Ore­gon pot law­suit may move for­ward, judge says

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Business -

PORT­LAND, Ore. ( AP) — A judge has ruled that a rack­e­teer­ing law­suit brought by a vine­yard against a neigh­bor­ing marijuana op­er­a­tion can go for­ward de­spite at­tempts to have it dis­missed — a rul­ing that could in­crease the odds for vine­yards and other agri­cul­tural busi­nesses that have fought the pres­ence of cannabis farms in their back­yards with lim­ited suc­cess.

U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown found in the Aug. 27 rul­ing that there was enough ev­i­dence the plain­tiff, Mom­tazi Vine­yard, had suf­fered a fi­nan­cial loss from the neigh­bor­ing marijuana op­er­a­tion to take the case to trial.

At least two pre­vi­ous rack­e­teer­ing law­suits filed in Ore­gon over the smell from marijuana farms have been dis­missed, mak­ing this rul­ing notable, said Jesse Mondry, an at­tor­ney at the law firm Har­ris Bricken, which spe­cial­izes in cannabis-re­lated le­gal mat­ters. Mondry is not in­volved in the case.

“It changes the play­ing field in that the court has shown a path­way to bring rack­e­teer­ing claims against marijuana farms,” he said. “I don’t know that this is go­ing to open the flood­gates. At least they know now what they need to do to sur­vive a mo­tion to dis­miss.”

The case high­lights the ten­sion be­tween vint­ners and marijuana busi­nesses over land, wa­ter, odor and aes­thet­ics in the fer­tile ar­eas of Ore­gon and Cal­i­for­nia where both wine grapes and state-le­gal cannabis flour­ish. The cur­rent case in­volves a vine­yard in the heart of a fed­er­ally des­ig­nated viti­cul­ture area in Ore­gon’s Yamhill County, where wine tourism is boom­ing.

As­so­ci­ated Press

A marijuana bud awaits har­vest­ing at a ru­ral area near Cor­val­lis, Ore­gon.

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