Toronto-based CBD company Alternate Health has retained former acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and his Kansas City, Missouri, law firm, Graves Garrett, to act as outside counsel.
Whitaker was a controversial figure during his short term running the U.S. Department of Justice under President Donald Trump. Whitaker served as acting attorney general for three month after Jeff Sessions resigned in November 2018.
In announcing the addition of Whitaker, Alternate also said it is divesting its marijuana assets to focus exclusively on hemp-derived CBD.
Whitaker’s role at Alternate will involve “strategically advising” the Canadian CBD company, according to a statement.
“I think there is serious potential in the CBD industry, and everyone at Alternate Health will work hard to be a leader in the industry,” he said.
The company said Whitaker will coordinate legal matters and develop its legal strategy as Alternate expands into new markets.
Whitaker will also investigate “certain actions in Canada by a California-based competitor,” according to the company. The competitor was not identified.
Whitaker raised eyebrows in his short tenure over the agency that includes the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
He was criticized for business ties to Trump and for comments critical of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The state of Maryland challenged the legality of Whitaker’s appointment. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the challenge, but Whitaker left the Justice Department soon after.
Whitaker is not the first high-profile Republican to become involved in the cannabis industry.
Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner joined the advisory board of New York-based Acreage Holdings last year.
Alternate is headquartered in Toronto and has additional offices in California and Texas.
Alternate trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange as AHG.