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Vineyard seeks to block neighbor's pot crop

Neighbors worry about smells that could come from marijuana production; 'right to farm' law invoked.

Since Oregon voters "legalized" recreational marijuana and cannabis was declared an agricultural crop, there have been a number of conflicts between conventional farmers and pot growers.

Resolution of the disputes can be tricky because each class of grower can invoke Oregon laws meant to protect common agricultural activities from most complaints.

The latest dispute involves a lawsuit filed by property owners in Yamhill County against their neighbors, would-be marijuana growers.

Steven and Mary Wagner, and their son Richard, planned to grow and process marijuana on their property near McMinnville.

The Wagners argue that two of their neighbors, Harihara and Parvathy Mahesh, are barred from filing trespass and nuisance claims under Oregon's "right to farm" statute, which shields growers from such complaints.

Claims filed by their other neighbors — the Momtazi family, which owns nearby vineyards — should also be thrown out because the Wagners haven't trespassed or interfered with their land, according to defendants.

According to the plaintiffs, the Wagners are not protected by the "right to farm" law because "foul-smelling particles" from marijuana will impermissibly harm wine grapes already growing on the Momtazi property and which have yet to be planted on the Mahesh property.

A Yamhill County judge is considering the Wagner's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.