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A recent Tenth Circuit decision shines light on a new avenue to challenge cannabis businesses, even in states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal.
Although the potential federal criminal threat to cannabis businesses in states that have legalized medical or recreational cannabis has been relatively well-discussed, the potential civil threat has received little attention. In Safe Streets Alliance v. Hickenlooper, 859 F.3d 865 (10th Cir. June 7, 2017), the Tenth Circuit reversed the dismissal of civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claims against a cannabis growing operation in Colorado, leaving open the possibility of future civil challenges to cannabis businesses.