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MARCH 31 UPDATE: Green Thumb Industries issued a statement today: “Green Thumb Industries possesses absolutely no evidence to corroborate claims that there is an open investigation by federal authorities. . . .Federal authorities have made no effort to initiate contact with Green Thumb,” CEO Ben Kovler said. The company called on the Tribune to retract the story.


Federal investigators are looking into Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, one of the largest marijuana operators in the United States, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune, citing unidentified sources, reports “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.”

“Green Thumb takes compliance very seriously and operates with the highest standards of ethical business conduct,” the company said in a statement. “We are not aware of any such investigation or seizure of property.”

The company’s shares fell about 12 percent Tuesday morning, roughly twice the decline of peers Cresco Labs and Curaleaf, before recovering somewhat.

GTI was one of the early winners of licenses after Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2013. Along with several other Chicago-based companies, it went on to win or acquire licenses in other states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York.

Ben Kovler, GTI CEO and founder, responded to news of the investigation on Twitter:

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago did not respond to a request for comment.

The Tribune noted that GTI had once hired Michael McClain, a longtime lobbyist and colleague of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. McClain is among those who have been indicted in a bribery scandal linked to ComEd.