Frisco Dispensary Forced To Close Over Racketeering Lawsuit

(Photo: CPR/Irvin Coffee)
<p>An array of marijuana plants in a Boulder grow. </p>

A novel approach to fighting marijuana businesses in court ended in a settlement which closed one dispensary. But it’s still not clear if this legal tactic can be expanded beyond a few small cases.

The lawsuit, filed last year, alleged that a Frisco dispensary was violating federal racketeering laws -- a charge usually reserved for prosecuting organized crime.

In this case, the lawsuit targeted the dispensary, its bank, its accountants, and its bonding company. The dispensary was breaking federal drug laws, and these other businesses were aiding it, alleged Safe Streets Alliance, the D.C. group behind the suit.

The result: The pot store says it was forced to close, and the accountants and bonding company settled, agreeing to pay Safe Streets Alliance $70,000 in return for dropping the suit.

University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin says the anti-marijuana group would have a tough time winning had the case made it to court. In an interview with the Denver Post, Kamin added that that doesn't mean legal action against dispensaries is meaningless:

"In fact, they're going to be incredibly problematic for the industry going forward. The folks who helped to bring this suit and sought out plaintiffs for this suit are looking for more and other lawsuits."

Another similar case is pending against a dispensary southwest of Pueblo.