It’s like Italy’s lunch law, except it’s coming for your marijuana. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that you can be sued by your neighbors for stinky weed.
The ruling stems from a 2015 lawsuit between a Colorado horse farm and a marijuana-growing warehouse, according to AP reports. The farm owners claimed that the warehouse “would diminish their land’s value by emitting ‘noxious odors’ and attracting unsavory visitors.”
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But just because neighbors can sue doesn’t mean they’ll always win: The farm’s claim was dismissed, and the warehouse was allowed to open after all. It was appealed and back in court, as the judges deemed it necessary to hear their claims again.
Pot opponents say the racketeering strategy gives them a possible tool to break an industry they oppose. It could give private citizens who oppose pot legalization a way to sue the industry out of business, even as federal officials have so far declined to shut down most pot businesses operating in violation of federal drug law. “This is a tremendous victory for opponents of the marijuana industry,” said Brian Barnes, a Washington-based lawyer who represents the Reillys on behalf of the anti-crime nonprofit group Safe Streets Alliance.
This sounds bleak, but again, being able to sue doesn’t mean opponents always win. It just means advocates for marijuana and legal weed businesses have more work to do in this growing space.