The Cannabist write:
A federal judge this week removed the governor and other state and Pueblo County officials as defendants in a high-profile racketeering lawsuit that is attempting to stop legal marijuana in Colorado.
Pueblo County horse ranchers Hope and Michael Reilly and Washington, D.C. anti-drug group Safe Streets Alliance sued to stop construction of Rocky Mountain Organics’ cannabis cultivation facility, claiming that federal pot laws supercede Colorado’s pot laws and alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The case, known as the “horse ranchers’ lawsuit,” named the grow, businesses that work with it, Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Pueblo County Commission, the head of the state Department of Revenue and other officials and agencies as defendants.
But U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn on Tuesday issued a written order siding with previous federal court rulings saying that government entities are not subject to RICO claims and “that there is no private right-of-action under the (U.S. Constitution) Supremacy Clause itself.”
Brian Barnes, a lawyer for Safe Streets and the Reillys, said the case will proceed against the other named defendants, including the Black Hawk pot shop Rocky Mountain Organics, which grows its cannabis in Pueblo County, and the plaintiffs are contemplating a possible appeal to the 10th Circuit of Appeals.
“We’re exploring our appellate options at the moment,” he said, “but we haven’t made any final decisions about how we’re going to proceed.”
Pueblo County spokeswoman Paris Carmichael said the county has spent more than $100,000 on the case.
“It’s pretty clear it was a frivolous lawsuit being pushed by an ideological agenda, and the net result is it costing Pueblo County taxpayers time and money to fight it,” said Pueblo County commissioner Sal Pace. “The folks who would have liked to see them succeed would have been the black market drug cartels, since they’re the biggest losers under decriminalization and legalization in Colorado.”
Attorney Matthew Buck, who represents Rocky Mountain Organics and a number of other defendants still facing charges, called the ruling Tuesday “great news for our clients.