COLORADO CANNABIS FARM WINS RICO CASE BUT OPENS THE DOOR FOR FUTURE PROBLEMS
For many years now, the state-legal cannabis industry and various financial institutions working closely with it have had their collective eye on a recent federal racketeering case involving an anti-drug group and a Colorado-based marijuana farm. In the Safe Streets Alliance vs Hickenlooper trial, a family received the assistance of Safe Streets Alliance to sue a farm that, according to the lawsuit, was engaging in racketeering activities stemming from the growth and sales of marijuana. Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the little green plant is still 100% illegal, and the plaintiffs claimed that they had the right to receive damages based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). Although the marijuana farm ultimately won the case on October 31, 2018, this trial has now opened up the floodgates for additional legal problems and costly investigations. Let’s take a closer look at the situation and find out more.
Frequently, figures involved in organized crime are in the hot seat at the center of RICO cases, but this act also gives private citizens the right to pursue federal action for potential injuries to “business or property” that stem from racketeering incidences. By the RICO Act, racketeering activity constitutes any offense involving criminal manufacturing, importing, receiving, concealing, purchase, and ultimate sale (or dealing) of an illegal substance. In the Hickenlooper case, the plaintiffs argued that the cannabis farm was engaging in racketeering activity through the production and sale of cannabis ( an illegal substance under federal law).
What the Future Holds
Overall, the Hickenlooper trial was a success for the cannabis industry, but, regardless, this case did open up the floodgates for some testy situations down the road. However, the decision of the Tenth Circuit reinforced that the sale of marijuana (in the areas of jurisdiction across Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma) a racketeering activity. Likewise, the Tenth Bar paved the way for more doubt when it explained that multiple groups in the industry are part of a marijuana joint-enterprise.
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