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Marijuana Opponents Using Racketeering Law to Fight Industry

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posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 09:46 AM
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Well it looks like the marijuana prohibitionists are tired of losing ground and have resorted to some dirty tricks to fight the growing marijuana industry. Since the federal government isn't going to stop the marijuana industry, the prohibitionists have turned to federal racketeering laws to tear down the support of the various marijuana businesses they go after.

Marijuana Opponents Using Racketeering Law to Fight Industry


A Colorado pot shop recently closed after a Washington-based group opposed to legal marijuana sued not just the pot shop but a laundry list of firms doing business with it — from its landlord and accountant to the Iowa bonding company guaranteeing its tax payments. One by one, many of the defendants agreed to stop doing business with Medical Marijuana of the Rockies, until the mountain shop closed its doors and had to sell off its pot at fire-sale prices.


THAT'S playing dirty. You can't get your way and public opinion is rapidly shifting away from you so you resort to some seriously lowball tactics to do anything. But to me this just shows that the prohibitionists are being backed into a corner. Animals backed into a corner tend to lash out in any way they can. I will hand it to the prohibitionists, they DID find an interesting loophole to go after legal marijuana businesses with.


"It is still illegal to cultivate, sell or possess marijuana under federal law," said Brian Barnes, lawyer for Safe Streets Alliance, a Washington-based anti-crime group that brought the lawsuits on behalf of neighbors of the two Colorado pot businesses.

Lawyers on both sides say the Colorado racketeering approach is novel.

"If our legal theory works, basically what it will mean is that folks who are participating in the marijuana industry in any capacity are exposing themselves to pretty significant liability," Barnes said.

The 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act sets up federal criminal penalties for activity that benefits a criminal enterprise. The RICO Act also provides for civil lawsuits by people hurt by such racketeering — in this case, neighbors of the two businesses who claim the pot businesses could hurt their property values. If successful, civil lawsuits under the RICO Act trigger triple penalties.


It appears that in their attempt to lash out in any way they can, they have found a particularly NASTY way to fight back. I wonder if the prohibitionists realize that they won't get many sympathy supporters for doing this. The only people I see supporting this are the types who already think pot should be illegal. Heck, they may LOSE support for their cause for this (one can at least hope right?)


Filed in February, the Colorado lawsuits have yet to go before a judge. But one has already had the intended effect.

In April, three months after the RICO lawsuit was filed, Medical Marijuana of the Rockies closed. Owner Jerry Olson liquidated his inventory by selling marijuana for $120 an ounce, far below average retail prices.


Of course, many times the THREAT of legal action is enough to get your way. Especially if there is a lot of money backing that legal action.


In the other Colorado lawsuit, against a dispensary called Alternative Holistic Healing, the pot shop isn't going down so easily.


The shop owners are building a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in southern Colorado for growing pot, despite being sued by neighboring property owners for affecting their mountain views. A construction company and insurance company working with Alternative Holistic Healing haven't abandoned the job.

"It's a frivolous lawsuit," said the pot shop's lawyer, Matthew Buck. "It has not affected (the pot shop owners) whatsoever."


At least the other shop isn't going down so easily.


But the marijuana opponents funding the lawsuit say they're ready to expand the test lawsuits to more marijuana businesses. The end goal, they say, is clear: to stop the whole pot industry in its tracks.

"We're putting a bounty on the heads of anyone doing business with the marijuana industry," Barnes said. "Just because you see what appears to be this unstoppable growth of marijuana, we disagree. We're starting to change the economics of the marijuana industry."


You really have to worry about your cause if you have to resort to thug like behavior to get your way.




posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 09:53 AM
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Being that the marijuana business is technically breaking a federal criminal law, would a civil case even hold up in court? I mean, in order to have a case, the plaintiff mush show that they were harmed in some way in order to have a legitimate case.

I just sounds like marijuana opponents are simply using procedural tactics to force the business into a frivolous lawsuit that the business can't afford. Someone should crowd source a fund to help this business fight back.

SHAMELESS!



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 09:55 AM
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a reply to: LeatherNLace

From what I'm gathering in the OP. The prohibitionists go to the neighbors of the various marijuana businesses and propose the idea that the marijuana business' location is hurting their own profits. This allows them to get their foot in the door for the lawsuit. Like the article said, it has already intimidated one business enough to cause it to have to close its doors. So at the very least, the THREAT of it being successful is working.

There is a crowd funding page for him:

"I am being buried in legal procedure," Olson wrote on a fundraising Web page he created to fight the lawsuit. The effort so far has brought in just $674.

edit on 14-7-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 10:02 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I'm glad you mentioned RICO.

That was established to take down the mob, not the politicians, and now it seems the politicians are being accused of using the same dirty tactics that they once used to prosecute offenders.

