Marlboro Man for a New Generation?

William P. Barr is nominated for the U.S. Attorney General post. He works for the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis. That firm represented the tobacco companies in the federal anti-tobacco RICO case. U.S. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 449 F.Supp.2d 1 (DDC 2006), aff’d in part, vacated in part, 566 F.3d 1095 (DCC 2009).

Lawyers concerned about the lawless marijuana industry want to use that case as a model against the marijuana industry.

This is what the judge said about the tobacco lawyers in that case:

“Finally, a word must be said about the role of lawyers in this fifty-year history of deceiving smokers, potential smokers, and the American public about the hazards of smoking and second hand smoke, and the addictiveness of nicotine. At every stage, lawyers played an absolutely central role in the creation and perpetuation of the Enterprise and the implementation of its fraudulent schemes. They devised and coordinated both national and international strategy; they directed scientists as to what research they should and should not undertake; they vetted scientific research papers and reports as well as public relations materials to ensure that the interests of the Enterprise would be protected; they identified “friendly” scientific witnesses, subsidized them with grants from the Center for Tobacco Research and the Center for Indoor Air Research, paid them enormous fees, and often hid the relationship between those witnesses and the industry; and they devised and carried out document destruction policies and took shelter behind baseless assertions of the attorney client privilege. What a sad and disquieting chapter in the history of an honorable and often courageous profession.”

Big Tobacco is getting involved in the cannabis industry, which is very concerning, based on their history of playing fast and loose with the truth. Check out this story about a tobacco concern, Altria investing in Big Cannabis.