Tonkon Torp Wins Dismissal of RICO Claims Attacking Cannabis Industry – First of its Kind in 9th Circuit

Tonkon Torp secured a dismissal of civil RICO claims filed in federal court based on defendants' involvement in an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program grow operation. Four civil RICO cases have been filed this year in Oregon against nearly 300 businesses and individuals engaged in state-authorized cannabis activity. Another filed last year was settled out of court. Similar cases are pending in Colorado and Massachusetts. 


On Friday August 17, Judge Michael McShane dismissed the RICO claims in the first of the four pending Oregon cases. The ruling was the first of its kind in the 9th Circuit and may serve as meaningful precedent. The Court agreed that alleged personal injuries, such as loss of use and enjoyment of property, are not compensable under RICO, and that indirect expenses, such as purchasing security systems or firearms in reaction to a neighbor's cannabis activities, are too attenuated from the challenged conduct to support a RICO claim. 

Litigators Meg Houlihan, Jon Stride, and Alex Tinker are leading Tonkon Torp's defense of anti-cannabis RICO claims. "These cases are part of a national effort to punish state law-abiding, taxpaying businesses, employers, and individuals, and to undermine the will of voters in states that regulate cannabis," explained Tinker. "Though this ruling won't put an end to that effort, it is still a significant victory."


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