Set up a independent commission made of members who don't want to Guliani their way to the top.




edit on 14-7-2015 by Thecakeisalie because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 10:06 AM
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On another note, any judge worth his/her salt would throw this lawsuit out immediately; unless the lawsuit was filed in federal court. The simple fact is that marijuana is legal in Colorado and those businesses have a right, under Colorado law, to open their doors for business. Any "diminished value" or "loss of business" complaints are a moot point, unless the marijuana business is operating in an area that is not zoned for that type of business.



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 10:08 AM
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a reply to: LeatherNLace

I don't think it is going to go that simply. Keep in mind, it appears that lawyers on BOTH sides of this issue think it is a good point.


Lawyers on both sides say the Colorado racketeering approach is novel.


This doesn't seem so cut and dry as you are making it out to be.



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 10:11 AM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie

They aren't trying to use this to take down politicians. They are using it to take down businesses by going after the other businesses that the marijuana business relies on to stay in business (like the landowner the business sits on or their bank, etc)



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 10:16 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

That still makes it racketeering by proxy.



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 10:25 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Maybe they should go after Walmart instead. They have a bigger defense fund I would imagine.



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 10:29 AM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie

Well if you look at it a certain way, the mob is just a business that deals in illegal activity. It's really not hard to make the extension that a marijuana business is operating as an organized criminal enterprise if you think that what they are doing is wrong and illegal. Like I said to the other poster, this issue doesn't sound so cut and dry. We may be looking at a really NASTY fight brewing.



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 10:54 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

This is what our courts are for? Please someone with the brain power of a f-ing ant throw this out before you waste even one minute of our courts time.

Marijuana, get used to it. Marijuana is not the problem, ignorance is the problem.



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 11:11 AM
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Meh, screw them for trying these dirty tactics but they will fail. "Stop the marijuana growth economy in its tracks."

What a joke. Give me a break. Colorado real estate is skyrocketing. There is more pot shops in CO than there are McDonalds or Starbucks. One shop had to give up because of this, i hope it is able to make a comeback. But nonetheless while that one shop closed three more opened down the street.



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 11:14 AM
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Besides, it seems a smart way to fight this would be for pot shops to open up around eateries. ThInk about it. Lawyers would have a hard time getting neighbors to complain if said neighbors are making more as well.



posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 11:48 AM
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Ever wonder who runs these things? Well in this case, it's James M. Wootton who has been part of the "War on Drugs" for decades.

Safe Streets Aliance - About > Leadership


James Wootton, Chairman
[...]
As a political appointee in the Reagan Justice Department Wootton helped create numerous national programs including: the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime; National Court Appointed Special Advocates; National Child Safety Center; Child Safety Partnership; National Partnership to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Serious Habitual Offender Comprehensive Action Program.


LA Times - June, 14 1986 - Drug Program Dear to First Lady Loses Grant:


WASHINGTON — A Justice Department unit Friday suspended a $1-million grant for a nationwide program spearheaded by First Lady Nancy Reagan and Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III to fight drug and alcohol abuse among youth after an auditor questioned how the money is being spent.

[...]

The partnership was launched with White House fanfare Oct. 10 by Mrs. Reagan, Meese and Baldwin, president of the Morgan Stanley & Co. investment banking firm. The umbrella organization was designed to encourage the drafting of strategy for attacking drug and alcohol abuse, and to send health data on substance abuse to parent groups and others working at the local level.

[...]

In a possibly related move Friday, James M. Wootton, deputy administrator of the juvenile justice office, had "all my responsibilities suspended" by Speirs. Wootton said Friday that he has had nothing to do with the national partnership since December when there were discussions about his running the organization.

Wootton said Speirs told him Thursday that the suspension of his "delegation of responsibility" will require everyone in the agency to report to the new administrator, "so he would have a handle on what's going on."



posted on Jul, 15 2015 @ 12:21 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I presume there is some sort of regulatory agency that should also be listed as a defendant.

3 years tops before DC takes national action. Given the way things have gone lately, it'll be SCOTUS. While im not a fan of judicial activism and over reach....it seems the only people with the cajones to do anything is SCOTUS. Whether it be right or wrong.



posted on Jul, 15 2015 @ 12:21 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

a crusader without a crusade is a very sad thing indeed.....



posted on Jul, 15 2015 @ 07:08 AM
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a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

Yea, there are just too many conflicts between federal and state regulations for this experiment to ever be a long term solution. It's going to blow up in everyone's faces if we let it get too out of hand. The prohibitionists have already started playing dirty. If this doesn't work, they will only try something even worse next time.



posted on Jul, 15 2015 @ 07:14 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Right. With any luck, they will set themselves on fire in protest, next.



posted on Jul, 15 2015 @ 07:20 AM
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a reply to: 0zzymand0s

You may not realize this, but what the prohibitionists in the OP are doing is 100% legal, MAY work (as admitted by both sides of the legal debate), and could really set the burgeoning marijuana industry back. I don't think it can strike a killer blow, but if the judges rule in favor of the prohibitionists, it would be a VERY bad thing.



posted on Jul, 15 2015 @ 05:39 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Oh, I realize it. I just think that the billion dollar legal MJ business will win.




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