Despite losing their battle in court, four Sonoma County residents who sued a local cannabis cultivator over odor say they’ve ultimately won their war against Carlos Zambrano and his Green Earth business partners. By the time U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar dismissed the four’s RICO lawsuit against Zambrano, he had already shut down his growing operations for six weeks. In fact, Zambrano and Green Earth aren’t saying whether they’ll even try to start things up again in Sonoma County. But Judge Tigar’s ruling, which throws out another racketeering lawsuit against a legal cannabis company, sets a crucial legal precedent that favors cannabis growers in California.
RICO Dismissal Sets Important Legal Precedent for California’s Cultivation Industry
The regulations governing California’s cannabis industry give significant authority to county and municipal governments to determine whether and how businesses set up shop in their jurisdictions. And while many California counties and cities have embraced the industry, others have taken extraordinary steps to ban it.
Failing statutes and ordinances, the truly disgruntled have attempted to sue cannabis companies under federal law. And their weapon of choice has been the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970. In its time, the RICO Act was