RICO — not a real danger for mj?

Latest on RICO by Joel Warner of IBTimes is here. I’m quoted:

But if RICO lawsuits are so powerful, why haven’t there been more of them since Cooper & Kirk filed the first two in Colorado early last year? It could be that there just aren’t that many folks in the anti-marijuana contingent who have the interest and resources to mount such expensive and complicated legal attacks, even if they’re likely to pay political and financial dividends down the line. “One possibility is the war is over and there is nobody left on the field defending the territory of ‘Just say no,’ ” said Pat Oglesby, a tax attorney who studies marijuana at the Center for New Revenue in North Carolina.

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But another plausible explanation is that there is no money in these suits for plaintiffs.  Warner’s article elaborates on that possibility.  The court that dismissed the most recent suit noted that the plaintiffs had not furnished proof.  Plaintiffs had not even submitted appraisals showing loss of value of property — to try to blame on neighboring marijuana business.  My friend Sam Kamin points out that property values next to marijuana operations in Colorado have typically risen – not declined.   In any event, whatever opponents of legalization are out there, they don’t see RICO as such a formidable weapon that they use it frequently.

RICO and federal income taxes hit private sellers of marijuana but not government stores.  The exemption for governments from RICO is explained here, and federal income tax is explained here.  No federal income tax means no 280E.

https://newrevenue.org/2016/01/05/state-marijuana-businesses-are-immune-from-rico/http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/02/leff-presents-taxing-governmental-marijuana-sales-today-at-indiana.html

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Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

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