the U.S. Over the past year, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) have used their powers under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the “HSR Act”) to investigate mergers and acquisitions in the cannabis market, even though the operations of such business are essentially illegal under federal law.
Continue Reading Holding Up the Green: Hart-Scott-Rodino and its Impact on Cannabis M&A Transactions

On January 10, 2017, Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions began confirmation hearings with the Senate Judiciary Committee for his potential role as Attorney General in the upcoming Trump administration.   During these hearings he was asked questions that shed light on possible differences between the Trump administration Department of Justice’s stance on marijuana as compared to the Obama administration.

In response to a question about federalism as it relates to marijuana laws from Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, Sessions stated:

“One obvious concern is that Congress has made the possession of marijuana in every state an illegal act. If that is not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change it. It’s not the attorney general’s job to decide which laws to enforce. We should enforce the laws as effectively as we are able.”

Continue Reading Jeff Sessions Senate Confirmation Hearing Hints at Enforcement Attitudes Towards Marijuana