A seemingly ridiculous lawsuit regarding the smell of marijuana is now headed to court, and the outcome of the case could impact the entire U.S. cannabis industry.
Phillis Windy Hope Reilly and Michael P. Reilly filed a lawsuit, with the help of anti-marijuana group Safe Streets Alliance, claiming that a legal marijuana grow operation run by Alternative Holistic Healing in Colorado has lowered their property values and led to less customers at their horseback riding business because of the strong cannabis smell that comes from the grow facility. The Reilly's also said the fact that the business is illegal at the federal level is also hurting them because their sad that their neighbors are criminals, or something like that.
The lawsuit seems sort of silly and ridiculous, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit didn't think so. In fact, the court mentioned the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a law that was made to go after organized criminal organizations like the mafia, in their ruling that the lawsuit could continue. Essentially, the court said that even though the business is legal at the state level, it's still illegal at the federal level, and therefore an argument can be made that they're engaging in racketeering.
Obviously a court ruling that a legal cannabis business could be considered racketeering at the federal level is bad news for the cannabis industry.
The Reilly's lawsuit begins trial today, and the result of the trial could lead to other lawsuits in legal states alleging similar types of misconduct by cannabis businesses.
So now would really be a good time for Congress to get off their butts and legalize marijuana.