Oregon vineyard owners sue to halt nearby marijuana cultivation

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Oregon vineyard owners in the heart of the state’s wine region filed a lawsuit asking a judge to ban a neighbor from cultivating marijuana, complaining that the smell of cannabis could drift over and taint their grapes.

The suit could foreshadow a larger issue: Will expanding cannabis cultivation, particularly in states such as California and Oregon, cause conflicts with the already-established wine industry?

The Oregonian reported that Momtazi Vineyard – in Yamhill County, southeast of Portland – is joined by vineyard owners Harihara and Parvathy Mahesh in the suit against Oregon resident Richard Wagner.

Momtazi Vineyard claims it has already lost one grape-buying customer because of the planned cultivation operation, according to the lawsuit filed in Yamhill County Circuit Court.

Wagner has plans for a 22,000- to 44,000-square-foot outdoor cannabis cultivation operation.

According to The Oregonian, he doesn’t need approval from the county to cultivate cannabis because the land is zoned for farm use. However, he’s seeking permission to process marijuana on the site. The lawsuit says Wagner could process upwards of 33,000 pounds of cannabis.

Wagner told The Oregonian he planned to adhere to organic and sustainable growing practices, including avoiding pesticides. He also said he planned to use a water-extraction process instead of solvent-based processes and limit water use and runoff with a drip irrigation system.

The winemakers’ lawsuit claims the marijuana farmer’s outdoor grow could jeopardize the Momtazi’s Demeter Biodynamic certification, which recognizes the vineyard for organic farming.

– Associated Press, Marijuana Business Daily