Oregon vineyard’s cannabis lawsuit gets the go ahead

A lawsuit put forward by an Oregon vineyard against a neighbouring cannabis farm has been deemed to have merit by a US senior district court judge.

Momtazi Vineyard, based in the McMinnville AVA, a sub-appellation of the Willamette Valley, has argued that a neighbouring cannabis farm owned by Mary and Steven Wagner has led them to suffer a “concrete financial loss”.

As reported by Capital Press, the vineyard’s lawsuit states that the Wagner’s farm has contaminated grapes grown by Momtazi causing them to smell of cannabis.

Senior district court judge for the district of Oregon, Anna Brown, denied the Wagners’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit against them, and ruled that the Momtazi Vineyard could have suffered harm by their actions.

The lawsuit was filed in April this year under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisation Act). The Momtazi family are seeking compensation of “three times the damages” caused by the pot growing operation.

The court documents claim that one of the vineyard’s frequent customers cancelled a six-ton order of grapes because they were grown in a part of the vineyard that backed onto the cannabis farm. The customer was concerned that the grapes would be contaminated with the smell of the marijuana crop.

This, the lawsuit claims, has led to a reduction in the property value of the estate, owing to the decline in the marketability of the grapes grown on the site.

In their dismissal, Mary and Steven Wagner, who own Yamhill Naturels, had argued that the Momtazi lawsuit lied about the extent of their cannabis operation, claiming that it was not commercial but rather a small plot intended for personal medical use.

Recreational cannabis was legalised in Oregon in 2014 following the approval of Measure 91.

Industry experts have stated that this case could set a precedent for other similar cases, which so far have not progressed to court.

The Momtazi family bought their site in 1997 and began planting in 1998. Describing itself as biodynamic, the estate grows Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.

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