Federal court case in Colorado could impact the marijuana industry

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A couple is suing a marijuana business, saying that it hurts their property’s value

A federal trial is being held this week in Colorado that could have a major impact on the entire marijuana industry in the U.S. A couple has launched a lawsuit against a marijuana business, claiming that the business is impacting their property value. This is the first time that a jury will hear a case based on anti-racketeering laws targeting a marijuana company.

Michael Reilly and Phillis Hope Reilly initially submitted their lawsuit in 2015. It asserts that CannaCraft and the company’s owner, Parker Walton, are responsible for lowering the Reilly’s property value, as the operations have produced a “noxious odor.”

Walton asserts that his cultivation area is sealed and that the flower rooms have air-sanitation units, which work to control any odor. He also states that his operations were measured earlier this year with an olfactometer, which determined that it is virtually impossible for neighboring properties to be impacted by the activity. The lawsuit is costing Walton money, but he feels he has to stand his ground. He said in an interview, “Tucking your tail in and running, that’s not the right precedent to set. That’s giving them a victory.”

There have been similar cases already in other states. A judge in Oregon recently dismissed a lawsuit, deciding that the plaintiffs were not able to firmly prove that the marijuana operation close to their property was responsible for any loss in value.

According to Vanderbilt University law professor Robert Mikos, “They (plaintiffs in the suits) can claim a $1 million drop in property value, but if a jury does not agree and says $5,000 – that’s not that big of a deal. That’s why there are a lot of eyes on the case.”

It should be interesting to see how the case plays out in Colorado. It goes without saying that a judgment for the plaintiffs could have an impact on the entire future of the industry in the U.S.