Racketeering, Legal Weed, and a Horse Lawyer!

By George Khoury, Esq. on August 31, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you've been following the marijuana industry over recent years, you may already know about the RICO charges many legal pot operations are facing. But a recently filed lawsuit by a horse lawyer against nearly 200 different pot operations in Oregon is taking one of the biggest shots at the industry to date.

The gist of these cases alleges that the legal marijuana businesses still violate federal law, and by working in concert, despite being licensed by the state, are violating RICO. The plaintiffs claim nuisance and loss of property value as damages. And, unfortunately for the marijuana industry, as the Tenth Circuit ruled last year, these cases are more than just a nuisance, they could be a real problem.

From Equine to Anti-Pot

As the local Oregon newspaper reported, the attorney representing the plaintiff in this recent marijuana RICO case, at one time, specialized in equine law, primarily helping with horse transactions. And, in case you were wondering, yes, she does own horses, and has 19 acres. And this is relevant because she used herself as her test case.

Last year, she filed a lawsuit on her own behalf against her own neighbor for growing marijuana. She claimed that the "skunklike stench" harmed her property value and enjoyment/use, and eventually reached a settlement in that case. She then picked up a similar case a county over.

Not Just in Oregon

As reported by the Willamette Weekly, there are now CLE courses being offered on how to bring these legal marijuana RICO cases. After all, marijuana is becoming a big time cash crop. Cases in Maryland and Colorado are also being pursued, with the Colorado federal trial actually set to begin at the end of October.

These cases all bear strikingly similar facts. Curiously though, as some commentators have observed, in Colorado, property values have generally increased on average since legalization took effect.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard