How the Smell of Marijuana Became a ‘Racketeering’ Issue That Threatens the Industry

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Marijuana production is a smelly business—a fact that could have major repercussions for the industry, if a trial beginning Monday goes a certain way.

Hope and Michael Reilly, a couple owning land in Colorado, are suing the grow facility that’s been set up next door. They say the facility’s “pungent, foul odors” have knocked a substantial sum off the value of their property and hampered their ability to enjoy it.

In a sense, this suit—which has been gathering steam for three years now—suggests the marijuana industry faces similar woes to those of the pork-production industry, which is also being targeted over neighbor-unfriendliness. What’s particularly interesting about this case, however, is that it’s based on anti-racketeering law.

Last year, an appeals court said the Reillys could go ahead with their case based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which allows civil lawsuits against criminal enterprises for property damage.

In a sense, this suit—which has been gathering steam for three years now—suggests the marijuana industry faces similar woes to those of the pork-production industry, which is also being targeted over neighbor-unfriendliness. What’s particularly interesting about this case, however, is that it’s based on anti-racketeering law.

Last year, an appeals court said the Reillys could go ahead with their case based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which allows civil lawsuits against criminal enterprises for property damage.

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