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Judge Dismisses Oregon Racketeering Lawsuit Against Cannabis Businesses, But the Legal Battle Isn’t Over

The case is one of several that take aim at state-sanctioned cannabis industries using a federal law created to take down drug cartels and organized crime.

A federal judge dismissed a racketeering lawsuit filed against several Oregon cannabis businesses last week, but the legal battle over legal weed is far from over.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled that the plaintiffs from Lebanon, Ore. could not be compensated for some damages under the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act. However, the plaintiffs can file the case again after amending their complaint.

"The court did not dismiss the entire case," the plaintiffs' lawyer Rachel McCart told WW in an email. "Rather, it dismissed some of the claims without prejudice (which means the plaintiffs could bring those claims again), and the plaintiffs' private nuisance claim remains intact."

The plaintiffs allege that their neighbors harmed their properties by growing weed next door. They claim that all of the defendants were engaged in organized criminal activity, because cannabis is still illicit according to the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The case is one of three in Oregon and more than a half-dozen nationally that take aim at the state-sanctioned recreational marijuana industry using RICO, a federal law created to take down drug cartels and organized crime.

One of the previous racketeering suits settled out of court. McCart filed a third in July—the subject of an examination in this week's edition of WW.