Marijuana racketeering suit in Oregon allowed to proceed

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

A federal judge in Oregon ruled that a vineyard suffered “plausibly alleged harm” from a neighboring cannabis operation and may proceed with a racketeering lawsuit.

The Capital Press in Salem reported that U.S. Senior District Judge Anna Brown denied the marijuana-growing neighbor’s motion to dismiss the complaint.

The judge found that Momtazi Vineyard has legal standing under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act to pursue the case.

The cannabis industry is concerned about the increasing number of such civil suits.

Some marijuana businesses have been forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs to defend themselves.

So far, courts have set a high legal bar, generally ruling that plaintiffs failed to prove a concrete loss. Some cases have been settled.

In the Oregon case, the judge said the vineyard plausibly claimed under the RICO act that it suffered a “concrete financial loss” because a customer canceled an order over fears the grapes were contaminated with the smell of marijuana.

Defendants Mary and Steven Wagner and son Richard argued that Momtazi’s allegations weren’t “concrete” damages caused by a RICO violation.

For more on this story, click here.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily