A few years ago, a trend began to emerge – driven by the anti-cannabis lobby – of civil claims being asserted against state-licensed cannabis operators under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The suits were brought in an attempt to curtail operators’ state-legal cannabis activities based on the allegation that such activities violated the federal Controlled Substances Act and thereby satisfied the predicate act requirement under RICO.
In all such cannabis-related RICO cases, the plaintiffs’ bid for a civil judgment failed, and the trend of civil RICO claims against cannabis operators seemed to vanish as quickly as it appeared.
Recently, a putative class action, Plumlee v. Steep Hill Inc., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against four state-licensed cannabis operators, asserting civil RICO claims arising out of allegations that the operators falsified the amount of THC in their cannabis products.
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