This article by William Travis was originally published on The Leaflet, a newsletter by Feuerstein Kulick.
With all the social and economic destruction wrought by the Controlled Substances Act and marijuana’s Schedule I status, it’s easy for some of the lesser outrages to get lost in the shuffle. But if you’re reading the Nerd Corner of The Leaflet (welcome and thank you!), we’re guessing you get your kicks by diving headfirst into the nitty gritty of cannabis law (like us!). So bear with us while we tell you the tale of Pot vs. Pinot, with a short prelude on federal RICO law.
RICO refers to the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act (18 U.S.C. Sec. 1961), a federal statute that was largely enacted to prosecute organized crime. RICO, however, also provides for civil causes of action, and under the civil provisions, a private claimant can recover treble (that’s Latin for triple) damages and attorneys’ fees for any harm they suffer as the result of a RICO defendant’s “racketeering” activity.
There’s a lot that goes into stating a valid RICO claim – federal judges have referred to it as “the litigation equivalent of a thermonuclear device” (i.e., something to be used sparingly) – and it can be quite difficult for a RICO plaintiff to survive a motion to dismiss. See Gross v. Waywell, 628 …