A Denver jury has ruled in favor of a marijuana grow operation sued for potentially hurting the property values of a nearby ranch — marking a blow for those seeking to stop the spread of legal pot.
Colordao ranchers Michael and Phyllis Reilly sued a neighboring grow operation run by licensed grower Parker Walton. The Reilly’s claimed the large corrugated-metal garage harmed their property values and mountain views.
“Everyone around the nation in the industry has been watching this case,” said Rob Mikos, a Vanderbilt University Law Professor and marijuana law expert.
Given that marijuana is illegal at the federal level, the Reilly’s tried suing under RICO - the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Penalties doled out to Walton would have tripled under a RICO conviction.
But, the Denver jury did not find in favor of the Reilly’s. Mikos said this case does not set a binding legal precedent.
“But, it does likely give other plaintiffs pause before bringing this type of suit,” he said.
Find reporter Dan Boyce on Twitter @BoyceDan .
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This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.