Post date: 9/23/2019

A federal district court judge in Oregon earlier this month ruled that a lawsuit filed by a vineyard against a nearby cannabis operation could proceed, shooting down the cannabis farm’s assertion that the vineyard lacked legal standing to press the case.

Momtazi Vineyard, sued Yamhill Natural under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act claiming Yamhill was a criminal enterprise because marijuana is illegal under federal law, and that this illegal activity was causing it to lose money. The vineyard requested 3-times the money it said it lost as compensation.

U.S. Senior District Court Judge Anna Brown ruled that Momtazi that plausibly alleged financial loss because a customer canceled a large order over fears the grapes were contaminated by the smell of marijuana. “The customer’s concerns, whether valid or invalid, arose directly from the proximity of defendant’s marijuana grow operation,” the judge ruled.

At least 2 previous lawsuits filed against Oregon cannabis farms over the smell of cannabis crops have been dropped, according to published reports. In one decision, handed down earlier this year, a federal judge in Oregon dismissed a lawsuit filed against a marijuana grow by neighbors who argued their property values had fallen because of that grow operation. For damage claims to proceed under RICO the suing party must prove actual financial loss, and property values are somewhat speculative, the court explained in dismissing that case.

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