Saturday, April 20, 2024

This Lawsuit Stinks: Oregon Vineyard vs. Marijuana Farm

Does the mere smell of marijuana pose a threat to a vineyard? That question will be answered in an Oregon courthouse.

When Oregonians voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, Steven and Mary Wagner, along with their son Richard, decided the time was right to launch a cannabis operation in Yamhill County. But before the Wagner family could plant a seed, grape-growing neighbors filed a lawsuit to halt the plan.

Momtazi Family LLC claimed that the odors emanating from the marijuana grow would damage wine grapes with “foul-smelling particles.” The Momtazi Family sought an injunction against the Wagner Family’s operation.

According to the Capital Press, an agriculture publication serving the western U.S. for 89 years:

Oregon’s “right to farm” law doesn’t provide aspiring marijuana growers with “blanket immunity” from a lawsuit filed by grape-producing neighbors in Yamhill County, a judge has ruled.

In October, the Wagners filed a motion to toss out the lawsuit, stating that there was no evidence to prove that the odor of cannabis would cross property lines and potentially contaminate the grapes. Circuit Court Judge John Collins denied a motion to dismiss the complaint filed by the Wagners.

As the Capital Press reported:

“You don’t get to file a lawsuit with no facts, sheer conjecture, pure speculation about what will happen,” said Allison Bizzano, the Wagners’ attorney, during oral arguments. But Richard Brown, attorney for the plaintiffs, claimed that it’s common to enjoin activities that haven’t yet occurred but that would cause damage.

“If the court allows them to develop the property first, it’s the equivalent of letting them pull the trigger,” Brown said.

Oregon is not the only state grappling with the olfactory issue. A cannabis “cultivation facility” in Boulder, Colo., was fined $2,000 for “failure to remedy odor violations.”

According to the Boulder Daily Camera:

The building that houses both the Dandelion Grow and the Boulder Botanics grow operation, registered as Crossroads Wellness LLC, is aging and has poor air control, officials said last year amid a wave of citizen complaints that prompted a total of $14,000 in fines for the Dandelion. That’s still more than any other single fine the city has administered since recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado Jan. 1, 2014.


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