Marijuana foe uses racketeering law to shut down legal retailers in Colorado

In 2012 Coloradans voted to legalize retail sales of recreational marijuana to adults. But a Marijuana prohibition organization in Washington DC, run by a Reagan/Bush-era "Just Say No" wacko named James Wootton, is abusing a Federal racketeering act to sue Colorado cannabis retailers out of business.

A Colorado pot shop recently closed after a Washington-based group opposed to legal marijuana sued not just the pot shop but a laundry list of firms doing business with it – from its landlord and accountant to the Iowa bonding company guaranteeing its tax payments. One by one, many of the defendants agreed to stop doing business with Medical Marijuana of the Rockies, until the mountain shop closed its doors and had to sell off its pot at fire-sale prices.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was created to put a financial squeeze on organized crime by allowing victims to sue for triple damages. Interestingly, when Wootton was President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, he spearheaded an "ongoing fight against frivolous litigation in the nation's civil justice system." Now he is using the RICO act to frivolously litigate against businesses that are breaking no state laws. On his linked in page, Wootton boasts about the following accomplishments:

  • Drafted and advocated for the truth-in-sentencing [parole abolishing] provisions of the 1994 Crime Bill, which authorized over $5.7 billion for prison construction in the states
  • Collected and delivered 1.5 million petitions to governors and legislators contributing to passage of new truth-in sentencing laws in over 25 states