By: Nabil Rodriguez*
A Colorado Federal jury sided with cannabis cultivation owner Parker Walton as he fought a suit brought by his neighbors under a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), rejecting the claim that the smells and sounds from his cultivation facility damaged their property.
RICO is a United States Federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. Although cannabis is still a Schedule I controlled substance under Federal law, in Colorado the cultivation and sale of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is legal.
The neighbors, Hope and Michael Reilly, claimed that their adjacent property was damaged as a result of the inundated scent of cannabis, the noise from the cultivation’s air conditioning and the increase in traffic from trucks. After the Tenth Circuit agreed with the neighbors and held that the cultivation of cannabis was inherently racketeering, a Federal jury was left to decide how much damage was done to the Reilly’s property. The Federal jury rejected this claim of damages.
This outcome provides for groundbreaking precedent against future RICO claims and marks a major victory for the legalization and legitimization of cannabis.
Should you have any questions regarding RICO or how this holding may affect your cannabis business, please contact your Greenspoon Marder attorney.
*Nabil Rodriguez is not an attorney.