A lawsuit against a cannabis cultivator filed by its Colorado neighbors, which could have broad repercussions for the legal marijuana industry, began today in a Denver federal courtroom. In the suit, Hope and Michael Reilly contend that “pungent, foul odors” from the facility have impeded their enjoyment and lowered the value of their adjacent land.
The suit was filed in 2015 by the anti-pot group Safe Street Alliance on behalf of the Reillys against Alternative Holistic Healing LLC. The married couple owns “approximately 105 acres of beautiful rolling pasture with sweeping mountain vistas that include views of Pike’s Peak,” according to media reports.
In 2014, enticed by incentives from the Pueblo County government to stimulate a local cannabis industry, Parker Walton bought property adjacent to the Reillys’ land and launched Alternative Holistic Healing. Walton began growing cannabis outdoors and built a 5,000 square foot facility for the indoor cultivation and processing of marijuana.
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the plaintiffs could sue the cultivator under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Passed in the 1970s as a tool to fight organized crime, RICO allows civil suits to recover losses from an ongoing criminal enterprise.