In the small community of Rye, Colorado, 30 miles outside Pueblo, a battle is taking place that made its way to the federal court and could ultimately impact all of Colorado, as well as set a precedent for other states. What that precedent might be will all depend on the ruling.
The meat of the suit is the question as to if federal law should outweigh, and thus crush, state law. The owners of Meadows at Legacy Ranch filed a civil suit 3 years ago claiming that the Canna Craft growhouse “next door” was lowering their property value and should be forced to move.
Parker Walton, owner of the grow op, told FOX31 that, “I thought it was ridiculous. They were making claims, complaining about odor, decrease of their property value all based on an operation that didn’t even exist yet.” He went on to say that he chose the particular 40 acre location to put his facility on, having received clearance from Pueblo County and with all permits needed.
Walton didn’t think he’d run into any problems because of the lack of neighbors, but unfortunately the stigma against cannabis still lingers in all parts of the land, and as soon as his closer neighbors, Hope and Mike Reilly, got wind of the operation, they objected vocally through the court of law, with the case still ongoing.
The ranchers have financial backing via “Safe Streets,” a D.C. based group that hates cannabis and tries using anti-racketeering laws to bring down cannabis businesses in legal states that are technically breaking federal law.
Walton stated what the cannabis community knows and both fears and abhors. “It sets a precedent. It creates a blueprint for anyone else who wants to take down cannabis.” While he waits to find out the fate of his location and ability to move forward, his business hanging in the balance.
“I take compliance very seriously and I have since day one,” said a beyond frustrated Walton. “We had no problems going through the process and the issuance of a license.” The Reilly’s charges that federal racketeering is going down is based on a law enacted in the 1970s to try and prosecute the mafia and drug cartels.
Unfortunately, if Walton’s operation has to close due to lawyer fees, Walton says there could be a domino effect and that the same thing could propagate across Colorado. We’ll find out if Safe Streets has any real traction in legalized cannabis when this case is solved.