By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
A winery and another property owner in Yamhill County, Oregon, filed a lawsuit to prevent a neighbor from growing marijuana on their farmland. The suit seeks an injunction from a judge due to the odor that can associated with cannabis cultivation, and the susceptibility of the wine grapes to be possibly altered in some manner by those odoriferous emanations. The owners also asked the county to reverse their approval of a marijuana processing facility on the Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) zoned land.
Moe Momtazi owns the winery near McMinnville, Momtazi Winery, and it is certified “biodynamic”, according to KOIN 6 news. The their lawsuit claims that the “foul smelling particles” would threaten the wine crop, similar to other odor causing plants like eucalyptus. These odors can negatively impact the quality of the grapes produced and alter the wine.
The property owners claim in their lawsuit that the marijuana garden will produce as much as 8,000 pounds of cannabis, and process even more in their facility. But the owner of the cannabis property, Richard Wagner, denies that claim. Oregonlive.com reports:
“They’re afraid, they’re very afraid,” Wagner said. “It’s all based on ignorance and fear. … At the same time, I get it. I’m not lacking empathy with them.”
Wagner said he knows some of his neighbors moved to their rural land in an era when marijuana-growing wasn’t legal.
“Back then, they didn’t see cannabis-growing as a potential neighbor,” he said.
He testified during a Yamhill County hearing and explained that the claim of an 8,000 pound harvest are very overblown. He said they hoped to achieve a modest half ton of cannabis their first year. He also dispelled rumors that processing will cause additional odor, explaining that he will use no solvents in his processing operations and the odors from the processing should be quite minimal.
Parvathy Mahesh is also a party to the lawsuit and owns a modest 19 acres next to the cannabis property. He had planned to develop the land but decided not to plant any grapes due to the situation.
“The cameras are pointing right at our vegetable garden, right at our farm. We will have no privacy. We basically can’t go out in front,” he explained to Yamhill County Commissioners in the hearing. “And the reason we moved to this beautiful Yamhill County is to be outdoors, and be with nature and do our farming.”
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